If you’re reading this and considering a French course, you’re probably looking for a little information about what to expect before committing the next twelve weeks to something new and challenging.
Learning a new skill (and then learning how to utilize it proficiently) is always difficult in the beginning, and learning a language is no exception. After you have a grasp of some very simple vocabulary and grammatical rules, however, the basics of French are relatively easy to learn!
The course material is organized thematically with each lesson covering an introduction to a specific conversational topic from general greetings to family, travel and food. The lessons give you the building blocks to develop basic language skills but study and repetition beyond the classroom are essential for making the most of what you’ve learned and retaining it for future use. A large part of proficiency is simply down to memorizing vocabulary and building up your French lexicon, so you can communicate exactly (or near enough to) what you wish to say. How quickly you pick up a language and your level of fluency will depend a great deal on the effort you put in beyond your lessons, but even if you don’t study often you will learn quite a bit from the lessons alone. If you are already studying independently, attending lessons will help you progress even more quickly in a structured manner.
Some weeks will be more difficult than others and you may feel less motivated to study (it happens to everyone) but there are plenty of ways to stay on track and engage with a little French every day depending on how much time you have to spare – a five-minute flashcard session with coffee, listening to a podcast or music while commuting, watching a show or film with English subtitles, or even writing a short paragraph about yourself or a topic that helps you practice what you’ve covered in the previous weeks’ lessons. Everyone learns and studies differently, so the school has many different suggestions to suit different learning styles. Homework assignments where we write and present a short piece in class are a great no-pressure way to expand your vocabulary and sharpen your written and verbal French skills. You’ll be surprised what you learn when you take your time, and the instructors are always happy to offer detailed feedback and answer any questions that may arise from your independent study or assignments. Everyone is learning together so the environment is very supportive, and having a native French speaker is very helpful for understanding what language is appropriate for specific contexts.
It took nearly two years of deliberating before I gave in and registered for lessons, and my only regret is not doing it sooner. I love visiting France but always return feeling that I would have had a much richer experience if I were more proficient and confident in French. After completing my first French course my confidence and diction have definitely improved, and I’m looking forward seeing how much more I can learn before my next trip! Whether you’re studying to prepare for work, a holiday or simply looking to develop a new skill, French lessons are a great way to maximise your learning potential.
Give it a chance and study as much as possible! Bonne chance!
Written by Heather T. - French student (Beginner level 2)