Do you think it is possible for a foreign person to speak French like a native? Actually it is, but if you want to achieve a good French level you have to practice it as much as you can, possibly in France: this is why I thought that coming to Montpellier to improve my French would have been a great idea! I am staying in this marvelous city for two weeks and after a ten days I can assure you that, thanks to these summer Intensive course for adults in France, my fluency and my level of French have massively improved.
The first day of the French Intensive course I was sent to the C1+ class in which there were other eight students from all over the world apart from me. During the French lessons all the students have the opportunity to revise French grammar reading the rules and doing some exercises; besides grammar we usually have a lot of debates in which we talk about different topics related to current events or issues. Grammar and debates are both fundamental for the improving of French language and by taking part to these courses the amelioration becomes very noticeable. During the afternoon I have the opportunity to intensify my French by following additional classes. Since I am in the right class I don’t have any type of problem in following the lessons, but the students who do not feel at ease can easily change it. If there are problems, I would suggest to always ask for help to the teachers, who are very kind and helpful. Another personal advice would be to try to think and speak exclusively in French, in such a way that your mind gets used to it more easily and naturally than mixing different languages.
The school offers the chance to participate to several extra activities during the afternoon or the weekend. Last week I took part just to two of them – they were really nice! Tuesday I took part to the tour of the particular historic centre of Montpellier. The guide explained many facts about this terrific city and accompanied us through all the little streets and the marvelous typical palaces, called “hôtels particuliers”. We also passed through the most important square of the city, Place de la Comédie, where we could admire the Opéra in front of the lovely Fountain of the Three Graces, which has now become the symbol of the city. In the historic centre there are many students because Montpellier is a university town: there are so many old universities such as the Medicine one. If you look up on the walls of the houses it’s possible to discover pieces of street art, like half of a bike or a moon painted on a door. Another particularity of this city is that it’s part of the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago), thus it’s possible to find on the street some golden shells, symbol of Santiago. This guided tour was very complete and, since it was completely in French, it was perfect for training the listening of the idiom.
Grotte de Clamouse and Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
Every weekend the French language school ILA organises a trip in a town near Montpellier: this Saturday they proposed us to go to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and to the Grotte de Clamouse, a very large and particular cave near the town. The trip started by visiting the cave, which is just 45 minutes from Montpellier. When we arrived at the Clamouse Cave a guide was waiting for us, ready to answer all our questions and to inform us. Before visiting the actual cave we were invited to watch two videos about the structure of the cave and its minerals. What was shocking at the beginning was the immense difference between the temperature outside, too hot, and the freezing temperature inside the cave: fortunately I had a pullover and I was alright. The cave was a true labyrinth, full of natural tunnels, giant stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and dimensions: it’s incredible what nature can do with simple minerals and some drops of water! After an hour of visit we went to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, which was a lovely town, full of little shops and tourists. In this village it was possible to look at the Way of Saint James and to discover some French particularities. During this trip we listened to explanations exclusively in French: this can truly make the difference during the learning of a language!
I am very satisfied for what I have done in Montpellier so far and although I have been here just for ten days, I notice that my French has improved exponentially here in Montpellier: this is the result of a lot of practice and, most of all, a ton of effort in learning it! I can really recommend the ILA French language school in Montpellier, you learn French in France quickly, you meet a lot of people and you have great fun !
Matteo, Italia (ILA student)