Learning French in France can be a daunting experience. Most students are a bit stressed on their first day at school and it is completely normal: a new city, a new school, new people and everyone speaking in French. Perhaps you haven’t been back to school for many years. Learning French can be hard but it can also be an opportunity to see another way of life, get to know another culture and discover France through its language. Learning French is so much more than grammar. It’s also the French culture, the French food and the French people of course. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of meeting other students of your age at the language school and taking the journey together. You will become friends with people in the same situation and you’ll practise speaking French together.
Don’t feel you need to brush up on your skills before starting the course. We usually don’t recommend students to read up on their French before starting a French course at IS Aix-en-Provence. Come as you are and let the teachers take the lead! They are the professionals, and as long as you are motivated and positive about learning French, you will progress.
A good atmosphere in the classroom is extremely important for the learning. The students present in the classroom and the teacher set the tone so have fun and laugh. We feel that students who feel comfortable and who are not afraid to make mistakes are the ones who will progress faster. Don’t be embarrassed about making mistakes in French: it is what makes us improve and learn; without making mistakes we cannot move forward. With a good camaraderie in the classroom, students also feel more comfortable at helping out and practising with each other and this is what will make the difference for a successful French course.
Be aware of your feelings and observe yourself. There will be good days and there will be bad days but if you take that into account, you’ll be able to easily avoid the frustration. If you are aware that sometimes, you need a little more time to assimilate things than at other times, it is easier to accept the frustration and to keep working towards your goal. The way you feel during your French course will influence your learning curve.
Should you still be stressed and nervous after reading this, our last advice is to make stress your friend. Turn stress into something positive: a tool, a motivational factor, but don’t let it stop you from expressing yourself in French.
The rest is up to you but make sure to enjoy your time in Aix-en-Provence – life is too short not to.