If you are taking or considering taking a French immersion course or the DELF exam preparation, doing a home stay or a residential intensive course for adults in France than you are doing something brilliant and it will change your life; infinitely for the better! I hope you are super excited and believe me when I say you are going to love it. Even if you do know that there can be a side of you that is a nervous, I mean after all learning languages isn’t always easy. So to give you a bit of reinforcement and make you feel prepared I would like to discuss how you can approach learning French in France to give you the best chance of not only surviving but thriving.
Let’s start right at the core and let’s talk honestly. There will be times when learning French seems quite hard. I believe that learning French in France, despite being the most effective way to become bi-lingual, can sometimes knock your confidence. Imagine starting to learn juggling and being surrounded by people who have been doing it all their lives; literally from day one. Not only that but have attended at least 14 years at a juggling school where every day they were being taught about this skill technically and almost every day they practiced juggling with friends, family and teachers, they watched films and TV shows all the time that was just people juggling! You would obviously feel a little inadequate yes but if you just view these people as teachers and not a source of anxiety you are going to be juggling 4 flaming chainsaws in no time at all. Still this constant long measuring stick can at times make you feel like you are not making much progress. I have had a few occasions where I did particularly well in a lesson and understood everything my teacher said and thought maybe I had cracked it. Then when I next spoke to a French native I understood nothing and came crashing back down to earth. This is where your motivation for learning the language will be tested. If you are only doing it because you think you will look cool or you want to impress then this is likely to crumble when things get challenging.
What is Your Motivation For Learning French in France?
You will undoubtedly have your own reasons for wanting to learn French. Although they may be similar to some other French students the ways people come to actually taking the decision are always unique to them. Think about your reasons; what are they? Which are slightly superficial? Which are more profound? I find for me dwelling on superficial reasons for doing something can be fun but those reasons rarely have the strength to keep me going when I arrive at a part that is particularly tricky. So my advice is this; sure you can spend some time thinking about how cool it will be to order at a French restaurant with your friends but spend more time thinking about reasons you have that have deep roots. If you are a professionally driven person think about how phenomenally beneficial it will be to communicate with people in 29 other countries across 5 continents. If you want to learn more about the world think that you will be able to communicate with all these people from distant lands with completely distinct cultures, you will be able to communicate equally with the Quebecois and Moroccans for example. If you are a creative type think about all the art that these countries have produced that will be completely accessible to you now and how that might influence your own work.
Your motivation needs to be strong enough to pull you out of your slumps, to give you that drive to push you through those purely mental barriers that pop up whenever we try and learn something tricky. Make it personal to you, ask yourself what you really care about and feel free to get a bit carried away with what it could lead to; why not imagine yourself working at the UN where French is one of the official languages or giving a lecture at the Sorbonne! These big dreams will really give you a kick when you need it.
If you get your motivation clear in your mind learning French in France is a breeze and your French DELF exam course, intensive French course for adults or homestay will not throw up any problems you can’t push past.