Many travelers like to plan holidays in destinations where they can practice their English. Immersion is one of the best methods to learn and improve a foreign language! After all, when humans learn a language as babies, they are only listening, observing and repeating things from the environment in which they are immersed.
However, when most people visit an English-speaking country, it is often with an all-inclusive package holiday. In these situations, we are traveling with other French people and speaking French. We are also surrounded by people who may have similar opinions and reactions that we do to cultural differences. In this situation, we are NOT immersed in a new culture, but still our own. And if we are not fully immersed, we are not fully taking advantage of the opportunity to improve our understanding. Immersion is the most effective method because it is also the easiest!
Many popular “English-speaking” holidays include London, New York City, and the West Coast of the United States. These are very popular tourist circuits that certainly have a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and experiences. But, if you are like most English students, you may have already done this trip!
Did you speak English when you went to these places?
On top, Toronto. Below, London.
Where will you go on your next language immersion holiday?
As you know, English is now considered to be “the” international language, especially in Europe. This has been true in business for many years, but now it is truly the case for young, urban people. Young Europeans today have a tendency to travel for their studies or to work in different countries, and for them it is normal to communicate in many languages every day. English is also the most common language used on social media tools such as Facebook and everywhere on the internet.
That is great news because you don’t have to go all the way to the UK or the United States to get your dose of immersion! Many cities are full of native speakers, like Hong Kong, but many European cities have become fluent in English as a second language to their native one.
Here are our top 5 picks for cities to visit where English is widely spoken:
- Amsterdam: According to Rough Guides, Amsterdam is one of the top short-break destinations in Europe. Known as a pleasant, walkable city, there is something for everyone. Open-air markets, the famous Van Gogh museum, gorgeous canals crossing the city, swanky clubs and wonderfully rich food are all easily found. And the best part? The friendly locals are quick to speak English with you, at the cafés, restaurants or maybe on a boat ride!
- Hong Kong: At the time of this article, Hong Kong has been the source of much news surrounding the peaceful protests for democracy being held there. Many people don’t know that this metropolis of over 7 million people is a sovereign nation within the borders of China, but their official language is actually English! You will find many locals who are native English speakers, as well as a huge community of anglophone ex-pats living there.
- Berlin: If art and music are your passion, you simply must visit the cultural epicenter of Europe’s not-so-underground scene. From the obvious attractions like the Bauhaus museum and the Berlin Wall, to seeing some of the world’s most famous DJs spin records for a latenight crowd of arty, multinational hipsters, you won’t be disappointed in the cultural landscape of this city-of-the-moment. Germans have a reputation of mastering foreign languages, but you can be sure that those in Berlin will be pleased to speak English with you!
- Ibiza: Ibiza is rather an island than a city, but it is small enough to make our list as a city. You may know that Ibiza is technically a Spanish island, but you won’t have many people living and working there speak Spanish to you. Rather, English is the language that is spoken nearly everywhere you will go in this popular tourist destination. From families staying at beach resorts, to music lovers enjoying the world-famous dance clubs, there is a rich mix of tourists from all over the world, with one common language: English!
- Prague: If you are a history buff and you haven’t yet visited Prague, you are missing something! A city that was spared from destruction during World War II, Prague boasts some of the oldest and most impressive architecture from this part of the world. Currently enjoying its new status as a popular European tourist destination, Prague has suddenly become a very international city–and a very popular place for young British travelers to spend a wild weekend in a city where the bars stay open all night! In Prague it is very common for people under the age of 30 to speak English fluently with you–but this isn’t the case for their parents!
Have you visited any of these cities?
Did you find that English was being spoken in many places that you went?
Share you experience in the comments ! We love to hear what you think ! [:]