Don’t lose your French – practice, practice, practice!
Learning French may not pose too much of a challenge when studying abroad in France, but if you’re not hearing French all around you when you return to your home country, it can be hard to keep it up. Luckily, with these tips and your persistence, you will be able to maintain (and even better!) both your spoken and written French.
Practice with your friendS
If you have any friends, family, or colleagues that speak French, then speaking with them is a great way to practice your French. Ask them if they would be interested in talking to you for at least half an hour every day. Have a list of topics that you want to talk about – if there’s something you want to talk about but you’re not sure how to phrase your ideas on the subject in French, do some research on vocabulary the night before. Speaking French in a semi-impromptu way with one other person is a great way to maintain a fluent speed, as well as increase your confidence and decrease your hesitation.
However, if you don’t know anyone that speaks or is learning French, look to our next tip…
Meet new people!
Meet-up groups in your area are a surefire way to make new friends with the same interests and goals as you. Go to Meetup.com or any other site that unites groups of people with common objectives; you can find existing groups that meet up at least once a week, or, if there aren’t any, create your own! As long as you make sure to stay safe, you can have great success in keeping up your French and find people that share your passion for French language and culture.
Read articles and watch movies
It’s important to maintain your spoken French, but your reading and oral comprehension are extremely crucial to keep up as well. To do this, as well as expand your knowledge of French politics and culture, read French magazines, newspapers, and books that correspond with your level of proficiency. As you keep reading, you can gradually increase the level you’re reading at in order to improve. In addition, movies, TV shows, speeches, and even stand-up comedy in French will help you immensely in your understanding of French – the way French people speak it. Check out this selection of great French movies to watch on Netflix!
Sign up for classes
THE ALLIANCES FRANÇAISES
Created in 2007, the Fondation Alliance Française is present in most major cities - there are 800 alliances in a total of 137 countries. The 111 Alliances Françaises in the US largely contribute to promoting and developing French with 70 language centers and 580 teachers of French as a foreign language.
They offer French lessons for all levels, as well as specialized classes (theatre, business and legal French, corporate seminars, etc.) and a variety of cultural activities.
Since 2010, the French Institute aims to facilitate cultural exchanges and promote French culture and influence via its 96 institutions present in many countries around the world. It also offers training in French, adapted appropriately to your needs. This training may also offer, upon completion, different types of official certification for various purposes.
The ADCUEFE-Campus-FLE is composed of about 40 French universities that offer French as Foreign Language courses (Français langue étrangère, FLE) for foreign students and teachers. The degrees and certifications given by the universities in the ADCUEFE comply with the requirements set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL), a standardized means of determining linguistic ability. Every year, over 100,000 people come to France to take these French classes.
THE CCI FRENCH LANGUAGE CENTRE IN PARIS
Since 1958, this French language center offers assessment and certification programs, as well as training in professional French. It helps those who wish to improve their French language skills in-depth, or simply quickly learn professional vocabulary relevant to their industry or sector. It is also designed for French or foreign companies that wish to ameliorate communication with their international collaborators.
THE FLE QUALITY LABEL
The FLE Quality Label was created in 2007. Its aim is to guarantee the quality of training offered by private and public centers, as well as associations in FLE. Today, 94 centers have received this label. Look for centers that have the FLE Quality Label stamp of approval to make sure you’re getting the best teaching possible.
Connect with people in the France Alumni USA Directory
Connect with people in the France Alumni USA directory with whom you may have studied abroad, and ask them if they would be interested in corresponding in French! To have full access to the France Alumni USA directory, you must first create your France Alumni USA account; you will then be able to view the directory here.