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Learning French

Learning French outside of your French Courses in Montpellier

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Learning French outside of your French Courses in Montpellier

Language exchanges here in Montpellier are a great way to meet new people and have fun, all whilst improving your French skills. There are lots of language exchange evenings on offer, as well as opportunities to meet a French ‘buddy’ to practise with. Making an effort to learn French outside of your French courses will allow you to get the most out of your French immersion stay, so why not get stuck into some of these events specifically designed to help French learners?

Fitzpatrick’s Anglais-Français language exchange

I found this language exchange just through a simple google search, and my friend and I went along last Thursday to check it out. It takes place every week at Fitzpatrick’s, an Irish bar which always has a good ambiance, cosy inside and with a lively café terrace. When we arrived, there was already a long table of people chatting away and a few smaller tables dotted around, one of which invited us to join them. The first hour was all in French, so I got to practise what I had learned in my French courses at the language school and made friends with some lovely French girls! Then, we changed to English for the next hour, so it was my turn to help them practise. Everyone was so welcoming, and there was no pressure to speak perfectly as we were all just there to learn from each other.

Yellow Chatters

Another similar exchange is run by the Yellow Chatters, every Wednesday in a bar in centre-ville. Whereas the Fitzpatrick’s exchange evening is mostly between French and English speakers, the Yellow Chatters evenings are an opportunity for people to practise any language, so be sure to share your native language too! You have to wear something yellow, so that other people know that you’ve come for the language exchange evening. It’s also free with your student card that you got on the first day at the French language school, so all you need to do is turn up and buy a drink from the bar.

Buddy systems

If you are staying in Montpellier for a longer time, you can sign up to one of the buddy systems which are run by the universities here. Montpellier is a city with a large community of international students, so lots of organisations aim to help these students settle in and immerse themselves in the French language and culture by pairing them up with a French student. You and your buddy can go out, grab coffee, go shopping – whatever you fancy. Whilst you hang out, you have the opportunity to practise your French, and your buddy can practise your language if they would like. For example, my French buddy wants to learn better English, so when we meet up, we either switch between the two languages, or we have conversations where she speaks in English and I respond in French, so we both get to practise at the same time.

Tandem

The app Tandem is certainly a very modern way to practise your French. You simply make a profile showing your native language and the language you’d like to learn (French), then can chat and video call with native French speakers who want to learn your language. It’s a bit like a buddy system, but all online. I’ve found it really useful for learning more conversational French, as you can ask your buddy to help you with small talk, or useful French slang, especially what French people use when they are messaging. It’s also great if you’re trying to keep up your French after your language stay has ended, as you can connect and chat with French speakers wherever you are in the world!