Sunday, April 06, 2014

Virtual Immersion (Without Buying a Plane Ticket)

Yesterday I talked about How I Learn Italian and there is one thing I have not mention when I was talking about audio or online or free resources, and that is streaming radio or TV broadcasts from the country of the target language. For that I use RaiTV. Today, I'd like to share a screenshot from my iPhone that shows you what I've been using for my yearlong pursuit of Italian, and how I organize my resources.

RaiTV is an awesome app and I've been streaming TV programs from Rai1, Rai2 and Rai3 without spending a single cent. If I like a certain program, for example, a documentary on Michelangelo, I have the option to download the show for viewing later. Isn't that great?

If you take a look at the bottom of my iPhone screen, you'll see that the icon description is not in English. I've set it to Italian and it's been like that since the day I started learning the language. In the beginning it felt totally weird and hard, but I soon got used to seeing stuff on my screen in Italian.

Two weeks ago, I also invested in an iPad (yay!) after thinking about it for almost two years. I replicated the same apps from my iPhone to the new device. What's missing from the screenshot above is Zinio because I've deleted the app (to save iPhone space), and am now using it with the iPad to read my online magazines such as the Italian editions of Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, etc. The bigger screen on iPad makes reading less strenuous and more enjoyable.

What I've been doing is what Benny Lewis called virtual immersion. I'm going to quote something from Benny's book, FLUENT IN 3 MONTHS (the book arrived in the mail last Friday):

Attitude beats latitude (and longitude) every time. It's more about creating an immersion environment, exposing yourself to native speakers, and doing everything you can in the language.


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