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Learning French

Using the Library and Cafés During My French Immersion Course

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Using the Library and Cafés During My French Immersion Course

I have been learning French in Montpellier for 3 months now and I have had times where I have felt like a really good student. I did all my homework every day and went back over my notes and vocabulary regularly. When we were doing exercises in class I could quickly work out the following steps before my teacher at the language school explained them. I had momentum which I think is super important for those of us learning French in France. Then…………there have been the other days. The times where I have felt like I’m never going to achieve a decent level of French because I haven’t been keeping up with the work. It’s easy to slip into, maybe a few too many drinks one night that means I can’t concentrate in class and then a long lunch means I don’t catch up and then someone invites me to do something cool which I say yes too. Before you know it you are way behind and what you are learning on your French immersion course seems impossible. Can you tell which is the preferable option?

So How Do You Make the Most of Your Time Learning French in France

I have been reflecting on what leads to me being more productive and thus feeling better about my progress on my French immersion course. There are definitely patterns but it will be different for each student so try and feel out how you work best. The following is just what works for me. Staying in the city after lunch is the best option for my productivity. Some students who are doing the DELF exam preparation or the business French courses have lessons in the afternoon but I finish at 12 and originally I thought coming back to the student residence in Montpellier was better because if I go to a café I have to spend money. When I’m at the residence however my bed starts to look very comfy, I’ll tell myself I need to relax a bit in order to focus but ‘a bit’ turn into a few hours. Then I can’t get going because I’m sleepy. Before you know it my Swiss friend Nico who is also taking French classes in Montpellier is asking if I want to go out for dinner because someone is leaving the next day. The day is gone and I’m further behind.

On the other hand if I stay out and about I’m naturally less tired and if I do get a little low on energy a little micro-rest normally refreshes me. Being surrounded by people being active has a positive impact on my own work rate; particularly at the library where I have a good connection to the secretaries who are always working so hard. There are often other students there too who are working on their DELF exam preparation which is more intense and they have a higher workload than me. So I think if they can manage with that amount there is no excuse for me not to manage mine. It is encouraging and sometimes I feel like we are part of the same team. The team of the ILA French Immersion School!

Going to cafés is good to because you can go to new ones each time and explore the different options or go to one more regularly and get to know the staff. I interviewed an American guy recently for this blog and I asked him if he could do it again what would he do differently whilst learning French in France; he said he would go to the same café every day and learn the workers names and practice with them everything he had learnt on his French immersion course that day.

So there are a few of my thoughts on utilising the library or the institution of the French café. Since I began learning French in Montpellier I have had my ups and downs but since trying to do this more I have become a lot more consistent and reliable. I have more confidence in the lessons on my French immersion course and now I feel like I’m ready to take on the DELF exam preparation.