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How does Learning French in France at ILA work?

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How does Learning French in France at ILA work?

The Students

The students – here in Montpellier to learn French in France – come from all over the world, from Columbia, Singapore, the Netherlands and from everywhere in between. It really is an international school with its unique selling point of “learning French in France”. Most students are between eighteen and thirty but there are also quite a few older learners too. Normally ILA manages to put you in a class with some people around your age, but that does also depend on your level. Nevertheless, the French school really does accommodate for anyone who wants to do a French immersion stay, regardless of age and nationality. Because the classes are solely in French, so as to optimise learning, it doesn’t matter if your native language is Spanish, English, Portuguese or any other language. In fact, it helps if your common language is French, and not English because that lends itself to more opportunities to be learning French in France – even with non-French speakers. During the break, I often hear people chatting away in French and that is definitely an encouraging sign.

A Typical Day

As a student doing a French immersion stay here in Montpellier, you can either choose to follow a standard course or an intensive course. The standard French course means that you have French class in the morning from nine until twelve fifteen and your afternoons are free. In the intensive French course, you have the same hours for the morning classes but you also have classes in the afternoons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from one fifteen until three fifty. Of course, choosing the intensive course for your French immersion stay is hard work, especially if you like to go out in the evenings. But it does accelerate your ability to pick up more vocab and ultimately makes the adventure of learning French in France more rewarding. The standard morning sessions are more focussed on grammar, reading and writing and in the afternoon there’s more emphasis on speaking. Nevertheless, there are teachers who incorporate games and debates into all of their French lessons, which really does make learning a lot of fun. If you have chosen to learn French in France to obtain your DELF certificate, you can also do that here, and you have standard lessons in the morning and DELF preparation in the afternoon.

The Buildings

At ILA French school in Montpellier, there are three different buildings with classrooms where you can have lessons. There is the main building on Rue Joffre, as well as the Annexe and ILA1 which are both on Grand Rue Jean Moulin. Rue Joffre is the building with the main reception if it’s low season. During high season there is a reception at ILA1 too. ILA1 is definitely the prettiest building because it has a statue of a woman framed in an arch and some nice plants on the ground floor. There are coffee machines in most of the buildings, and it’s only sixty five cents for a coffee between classes, if you’ve, like me, become a coffee-lover during your French immersion stay. If you are at ILA1 or the Annexe the little café “La Pause Gourmande” is just next door, where you can get yourself a nice reward there after lessons – my favourite is a cookie and a coffee with milk at the end of my day.

Accommodation

Some students here stay in the ILA residence during their French immersion stay – it’s a student residence with students from ILA only, and there are around twenty places, so it is a bit limited in space. There is a massive kitchen with a large table where you can socialise so the French school residence is perfect if you’re here to meet other young people. If the ILA residence is full, there are other student residences around Montpellier and there is sometimes space there. Otherwise there is the possibility to be accommodated with a host family – so to live with real French residents for whom Montpellier is their home – and what better way to improve your French than to live with French people during your French immersion stay. I have heard of a few people living with host families, who even have a kind of studio in the garden, with their own kitchen and bathroom, but obviously only happens in a few cases.

In Summary

If you’re looking to learn French in France then a French immersion stay at ILA is perfect for you. The school organises your accommodation, and you’ll definitely be occupied during weekends and evenings when you’re exploring Montpellier with all the friends you’ve made from the classes and the breaks between them. And if you go to the beach here – because everyone should go at least once before during their French immersion stay – make sure to look out for the flamingos on the way.