How to Survive the Beginning of your French Immersion Courses if You don’t Speak French
It might seem a bit intimidating to join a French language school in France and to then be also surrounded by French daily at a French immersion language school, especially if you do not speak any French to begin with. When I first decided to take French courses here in Montpellier I spoke little to no French at all. I could only say the common things like how much is this baguette and where are the toilets, which can actually get you pretty far, but only for the first day! So as your French immersion journey in Montpellier begins, do not fret! I can assure you it is easily than you think and learning French in France is the best way to go!
For starters, something I think we all know is that being submerged in a different language by living in a place where it Is their mother tongue is the best way to pick up a language. The everyday phases are used so much it becomes automatic when you are going to by grocery’s or asking for directions. But to start off on the right foot, get yourself a bescherelle, a dictionary, or a translator on your phone. Learning these phrases before you get to France would be the best thing to do but it is also okay if you have to peak at your notepad or your phone when you forget how to say something. Once you are surrounded by French terms, on signs and stores, and the expressions you hear on the streets your ear will be familiarized to the language. And once you start your French course you will see how fast you pick it up.
Of course, it will be normal if you don’t have much experience with the French language it the first week in the French course might be a bit challenging. Saying that, depending on the level you start with and the knowledge you already have you will see how fast you will start to pick It up. The classes are great for this because you do a grammar lesson every day, play some games that get everyone talking to each other in French, do listening comprehensions and writing activities. So really you are covering all the bases every day, and if you have class in the afternoon you will learn even faster! The base is that you move up a level in French every six weeks, which is a really good time frame to get the hang of things from each level. That being said, you can also say in a certain level, like I have done, for as long as you want to perfect your skills.
Another great way to get yourself speaking and learning new things is to practice French with your friends from the school, to go out and meet people in the bars or clubs, or language exchanges who are natively French and can speak with you. Having French speaking friends I would say is one of the best ways because you learn how to speak like the people do in the streets and not just always in a formal manner. I would say there are a lot of idioms, slang or more familiar language terms in French that you will come by more frequently from native French speakers that would not normally come up in class.
So really, I want to tell you that you should not worry or be nervous about your level of language when you arrive to your French courses because everyone at school was also in your position at some point and is still learning themselves. There is no doubt, no matter how long you will be learning French in Montpellier whether you are in a standard, intensive or a delf course, your skills will improve. You can see there are many ways to get set yourself up for success for your French immersion education as well as all the help from the people at ILA French language school and the friends you will make. There is nothing to be afraid of!first