Langauge Immersion: How long until the payoff?
August 12, 2006 9:49 PM Subscribe
How long would it take a 'proactive' person to pick up a language if living and working in a foreign city?
posted by TheOtherGuy to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Hi there, I am a scientist close to finishing my PhD and I am currently looking at postdoc positions overseas. A large proportion of available jobs are in non-English speaking countries, particularly Germany, Swtizerland, Scandinavia and a particularly attractive job in Montreal, Quebec.
Most lab groups in these countries speak English in the lab, so functioning at work is not an issue for me. But I am curious as to how long it would take a person, immersed in a foreign language to become a confident, possibly fluent speaker. I have heard that a person, if totally immersed in a foreign langauge can become quite profficient in a matter of months. On the other hand there are people who have been in a country 20 years and still struggle with the language.
Let's assume I take up the job in Montreal and I am proactive about learning the language in my everyday life (I have previously studied French, but I am far from profficient). How long will it be until one can confidently read the newspaper, watch the news and have a good conversation with someone in their native tongue?
I would love to hear some examples from people who have been in a similar situation. How long did it take you?