What is your hometown like?
Small city in the Flanders in the north of Belgium. There are lots parties there and it’s famous for it’s carnival which is a yearly three day event. The carnival is a big old deal, it’s listed as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO. There is a huge parade of 100 floats that often have satirical themes. In Aalst there are also lots of museums and galleries and there is a great music scene.
If you could learn 3 languages instantly apart from French what would they be and why?
German: I’m a mechanical engineering student and lots of companies have their head offices there so although it is not essential it would enhance my career prospects a lot and open a lot of doors for me.
Japanese: For similar reasons to German. There are so many great technology companies there. It would be great to work there but even just for communication to businesses over there would be really useful. It’s good to have some experience in either of these languages in my field.
Spanish: This is more for my own pleasure. I love the accent and the flow of the language. It’s important internationally because of how widespread it is, it could be useful for my career too and I just love learning languages.
Which countries are you excited about using the French you’ve learned during your French immersion course?
Of course my own country; Belgium. In Belgium we speak mostly French and Flemish which is what I speak. Being able to move freely throughout my country without worrying about the language barrier would feel amazing from a social point of view but also I would be free to move easily for work. Brussels particularly as it’s the capital so many companies are based there and although there is a mix of languages having the French will be a massive asset. Africa is always somewhere I have wanted to travel and the prevalence of French would help me a lot. The combination of English and French will mean I can be quite confident about being able to communicate well in most countries. Mauritius looks like the most beautiful holiday destination and when I go on holiday somewhere I really want to connect with the locals more.
What are your reasons for learning French?
1. Important for work experience in Belgium generally but I would also like to maybe work in France or Switzerland at some point. It is just nice to have the flexibility when planning your career.
2. Although I can’t generalise I have met lots of really cool French people and they have left a deep fondness for the country and the people. Some of the natives I have met whilst learning French in France have seemed really cool but I wasn’t able to have deeper conversations with them and know them better because of the language barrier. I want to change this.
3. It is just a gorgeous language. I feel like it’s very refined and elegant language and it is just lovely to hear.
How is this French Immersion Course in Montpellier Going to Help You?
1. The pace is great. During your French immersion program in Montpellier you are pushed and challenged as I hoped but things build up gradually so you are never overwhelmed.
2. The content we learn is very useful and applicable to our daily experiences. The structure like when we discuss what we have been doing over the weekend in our French class is great and you can use it instantly.
3. There is a really nice balance between theory and conversational French. We learn a decent amount of theory but we also learn a good level of stuff we can utilise straight away.
4. Some packages don’t get this right and can often be aimed at tourists who just want to get by speaking to the French people they would meet on a weekend away.
5. School was the opposite with 2 hours per week of just theory and no practical stuff. Even if you did learn practical things in school you had very little opportunity to use them because you were not in a French speaking country. At the ILA French language school they might teach us something and I can go use it straight away at a café.
Gilles motivation for learning French in France will strike a chord with many people; I think particularly other Belgians and the Swiss who both have language barriers within their own country. He is very content with his progress and not only has made more progress at the ILA French Immersion School but also has more passion for the language.