I first arrived to learn French in Montpellier in August and stayed for 2 months with the plan to go do a masters degree in late September. After a life changing few weeks however I decided university could wait, I deferred my place spent a month at home and then came back to the ILA Language Immersion School with 6 months of learning French in Montpellier ahead of me. While I was back home however I was worried that I would lose my edge as I wouldn’t be constantly surrounded by French speakers and able to practice every time I walked out the door. Help was on hand though and my good friend Malin who was staying over that period agreed to talk to me regularly on FaceTime to keep me quick so I didn’t have to revisit lots of old stuff when I got back. It was extremely useful and it kept me match ready and I might even have progressed a little bit.
Malin is a German girl from Frankfurt who I first got talking to at the bowling evening put on by the ILA French Immersion School in Montpellier. I was taking photos for this blog and it was clear I had no idea what I was doing but luckily Malin is into her photography and gave me a few little tips to make my pictures better. Then she accompanied me to the wine festival I have written about previously to do the same thing, we have both worked in the drinks trade previously so we got really into the wine tasting and it was so interesting talking to all the different producers. We have been good friends ever since.
A German Girl Prepares a British Guy For His Intensive French Course in France
We had agreed to talk twice a week as she was still doing French classes and had lots of other stuff going on alongside her French immersion course in Montpellier. She is a very enterprising person and was doing all kinds of stuff from babysitting to attending a writing club and she was an example of just how many things you can do when you are learning French here. Despite this she still agreed to Skype with me once every 3 or 4 days which I really appreciated and we made a regular time slot and tried to stick to it as best we could. We didn’t do the first one for a week and a half as I had so many people to catch up with and when we Skyped for the first time you could tell by then I was a little rusty already.
The set up worked really well, we could see each other which meant we could do a bit of lip reading alongside the listening which as anyone who has done a French course for adults will tell you is helpful. When you are using the immersion technique to learn French any little extra clues as to what a person is saying is useful. Also we were using our computers so we had google translate on hand so we weren’t limited to the vocabulary we already knew. We could just chat as friends do and when we wanted to express something we hadn’t used before the other person could quickly google the word and then share it. Malin and I make great language partners as our strengths complement each other quite well. Her grammar and pronunciation is very good but as English is my first language the shared heritage of English and French means that I’m quite good at vocabulary. You stand a good chance of being able to guess a word in French if you’re a native English speaker, not always but the odds aren’t bad.
So through doing this just a couple of times a week I managed to stay on top of my French. I didn’t progress much in terms of grammar as I didn’t have the time to study but I expanded my vocabulary and kept my speaking up to scratch. When I came back to learn French in Montpellier at the ILA Language School I really felt the benefit. As I was going for the intensive French course I certainly felt that if I hadn’t been doing this over the several weeks I was away the amount of work I would have needed to do would have been a lot more daunting. So thank you Malin for getting me ready for my French language stay!