So, you’ve decided to come to the Centre International d’Antibes to learn French? Well done, excellent choice! Are you a beginner in French? Here’s some advice which you might find helpful. First, by deciding to visit France, you will be taking advantage of the benefits of language immersion. It’s a real opportunity to communicate with native speakers and share their everyday lives. During your stay, don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the language!
You can listen to French songs or news bulletins on the radio. Find out the frequencies of the main stations (France Info, for example) and the urls of French websites (such as RFI and TV5Monde). Watching French TV is also a good way to learn correct pronunciation. You will hear contemporary expressions used in context, which is surely better than learning them from a dictionary, don’t you think? Similarly, don’t always try to translate every word you encounter; instead, aim to understand the overall meaning of the texts you are reading. Don’t be shy about communicating in French, including with other students, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes in the beginning. You should also try to make some friends in your class – this makes it easier to get hold of course materials if you miss a lesson.
If you’re a beginner, learn how to ask some simple questions, such as: “Comment dit-on … en français ?” (“How do you say ... in French?”), “ Désolé, je ne peux pas venir ” (“I’m sorry, I can’t come”), “ Excusez-moi, je n’ai pas bien compris” (“Excuse me, I didn’t quite understand”). You will need to use French to get information or ask for directions, to accept or decline invitations and, of course, in all sorts of day-to-day situations. To get some practice speaking French, approach locals, indicate that you’d like to communicate in their language, watch their body language carefully and listen to the intonation of their voices. Learn a simple way to introduce yourself, as this is something that you will end up using time and again during your stay. It’s very important to be able to give your name and surname, your nationality, your place of residence, your job, etc. These are the first things that you offer when you engage someone in conversation. And bit by bit, you’ll make progress. So, what are you waiting for? Come to France and learn the language of Molière!