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A common myth exists that you have to live in a country to learn a language. It’s not true. Thanks to the internet, you can recreate the immersion of Poland wherever you are in the world.
You can learn Polish with no travel whatsoever, no matter where you live. Polish immigrants in your country can provide the necessary environment to learn Polish. Children born to immigrant families in America, the UK or even China still grow up speaking their home language. There’s no reason you can’t learn Polish outside of Poland, provided that you have the right learning environment.
If you can’t be in Poland, fake it
Whether you have a local Polish community to interact with or not, you can immerse yourself by replicating Poland in your own home. By altering your browsing habits and changing the languages of your electronic devices, you can simulate life in Poland wherever you are. Change the websites that you browse, the books which you read, the music that you listen to and the television that you watch to Polish alternatives. You’ll quickly find that, instead of you going to Poland, Poland will come to you.
You don’t have to change everything, but by translating your life into Polish (replacing your current activities with Polish equivalents), your Polish will improve much quicker. The inevitable extra exposure certainly helps. Plus, if you’re doing the things that you were going to do anyway, you can still enjoy your usual activities whilst learning at the same time! For example, if you usually listen to contemporary hit radio, why not trade your current radio station for Radio Eska or RMF Maxxx? If there’s a new novel which you’ve been dying to read, buy the Polish version and read that instead. Click here for a list of all of the Polish language books on Amazon:
If you’re a telly addict, check out some of the free to air Polish TV channels available online.
Poles are everywhere – talk to them
If you prefer the real life touch, don’t worry. Poles can be found in many countries around the world. Just grab a decent phrasebook and get chatting! Thanks to globalisation, you can find Polish shops, restaurants and bars in cities across Europe, the Americas and even Australasia. Statistically speaking, about 1 in every 184 people on Earth is Polish, so if you can’t see one nearby, keep looking!
Children born to immigrant families still learn their home language
Every day, children across the world are raised with a home language different to that of the country that they live in. What this demonstrates is that, while immersion may be essential to learn a language, living in a country where that language is commonly spoken is not essential. That same logic applies to Polish. You might argue that adults learn languages differently to children. The many adult immigrants living in English speaking countries who can’t speak English proves that location has little influence on one’s ability to speak a language. Interacting in the language is far more important.[alert-warning]TL;DR: Thanks to the internet and the millions of Poles currently living abroad, you don’t have to live in Poland to immerse yourself in Polish. Trade the media you consume for Polish equivalents and you can artificially increase your exposure.[/alert-warning]
How do you stay immersed in Polish?[alert-announce]I’ve visited a few times but I’ve never lived in Poland. To simulate immersion, I’ve changed the language of my electronic devices to Polish. I also listen to Polish radio and I watch Polish television via the internet. How do you stay immersed in Polish? Let me know in the comments below![/alert-announce]
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