During your French language course in Aix-en-Provence, you will probably want to go outside the school in the beautiful city of Aix-en-Provence to use what you’ve learnt. As a student in an international language school, you will meet plenty of non-French speakers. Practising together is great, going out and doing activities is a fantastic way of getting to know each other and keeping the French conversation going, even in the evening.
However, you may also want to meet French people and interact with the locals. This can be harder and sometimes even a challenge. We do not hold a secret key to this. It is all about reaching out to other people and this hard step may be stressful.
A first possibility is homestay. Staying with a French family or a French person ensures that you will speak French. We recommend the option homestay with half-board (breakfast and dinner) as dinnertime is usually the time when everyone is available to sit down and chat. The families of IS Aix-en-Provence are carefully selected, have had their homes visited and are evaluated by each student staying there, leaving a track record for the school.
Another way of practising is joining one Café polyglotte as they are numerous in Aix-en-Provence.
A café polyglotte is an informal way to gather at a local café, between people who have different mother tongues and who want to have a drink and a chat in various languages. It can also be a good way of meeting French although all French people there will probably be more interested in speaking with you in your first language. But, you will get out there and meet people, which is the first step.
Joining a sports club, a book club or an association will allow you to integrate the local community. It may take time getting to know French people and making friends but persistency pays off (just like with the French language) and it is well worth the while.
Interact with people on the street. This may sound strange to some cultures but Aix-en-Provence is a small and friendly town and every opportunity is good to take to improve your French. Ask for directions or a recommendation for a restaurant for instance. Whenever the opportunity appears, try to strike up a conversation. The weather is always a good starting point. The bus stop can be a buzzing place as well as the market. Besides, Aix-en-Provence has one of the best markets in Provence, happening every morning (Saturday morning being the busiest one).
The libraries in Aix-en-Provence are now all free of charge with free Wi-Fi. It may not be the good place for loud conversations, but enjoy the quiet for some downtime and « détente » while reading a chapter in your book or the newspaper, or take time to do your homework for your French language course. And of course the librarians are excellent at recommending books.
Enjoy your stay in the city of Aix-en-Provence. Hopefully, you’ll meet plenty of friendly French people and make the most of your French language course in Aix-en-Provence.