I have been learning French for almost 7 years in Germany but never had a chance to learn French in France. When I spoke French, I had the feeling that the French words and expressions I’d like to say didn’t just come out naturally and thought that there should have been a way for an improvement somewhere somehow. After knowing about the Bildungsurlaub (educational holiday) in Baden-Württemberg (Germany), which allows any employees in the state to take extra 5 paid holidays for any education or training programmes, I knew exactly that this was going to be a great opportunity to bring my French language proficiency to a higher level. I decided to come to the ILA French language school in Montpellier for my French immersion stay. The school was highly recommended and because the city is supposed to still have a warmer climate and more sunny days during the month of October than my hometown Stuttgart in Germany. Additionally, Southern France, with its long history, fascinating cultural heritages and stunning landscapes, has always been one of the most attractive travelling destinations on my list, but until now this trip has just never been put into reality for many particular reasons (and excuses). I chose to stay during my French immersion program with a host family not only because I wanted to practice French with native speakers, but also due to the fact that it’s the best way to get to know the French culture and ways of life.
ILA French language school
Two weeks before the departure to my French course in Montpellier, I received some notifications from ILA regarding the profile of my host family, how to get in contact with them, and when the due date of the online French placement test is. By following the guidance given in the documents I could manage to finish everything before the due date. The online placement test was quite challenging because there were so many hard questions, but it is recommended that you be 100% honest to yourself to be placed into the class which fits your French knowledge background the most.
My French language course in Montpellier
According to the result of the placement test, I was put into the C1 advanced standard French class for the morning session (09:00 – 12:15 o’clock). As for the French intensive course during the afternoon session, I chose to attend the Business French class due to my personal interests in business and economics. Audrey was my teacher in the morning class and Julio was my teacher for Business French. Audrey has successfully achieved to motivate my classmates and me to stand up against any obstacles in the jungle of French grammar and to participate in any kinds of debates and discussions no matter what the subject is. Her dictation practice has made the words “déguerpir” and “pêle-mêle” unforgettable in my memory. Julio’s class of Business French gave me a chance not only to extend my vocabularies used in the business news, but also to get to know the actual problems of the French economy such as the pros and cons of the big supermarket chains, the French education system, unemployment problems etc. We also learned how to read key figures in company’s balance sheets in French and did a project to present the key figures of some French companies of our interests. Julio also used several interesting videos (from journalistically credible sources such as France24, France Info, TV5Monde etc.) to lead us to more insights of each topic and to trigger the starting point of our classroom discussion. For anybody who’s highly interested in business and economy or plans to study business in the future, the Business French class at ILA French language school in Montpellier would absolutely be something you are looking for.
My friends & leisure activities
During my French language stay in Montpellier, I got to know many different people from several countries around the world – e.g. Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Japan, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany etc. With the support of my classmates during the first days of my French education, I had a great start here in Montpellier. The welcome party organised by the friendly ILA staff is the best way to get to know other students from other French classes. I can still remember that the welcome party was excellent. You meet the other students of ILA French school and you make friends quickly. From strangers in the welcome party, we have become friends quickly, who have lunch and go grabbing some drinks after classes together. During the weekend we also organised a trip to Palavas beach (near Montpellier) and Sète (fisherman’s village where fresh seafood can be appreciated with reasonable prices), which gave us a chance to discover the hidden tourist attractions in the regions around Montpellier.
Summary of my French immersion program in France
My French language stay in Montpellier with ILA will be a precious and unforgettable experience of my life. The French lessons (both standard class and Business French) were very effective that I can now speak French more confidently after only these two weeks of French course. This is also a great start of my in-depth journey into the world of Francophone and I’m really looking forward to travelling to different French-speaking countries in the near future. One thing I regret is that I booked this French language course for only 2 weeks because I had such a great time at ILA French language school in Montpellier. I’ll make sure to plan a longer French language stay during my next opportunity.
Sirichai, Germany (ILA student)