Immerse insights:

  • Immerse is a fun, encouraging, safe place to develop your French, Spanish, and English speaking abilities.
  • In order to get the most out of any language program, you need to familiarize yourself with all the features.
  • VR lets you engage in real interactions with other people without feeling nervous the way you might out in the real world. 

English with Jennifer

An English teacher since 1996, Jennifer Lebedev is best known for her YouTube channel English with Jennifer, which has over one million subscribers and features highly popular videos for English learners. She has also written academic ESL textbooks and has a blog for English teachers.

Jennifer’s Thoughts on Immerse

In December 2023, we invited Jennifer to try out Immerse, our VR platform for language learners. 

Her verdict?

“I found Immerse unique and engaging,” she says. 

Jennifer sat down for an interview with Immerse to explain more.

What was it like trying Immerse for the first time?

First of all, I wondered if I could even learn how to do it. I was really excited to set up the headset and make my boundary. And once I got into Immerse, I thought, Oh my gosh, it is really cool! 

I was throwing paper airplanes and lifting up rocks and throwing them into the water. And that was just the playing around part. And then we got into the Commons! That's when I had a lot of fun. 

A group of Immerse avatars playing Spanish pictionary
You can play language games and meet other language learners in the Commons 

I think classes are really fun too. But what I also appreciate is that there are those impromptu conversations – you could have just informal interaction with other students, whether it's in the Commons or after class. 

And when I was in the Commons, one time I was the new person, and another time I was the more experienced person helping another person visiting. And it was really fun interacting and explaining. You know, saying “Let me get you a drink.” And I thought, I can do this.

What advice would you give to learners who are new to Immerse?

The first thing is, anytime you go onto a platform, you need to orient yourself. You need to know what it offers and how to use it. That's true of any platform. So, I would caution people not to assume, Hey, I know how to do virtual reality, and just jump straight in. That's fine, but you may then be missing certain features of the program. 

It's worth taking the time to become acquainted. If there are tutorials or orientations, do them. If some things are easy, then you can start skipping through the steps, but open up the main menu and see what's available. 

The menus in the Immerse Homeroom, with a red circle around the Tutorial menu
You can access a menu of tutorials from your Immerse Homeroom

And make sure that you can tick tasks off, like Yes, I know how to manipulate objects. But oh, wait a second - backpack? Is that backpack something special? What is it? And if they take the time to discover what's all in the backpack, they'll see that there's a lot more that they can get out of it. It's not just a fashion accessory. 

And I think they need to see Immerse as a community. It's not just a platform that has interaction with AI. They need to know, of course, there are teachers and there are AI practice scenes. But then it is also a community. 

There are opportunities to become social, and you need to seek those out if you really want to level up your proficiency. Seek out that community interaction. The Commons is a wonderful place to do that. It's a place where you can just walk around and talk to people. 

But a nice habit is to hang out with the other students after class. The classes are 35 minutes long, so see if you can always build in an extra five minutes at the end, knowing that the teachers unfailingly invite students to hang out in the space afterwards. There are 10 minutes when you can hang out in that space with the other students, and my experience was people always hung out afterwards. It wasn't just me. 

And as soon as they saw that I was present, people came up to me and we started chatting. You'll never know who you meet. I think it's also a confidence builder, too, because it's real, authentic, unscripted. And you need to open yourself up to those possibilities.

I tried private mode first. Then I went into public mode, and that’s really wonderful because people can choose. What are they in the mood for? Do they just want to focus on their AI interaction? Or they are they open to being social that day? 

So I think it's wonderful to have those two options, but if you turn it on to public mode, obviously you're going to open yourself up to more possibilities, and I think those are the possibilities that are the built-in benefit of this community. 

I mean, you want structure and you'll get that in class, and you'll get that with the practice scenes too. And yet, especially for intermediate students who really just want to level up their proficiency, you need the balance between the structured practice in class and all that informal interaction.

A group of Immerse avatars sitting around a table of coffee drinks in a virtual cafe scene
In addition to taking classes, you can practice Spanish, French, and English informally with other members of the Immerse community

What would you say to people who are feeling shy or nervous about interacting in spoken English?

The first thing I'd say is, you can sort of dip your toe in with Immerse, and you could decide how far and how quickly you wish to immerse yourself in this world.

