Once you have come to France, one of the most important and intelligent things for you, is to invest in learning French.
If you are a student: It’s important for you to learn French because once you will finish your studies, you will look for a job. And more than your MBA, your French language skills will be useful for you to help you getting a job here.
If you have invested 10,000 euros for your class, invest 1000 – 2000 for French as well. Don’t think you will learn French once you get a job. That’s like telling I will put products in my shop once customers will come. Your employer is like your customer and will only come towards you if you have things to offer.
Not learning French is like wasting thousands of euros of potential salary every month.
If you are working here: Your requirement is different, since you have already got a job here, and have a friend’s circle of Indians. Here, knowing the French language will assure you an easier professional ascension, and a better social interaction with your colleagues and the society here.
Unlike the students, often your course fees are returned by your office.
How to learn French:
There are many ways of learning French.
One of the cheapest ways you will find, is courses in the Mairie (townhall). The advantage is that the course fees are cheap, since the courses get subvention from the French tax payers’ money. However, the flip side is that the teacher may or may not be comfortable in English to answer your queries.
One to one: You can take one to one lesson from French native speakers, who offer classes. One of the examples here will be Fabienne Barbeau, a wonderful kind-hearted lady who have been helping Indian students since long time, and who also offers private French lessons at a very reasonable rate.
In a school: Learning in a school is another way, and many including teachers think that group learning offers ways of teachings, like games, which one to one cannot. For learning in school, there is Alliance Française, and Centre Zenith, to name a couple.
AllianceFrançaise is one of the oldest schools. Their rates are relatively higher. Classes are good.
Centre Zenith is a new school offering affordable and quality French learning experience. Quality of teachers here is among the best one can get in Paris. These native teachers have at least a master’s degree in French language with 5 to 10 years of teaching experiences. Besides, the teaching is done in English. Centre Zenith is unique in Paris to offer all those qualities.
Centre Zenith may also send a teacher to your office if that suits you more.
Take advantage of being in France
Come out of your own environment. It’s great to watch Indian TV channels through internet, but then you are not taking any advantage of being here. Give time to French TV programs.
I have heard people saying that I do not understand French and hence what is the point watching the French TV. Come on man. When we are born, we do not understand any language and still pick up the language of our parents only by listening. Listening is a great way to introduce words to our brains which it can then store. I read somewhere, 60% of learning of a new language can be done only by listening.
When I first came to France, I was watching 2 hours of French TV (and without understanding a word at the beginning) and in 3 months’ time I could start a basic conversation with people.
Watching French TV is an investment that you cannot avoid, if you are serious about learning French.
Secondly, be with French friends. Go out with them for a drink, or at their place. And if life has brought you a French boyfriend / girlfriend, your French learning will be even faster, as that will help you to be around a French speaking environment.
For those who are new and student, may also think to do a service exchange, of getting free housing against taking care of children or old people. It’s a win win in every way, as apart from getting free room (and that means over 500 euros saved every month), you are also in a French speaking environment which will turbo boost your French learning ability.
What is your reason for learning French, dear reader?
Sourav Choudhury is a social entrepreneur working for the cause of Indian community living in France, since 2003. He is founder of multiple projects: the largest social network of the Indian community of France, a French language school for english speaking expatriates, this website, and several other projects.