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Miami is an exciting destination for language immersion or location-based learning. The city is filled with eclectic neighborhoods, amazing restaurants, great sightseeing opportunities and a slew of cultural events, fairs, and gatherings. But for some students, learning English in Miami is tainted by unmet expectations, cultural misunderstandings, and biases on standardized language. Below we address common grievances and misconceptions, and ways to turn obstacles into opportunities for discovery and growth.

Nobody speaks English in Miami!

At times, Miami’s linguistic diversity contrasts students’ expectations of English immersion. There’s some truth to the notion that not everyone in Miami speaks English – there are plenty of places and spaces where Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese or French dominate daily conversation. But English remains an important means of communication and is widely spoken and understood. Rather than becoming upset when entering a store or gathering where English isn’t being spoken, consider the benefits of a double-immersion.

You’ll note new sounds or connections for your language learning toolkit. This includes words that have been adopted into broader Miami culture like cafecito (or expresso – similar to coffee, right?) or opportunities for triple translation (many Miami-Date buses have back-to-back announcements in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole). This doesn’t mean you have to learn all of the languages Miami residents have to offer. Just sit back with your cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and enjoy our language plurality. It’s an amazing silver lining!

I’m not learning American English!

Great! Because there are many ways of speaking American English. The United States offers a vast array of accents, expressions, intonations, and dialects. As an aggregate of migrants from different parts of the US (and the world), Miami will expose you to this great variety. You will become attune to distinct ways of pronouncing the same word and even pick up some new sounds or intonations for your own speech.

It’s not like the movies – or what I saw on TV!

There’s a lot to unpack here. For those who believe their experiences will mirror popular culture – sorry! No Miami Vice for you! But don’t judge a book by its cover: Miami has a lot to offer! You can practice your listening skills a theater show or art opening or the movies. You can chat away at free networking events or an English meet and greet. And as you keep exploring and meeting new people, you’ll find that each experience leads you to a new part of a Miami – and new hidden gems to uncover.


Not convinced? Comment below! Our tutors are Miami-based and ready to share more recommendations on how to make the most of Miami.

Practice

  • What are your expectations for English immersion?
  • How can you make the most of  immersion and diversity?
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Monica
Monica
1 year ago

Hey, Ashwini! Those are some great points! Now with the internet, there are so many opportunities to sneak English into your schedule. Here are some quick writing tips: I think it would be great to create multiple sentences or use more punctuation. For example, you can say ” I know you might be wondering, “When will I get to speak English in the real world?” Well, you can become friends with some people from English-speaking countries, or you can try to be a tour guide. I know tourists are hard to come by, but there’s nothing impossible in this world….” Hope this helps! 🙂

Ashwini Kashyap
Ashwini Kashyap
1 year ago

1. My expectations for English immersion is that I should be surrounded by the people who speak English and I’ll interact with people while going out to supermarkets or getting on bus or getting a ticket for a train. But as we all know that’s not something really happen when you move to an English speaking country and you get disappointed by yourself that you are not getting paid off for what you’ve invested by moving to an English speaking country. So I think immersion is something that you can create around yourself and you don’t even need to move out of your house. You can start by changing your phone’s language to English and just keep building on that like listening to English songs, reading in English, watching movies in English, trying to mimic characters from your favourite movies or tv shows. I know you might be wondering then I get to speak in English in real world then you can be friend with some people from English countries or try to be a guide and guide tourists in your country, I know these tourists are hard to come by but there’s nothing impossible in this world. You can practice online or whatever suits for you. In the end I’d say “ Where there’s a will, there’s a way “