Do you want to learn French? Everyone knows it’s just the sexiest language on the planet, and the ability to speak French is a real plus – if you want to be chic and add a little je ne sais quoi to your life!
Well the best place to learn French is France, of course. But if you only have a week or two free to go there, you need to get the maximum from your time here. Here are a few guidelines about how to get the most from you stay.
Try to find an international class
If you are American and you go to France to learn French with a group of Americans, you will find that most of the time you spend in France will be spent speaking English, and not French. I can tell you from experience that when given the choice, nearly everyone, myself included, will take the easy option. If you join of group where English is not the common language, you will have to communicate in French, and the more you practise, the more progress you will make.
Do some research about France
You might think that you have to go to Paris to find a language school. Of course, Paris is one of the most famous, and beautiful, capitals in the world and well worth a visit. If you are learning English for business purposes, Paris or one of the other major cities will help you to adopt a business-like attitude. If you want to learn French because you love French wines, for example, forget Paris and look for a school in the region of your favourite wine. This will give added motivation to learn. Just think about being able not only to enjoy a glass of wine right there on the territory, but being able to discuss its qualities in French!
Make sure that there is lots of conversation in the course
French grammar is hard. But studying grammar is not the best, or the fastest way to learn a language. The ideal language course will get you involved in living the language, through role-plays, discussions, and games. Ask the school about what’s on the syllabus, and try to find out a little about the teachers. If they are all academic types with only a teaching background, the course might be a little dry. But many teachers of French as a foreign language still have an adventuring spirit, and have taught abroad. These ones will have plenty of interesting ideas to get you talking
Learn as many words as you can before you go
Don’t go if you are an absolute beginner. Spend a year learning vocabulary and how to ask questions. If you know anyone who speaks French, practise with them as often as possible. That way, when you arrive in France to learn French, you will already have a solid foundation on which to build.
Jonathan Lewis is a teacher of English as a foreign language in Provence, France. He learned to speak French the best way – by living in the country and practising everyday. He has a site about that helps students to improve their learning abilities, apprendre anglais , and a blog about learning English . The advice he offers is invaluable for anyone wishing to learn a language, not just French.