Our immersion programs start with an intense, authentic look into another country, language and culture which make it extra important for students of all ages to go into their trip abroad with an open mind and ready to take on each activity. However, the initial challenge of jumping into an unknown place gives each student an amazing opportunity to embrace new experiences.
After you get off the plane, you'll quickly feel exposed to a new language and a different culture. We want you to feel mentally prepared and confident as possible and we want you to have some resources for those instances when you, or another group member, feel stuck in an awkward moment.
We want you to feel comfortable doing from the start and we know that the unknown can seem scary but we want you to be mentally ready for these so you get the most out of your experience abroad.
Here are five pieces of advice to taking that deep five into a new culture:
1. Embrace The Unknown: We’re Your Safety Net!
When you get off the plane, you'll probably feel some combination of tired, hungry and groggy so we want to keep you moving and exploring your first day so you get a good night's rest.
As you get over the jetlag, you'll have an opportunity to try speaking the local language! If you don’t say a word or phrase correctly the first time, you have us to help you and you’ll have more opportunities. We recommend starting with a word or short phrase and build from there and feel free to keep an EdOdyssey team member or friend who speaks the language well nearby. Don't be embarrassed!
For newer (and veteran) language learners, you can keep a menu nearby in case you want to point to what you’re referring to if you want to try and do it yourself. A safety net can never hurt as continue learning so eventually you can build on that confident and start taking on longer, more complicated interactions on your own.
2. Always Celebrate Your Victories
After you order successfully order food for the first time, or you try a new food, you can’t forget to take a second and appreciate a sense of accomplishment. If you’re more of a picky eater, or an introvert, we can all easily get wrapped up in feeling like we need to look to the next challenge or milestone without fully respecting that we continue to improve.
3. Make New Mistakes & Learn From Them
As we dive into a new culture and language, sometimes we accidentally send the wrong message with our words or our body language. Whether we don’t use the correct tone, or mix up masculine and feminine, which is normal. Find a simple way to say what you
All language learners at all levels confuse words or phrases, and that’s okay! we just have to figure out how to get around these obstacles as they get in front of us.
4. Asking For Help Is Okay!
If you’re confused, you have friends and EdOdyssey staff members who are ready to help! We want to hear your questions because there are teachable moments and universal lessons that helps all of us learn together. At the end of each day together, we enjoy group reflections and we like to explore these questions and observations together so we can grow and share the same experience together.
5. Celebrate Your Vocabulary
As educators, we encourage all of our students to complete sentences in the other language but sometimes it’s best to start with the core vocabulary! If you find that you’re conveying the correct message in the target language, we encourage you to go to the basics and focus on the vocabulary. If you focus on pronouncing the word or short phrase with “please” to any reasonable request, you should be well received!
Unfortunately, no one becomes completely fluent in another language during our 7-10 day immersion programs. However, our students gain an appreciation for their language skills and see how the language works in real life. We want to challenge you to think about how you view language and ways to communicate with other native speakers.
We’ve seen our students step out of their own comfort zone and have the best time abroad so we hope that you’ll embrace your journey! If you want to learn more about language, please check out our Four Tips For Embracing The Language Learning Process!