Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

As far as learning a language is concerned, I believe we cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of practicing what you learn on a daily basis.  Throughout the past few weeks we have discussed various ways in which to learn English outside the classroom. I think that while learning from a qualified teacher is extremely important, learning how to have fun and socialise in the language you are attempting to master is invaluable.

English language schools across the world have realised the importance of having a social programme in place. It serves not only to keep the students entertained but also as a powerful tool for students to integrate themselves into a social environment, where they have little choice but to muster up the courage to speak English to each other.

A social outing will encourage students to relax and gain confidence at the same time while attempting new phrases. Laughter is universal and creating an atmosphere where a person feels comfortable enough to occasionally laugh at themselves is part of growing and learning. At Oxford English Academy in Cape Town we have had incredible responses from students after simple activities such as cycling along the promenade in Sea Point . Our Culture Party always proves to be an immense success when students get to tell us all about their home country. Often it is when a learner is not even aware of the fact that they are learning and practising that they accomplish the most.

Not only does a social outing provide students with the opportunity to do something ‘touristy’, it also enriches their experience and perception of their time spent in a foreign country. I can most definitely recall how much quicker I learnt a few Greek phrases when I was desperately lost in Athens after a very social dinner! I can honestly say that through laughter, fun and social contact with people from all over the world you are bound to grow your English knowledge as well as your social confidence.

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