So first of all, you need to become familiar with all the technology and get that out of the way so that you're not feeling like, Oh my gosh, I can't even lift up my hands. I don't know what to do, and you’re frozen like a mannequin. You need to get over that. 

And then know that you can start with the private practice, and then move into public mode. Just again, so you feel confident that you're comfortable completing tasks and using some language. Let that build some confidence, and then move into public practice. 

I also think, and I observed this in my review, that I didn't meet a single shy person. Really. Maybe that's the nature of the person signing up, but I can't think that every single person joining Immerse is an extrovert. I mentioned in my review, I think it's easier overall for many people to have interaction through avatars. 

And I think that might help overcome shyness to some degree, because on the one hand, it's real and authentic, but you're not exactly presenting your true face. And so I want to assure people that yes, I really did feel connected to the people I was talking to, I didn't feel like I was hiding behind something. I mean, people jumped straight in, and we were talking about family and children and trips, so there was no superficial element to it. It was real, and it was authentic. 

I think it is a middle ground, and perhaps for some people, it's easier to walk up to somebody in virtual reality than it is in real life. If somebody saw me standing there, perhaps they wouldn't come up to me. I think the virtual world and the avatars actually encourage people to take some risks. And I think that helps with the communication challenge.

It's safe. I really want to emphasize that it’s a safe environment. First of all, it's virtual, and it's first names only. And you can choose public or private mode. You can also report a member and I made it clear in my review that you have that feature, but I didn't need to use it. Everybody was respectful. 

What do you think is special about Immerse?

I think the nice thing about Immerse is that it's a place that encourages you to do things - not just to be passive in the environment, but to do things actively. And you feel like you want to, because you can move around. So there's that feeling of it being quite real. And yet there are boundaries, because it's not completely real. That's great for social interaction for speaking.  

A virtual scene depicting a large open-air room divided into areas including a cafe, a basketball court, and a game area
The Commons is a great place to hang out with other language learners in Immerse

I think overall, the platform is very good at engaging learners and it encourages taking risks with speaking. And I love the Commons. It's a really great concept to have that social space. And it’s not just a hangout lounge. There are actual things to do. I did play games with people and I did interact with them. We went to the basketball court and did the beanbag toss and things like that, talking the whole time.

Do you have any thoughts about the subscription model?

Let's say you find a tutor for $10 an hour (and I don't know what their qualifications are for $10 a lesson), but that's going to add up fast if you’re meeting five or seven days a week. The interaction is also limited to that one person and that one space. 

So again, why would you want to learn on Immerse? People who come to me for private instruction have very specific needs. If you want me to help you edit an academic paper, write a proposal, or prepare a marketing presentation, then yes, you should book a one-on-one session. But if you're really looking to develop your speaking skills and talk with people, then you need as much interaction as possible.  

Maybe you don't even have time for daily lessons, and I'd say the average person doesn't. But you want that option seven days a week, because you don't know when exactly you might fit those lessons in. So I think the fact that Immerse is 24/7 and there are lessons for every level seven days a week, I think that’s a very strong point. There's always something that you can do for your subscription every single day. Something is available and not just passively but interactively because of the practice scenes.

What did you think of the AI practice scenes?

One thing I will say with AI is that most humans wouldn't be as helpful, patient, and willing to give such lengthy replies. Like if you ask, "How are you today?" they don't just go, "Fine, great." They give this really lengthy reply. 

I think what I really appreciate is that you have the option just to listen, but the transcript is also there. So you can choose what kind of support you want with the practice scenes. Do you want to read, or do you want to rely on just your listening? 

And I also like that as I saw the transcript, I could ask them about a specific word. I'd ask them about an idiom, and the AI avatar could then respond and explain, and I appreciated that. At first, I observed it was using expressions that a student may not be able to understand. Curious people might get it from context, but if they want to ask, the AI appropriately explained everything.

Three avatars in a virtual doctors office, near a pop-up window with words, phrases, and conversation prompts
Immerse’s AI scenes let you practice in authentic contexts at the language level you choose

You’re considering learning Spanish in Immerse. What makes you feel like you want to learn in Immerse?

