Executive Education

Struggling to learn French as an International Student in Paris? Well, here are a few tips on it!

''Parlez-vous français'' next to a French flag

It is dream come true for many who come to study in one of the Parisian universities. After all, they are highly rated educational institutions in one of the most thriving and beautiful cities in the world. Everything you want is offered in Paris, from rich local culture to a sophisticated lifestyle. On top of all of that, you get to study in world-class institutions that are sure to make your career prospects shine bright. However, all of these experiences may be affected unless your French is workable.

To live the Parisian way, French is necessary. Whether it is about university life or touristic experiences, you will only be able to appreciate the nuances of its culture if you understood French. But, as the world knows, French is a language of many variations, and one cannot easily learn it. True, that it is not easy but not incredibly difficult. With the right strategy, you can attain the necessary command of the language. What is the strategy? Below are a few pointers to note.

  1. You will need the required material around you
    Personally speaking, there is nothing better than hard copies of any study material. I would suggest that you surround yourself with good quality French material, from dictionaries to workbooks; you will need them all. Merely reading the words, rules, and whatnot will not help unless you practice them. So, get as many practice books as you can. Read books in French and highlight words, phrases, or sentences which require understanding or remembering. Aside from these, there is a vast repository of French material online though many of them will be completely available only on subscription. Download Apps such as Duolingo or Memrise and watch French videos.

  1. Set a target
    You cannot do well unless you have a goal in mind. Not just a goal, you need to couple it with a strategy. How will you achieve this? One suggestion I would like to offer is to prepare a task sheet depending on your preferences. You can assign tasks daily, weekly, or whatever but you should complete them. These tasks can include learning 5-10 words daily, doing exercises, practicing French speech by, say, speaking on a topic, attending language classes, or reading a chapter from one of your French novels. Only when you are organized and focused you can learn French.

  1. Seek help from your friends
    Make friends, especially those who are good at French. When you are around them, you will hear conversational French regularly helping you adapt and learn. The more you hear contextually, the more you will learn because conversational French can differ from textbook French. Ask your friends to help you practice. They can make you speak impromptu French or help you watch movies in French. If you have friends who are learning French, make a study group and hold practice sessions together. This will keep you motivated as you know you are not the only one struggling with the language.

  1. Consider paying for a language course
    You can watch videos on YouTube or Google blog posts but a teacher can be really useful. Classroom teaching stimulates a learning temperament that is not easily formed when learning alone. In Paris, there are many good French learning classes tailored to meet the requirements of the international student community. In fact, your university might have a running language learning course for international students. I know these courses can be costly, but they offer long-term benefits. Remember that you are supposed to stay in the city for a good amount of time, and the lack of hold on the language can be problematic.

  1. Write French as much as you speak French
    Many international students focus more on verbal French than written French. Conversational French is relatively easy to grasp because it is often situationally learned and often required daily. However, your foundations will be weak if you follow such path. Mere focus on conversational French means that you know just the French needed to survive. But, that also means you do not fully enjoy the French experiences. By learning and practicing written French, you will develop a command of the basics which will help you hone your conversational skills. Otherwise, your French will be very limited and of not much consequence. You should know that you are there as a student not as a tourist.

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Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at info@ceoworld.biz.