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Mastering Thought in a New Language: The Key to Fluency in Hebrew

Embarking on the journey of learning a new language is one thing, but mastering the ability to think in that language is another. If you're intrigued by the process of internalizing Hebrew as your second language, this guide is tailored for you.

One of the most common inquiries we address as staff at the Universal Academy of Bilingualism (UAB) is: "When will I begin to think in Hebrew?" The answer is multifaceted, largely hinging on your exposure to the language. Imagine being immersed in an environment where Hebrew is omnipresent: attending Shabbat dinners with an Israeli family, navigating a workplace where Hebrew is the primary language, or interacting with colleagues who converse in Hebrew amongst themselves. Such experiences are pivotal in bridging the gap between learning and thinking in Hebrew.

Yet, the question persists for learners of Hebrew as a second language: When can I trust that I'm thinking in Hebrew without the constant need to translate from my native language? The milestone of thinking in Hebrew manifests when you can respond spontaneously to simple questions in Hebrew, bypassing the translation process in your mind. This fluency is a definitive sign of internalizing the language, marking your transition to thinking in Hebrew.

Regrettably, the traditional approach to language learning, prevalent in many educational settings, undermines this process. Reliance on translation, be it through dictionary use or digital tools like Google Translate, detracts from genuine language acquisition. Similarly, instructional practices that depend on explaining Hebrew grammar in another language—English, Russian, Spanish, etc.—stall your progress towards becoming a fluent Hebrew speaker.

Recognizing the challenges inherent to language acquisition, we at UAB adopt a Hebrew-centric teaching methodology. From the introductory A1 level, our instruction is conducted entirely in Hebrew, fostering an immersive learning environment that encourages students to think in Hebrew. When faced with the question "מה את/ה עושה מחר?" (What are you doing tomorrow?), a moment's hesitation indicates that your thought process remains anchored in your native language. It's a journey, with challenges and milestones, but maintaining optimism is key.

Our commitment at UAB is to guide you through this journey, providing the tools and experiences necessary to not only learn Hebrew but to think and express yourself in Hebrew. This immersive approach is the cornerstone of mastering a new language, and we're here to ensure your success every step of the way.

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