Maximise language learning - Map of Europe showing arrow from London to Portugal

Going home for Christmas – 7 things to make the most of this trip  

pastel_de_nata76 Blog, Family, Portuguese Leave a Comment


We’re going back home for Christmas next week and I’ve not prepared anything – a very southern European trait. We keep being told that the best way to encourage bilingualism in any age is immersion – the longer the exposure to the target language, the better. So this year we booked a trip to my home country – Portugal. It’s the first time in five years that we spend Christmas there, and the first time as a family of 4. I’m so excited, I’ve started a ‘hit list’ to maximise this opportunity.

7 things to do in the home country to maximise language learning

  1. Spend plenty of time with family (and instruct them not to speak the majority language if they are fluent in it)
  2. Take part in activities with other children – workshops, playgroups, playgrounds, anywhere there are many children for them to socialise, hear other children speak the language and feel the need to speak the language
  3. Go to a music or theatre performance. Dance and circus are good experiences as well, but if possible, go for a spoken language performance unless they need an easier introduction, for example, if they are too young or would feel alienated and bored otherwise)
  4. Go sightseeing. It might sound like the obvious thing to do but we never did that much sightseeing when we visited with the girls. They were little, we went for short periods and it just felt Lisbon would always be there, waiting. Now they are older we want to fully enjoy my city. We’ve been to a number of fantastic places which the eldest still remembers such as the Oceanario de Lisboa and Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Centro Ciência Viva. This time we have Museu dos Coches, Museu do Fado and the new acclaimed MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in our sights
  5. Go to the shops, markets and supermarkets – look at the shelves, the people, the produce, look at the different script on the labels, the different design styles, talk through the things we see, and mainly, sample all the nice things we don’t have easily available at home, like Tomato Jam and a proper chouriço
  6. Stock up on books and games
  7. Take lots of photos and videos, with the family, with old friends, new friends, the places we visit, everything and anything, serious or fun. It will be a wonderful resource to come back to regularly and reminisce about the country, keeping those memories alive for longer



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