Yes, it’s an interesting opportunity. I wanted to learn Spanish, but I didn't know how I'd do it. Part of my thought was, Gosh, maybe I need to look into the local community college, but then realistically I thought, How am I going to work it in? You know, it’s the time element. Am I really going to drive to the local community college two or three times a week? No, I don’t have time for that. I could do it online, but then where and with who?... Yeah, so I think I have different options, but this one appeals to me.  

I like the structure of the lessons in that it's very results driven. You know what you're going to be able to do by the end of the 35 minutes. And it's a predictable, familiar format. 

I like the amount of pair/small-group work. The teacher is available to help and everybody is motivated. The only time I saw people leave is because there were some people jumping into the advanced class and they weren't advanced. So by the time we were going into the first task, two or three people disappeared, but it was clear that they couldn't handle the language level. But everybody who remained was on task and engaged. 

And I think the great thing is when it's a learning environment, especially with adults, everyone's committed. Everyone's there and ready to participate and not be lazy about it. I didn't see any issues of learners’ shyness or hesitancy. Everybody on Immerse was willing to try. And I also observed people trying to be generous and not dominate.

A picture of Jennifer and a text that reads Main Benefits, Teacher led classes held daily, Teachers are qualified native American English speakers, Practice available 24/7, Real-time feedback through AI, Social learning experience, Program for A1 - B1 "Foundations" course for 0 beginners, Immerse

I feel what immerse offers is convenience, because of the resources available and that it's accessible 24/7. It's engaging. It's purposeful, and it's safe. And those are all very important elements. 

Tell us how you think a language learner can make the most of their experience in Immerse.

I am a very holistic teacher in the sense I do value and really believe you need to invest in all skills. If you want to be a competent communicator, you need to be confident in both the spoken and the written language. So I did say in my review, it's an absolutely wonderful platform to build your confidence with spoken English and develop your listening and your speaking. 

Then it's up to you to get exposure to the written language. Are you also reading throughout the week? Do you write in a journal or keep a diary in English?

You need to see language learning as a commitment. You can't just dabble and expect amazing results. So what can you invest realistically? Can you set a two-day minimum, and some weeks you're going to be able to do three or four - maybe during your vacation week you could do it every day - but at least hold to the minimum of two.

So you need to be committed and invest. Then ideally, if you can schedule that time on your calendar, it will make it easier for you to hold yourself accountable.

Then take advantage of all the resources. Review your Class Notes. Because you don't just learn in that moment; you need to find the opportunity to review. And so there's the time that you spend in a class with other people, but you're going to get even more out of that experience if you then take time to review and process it.

The mirror in the Immerse Homeroom displaying My Notes, including sentences like "La jirafa es alta y amarilla con cuello largo" and phrases like "el cuello = the neck"
Reviewing your Class Notes will help you remember what you’ve learned in class

You need to set your personal goals. Make a commitment to meet somebody new every week. Or make a new friend. Go to the Commons. If you haven't been to the Commons recently, you know that your goal is once a month to meet somebody. 

Or maybe you need to hang out after class because your goal is to meet a new person every single week, or to have a meaningful impromptu conversation for five minutes minimum every week. Once a week, can you try to seek out a 5-10 minute conversation with somebody? Set the kind of goals that are realistic.

Or journal about your experience. When people say, “I don't write,” I tell them my promise to myself is to write in Russian once a week. Can I write even just a couple sentences in Russian? And usually what happens is it turns into a paragraph and some weeks it actually turns into a few paragraphs, but other times that’s just what I can do today - one sentence.

Thank you for your time, Jennifer. It was a huge privilege to talk to you!

I really enjoy interacting with all teachers and educators, so it was my pleasure too. Thanks a lot. 

A banner that says Immerse: Start your free 14-day trial today and shows a thumbs up in front of a shelf filled with books, flags, a globe, and a Quest 3 VR headset

Come practice with us in Immerse!

Immerse gives you unlimited access to live virtual reality Spanish, English, and French classes, conversation events, AI practice, and more in over 40 interactive scenes. Make friends, gain confidence and speak a language sooner with a 14-day free trial - accessible through your Mac or PC browser, or check out our app for Quest VR headsets.

Learn more from Jennifer

You can follow Jennifer on her Youtube channel and her Instagram for great content on learning English, or check out her website at 

And if you’re an English teacher, check out her blog at

See Jennifer’s full review of Immerse: