Taking a French immersion course is different for each student and the experience varies widely depending on how long you French language stay in France. If your French studies last for a couple of weeks the initial momentum most students experience should be enough to keep you going full throttle during the length of your French language stay in Montpellier. For those staying for a longer period it is more important to have a tight strategy for learning French. Although sheer perseverance is probably going to be enough to get you to a proficient level having a mature, realistic plan in mind will really benefit you. You will develop faster and enjoy yourself more so it’s win – win. This article is still applicable to those on shorter ‘sejours’ but it will in principal speak to those who are undergoing long term French language stays.
It is easy to get carried away with your end goals and I think it does have some positive impact on your motivation. Dreaming of yourself effortlessly talking with native French speakers whether in a professional or personal context is fun and exciting but during your studies it can seem a very long way away at times. Especially at the start when you catch a glimpse of a French newspaper for example and every word just looks like gibberish. The scale of task in front of you can appear enormous and you may start to question whether or not it is even possible. IT TOTALLY IS! This is a problem that has plagued people learning new skills across the ages and across the world no matter what the skill or field. There are many things you can do to change this unhelpful mind-set and kick your learning up the gears but I would just like to discuss one I have found particularly useful.
Set Yourself Mini-Goals for Your French Immersion Course
Satisfaction is a huge part of motivation. If you find something truly satisfying you will be more motivated to do it obviously but the effort required provides a counterweight and works proportionately with satisfaction. If you find something incredibly satisfying and pleasurable and it requires little effort you are very likely to do it. On the other hand if something is a little satisfying but requires a huge amount of effort to do it is unlikely that you will commit the time and energy necessary. Depending on the motivation your expected satisfaction from becoming proficient in French will vary but most of us imagine it will be great but it requires a lot of effort. If your sole goal is to become fluent and nothing less than that will make you proud of your efforts you will only experience satisfaction once you have reached this goal. Everything up to that will just be struggle and frustration. If, however you take a different approach and set small goals on a frequent basis this gives you a chance to attain them frequently and feel good about it frequently.
E.g by the end of this week I want to have memorised 40 country names in French or each day I want to learn 5 new verbs.
Then after you have reached your target you can enjoy the feeling and anything you do more than that will make you feel even better because it’s all extra. You have put in some effort and got some satisfaction. This is far more sustainable and confidence is important too. Normally completing little targets will make you feel more confident as you can see your progress with your French studies but also you are following through on things you say to yourself and VOILA! Bonjour self-respect. A confident student is a better student, not only is your more optimistic mind quicker and more agile but you’re more likely to engage with natives or your French classes in Montpellier. This double hit is likely to give another boost and this cycle can continue indefinitely.
These are some of my experiences having tried both the grinding all or nothing mind-set and the more mature one step at a time approach to learning French in France. Since I have been doing the latter I have been a better student and more content as well so for me it is easy to decide how I will continue my French intensive course for adults in Montpellier. I hope it works for you too.