The desire to learn French is already one step closer to mastering this beautiful language. You may want to take some French lessons for personal or business reasons.
Whether it’s to enhance your travel experiences, looking for new learning opportunities or interested in working for an international company, whatever the reason is, run with it!
Learning French is no piece of croissant, but there are benefits for doing so, such as:
- Making you a preferred candidate when applying to international organizations
- Having greater travel experiences when visiting francophone countries
- Using French as a door opener to learn other romance languages such as Spanish, Italian or Portuguese
- Creating a new challenge for yourself and enhancing your education
Now you're interested in starting French lessons and you’ve read some of the benefits, why not dive into the following topics to help you achieve this goal.
Let's go! Or as the French would say, On y va!
How Much do French Lessons Cost?
When starting something new, the price is always a factor. Learning a new language, like French, is no different.
With today’s technology, we are lucky to be in a time where there is more than one way of learning.
The traditional way, for example, usually consists of being in a classroom setting with an instructor and other students.
Learning French at a language institute such as The Alliance Française can cost you at around $490 for a period of four weeks whereas regular lessons can cost you around $430 for a period of six weeks.
Although prices may seem high, there are benefits from learning French at a school.
You will benefit from the school's event calendar. Plenty, if not all, schools usually have a calendar of events that bring students together to participate in social activities that consist of what they are learning.
These types of events can expose you more to the French culture rather than just the language.
You also have a personalized approach, learning with a private tutor.
Sometimes people hear 'private tutor' and automatically assume, expensive! But that is not always the case.
With today’s fast-paced world we live in, companies like Superprof are really making a name for themselves.vSuperprof is an online community of tutors all over the world! This includes French tutors, too.
Superprof tutors can range anywhere from $20 to $100 an hour, depending on what city you live in, a tutor’s experience and the level you are learning.
By hiring a personal French tutor, you are planning when you want to have your French lessons, so they will fit perfectly with your schedule.
A third approach to learning French is online classes.
Online classes are for those who can really manage their time, need and have flexibility in their schedule and can motivate themselves to work alone and anywhere.
Some people find online classes to be more beneficial versus a classroom setting.
Online teaching software companies like Rosetta Stone are a good example of online classes. They have created a name for themselves with years of experience and content consumers.
How to Find the Right French Teacher?
It’s important to find a class that suits you, but it’s just as important to find your perfect French teacher.
You may sign up for some classes at your local language school, but have no idea what teacher you are being assigned.
Your research doesn’t stop there! Now you need to research who you will be learning with.
When looking for your perfect French teacher, you have to keep in mind that the following qualities make a great teacher.
A good teacher:
- is knowledgeable and passionate about the subject
- creates a sense of community and belonging
- has excellent communication skills
- has excellent planning skills
If you are signing up to take some courses through a private French tutor however, these doubts of yours can be easily cleared. Let's take Superprof tutors for example. Like we mentioned earlier, tutors within the Superprof community have ratings.
These ratings will allow you to see what other students have thought and can help you make a better decision on what tutor to go with.
For online classes, even though you will have an instructor that you will hardly see in person, you still want someone who is organized, is passionate about the subject and is there for you should you have any questions or concerns on topics.
For online classes, there should be student testimonials as well or availability to see success rates of previous students who took the same class.
How to Practice Your French Between French Lessons?
Now comes the fun part of learning French, practicing it! When you are learning French outside of a francophone country, it’s harder to be fully exposed to the language and the country’s lifestyle.
As much as we would want to, we cannot take a trip to Paris every other weekend to practice how to order our bouteille du vin or our pains au chocolat.
In order to really learn a language though, practice is essential.
There are, however, other methods that you can practice, to help get your mind in full French mode.
Practicing through art may seem like the most obvious way when learning the romantic and culturally enriched language of French. Whether it be the art of film or music, both of these can be used to practice your hearing, reading, and speaking!
How you may ask though?
French films are available in just about any online streaming service. Better yet, the movie can still be watched in French!
By watching French films you are practicing your French hearing skills and if you add subtitles you can practice your French reaching skills too!
Moving on to music, there are so many great French musicians that are easily found in applications such as Pandora, Spotify or iTunes.
If you are one to sing along, don’t let French songs stop you, in fact, we encourage you to do so!
If you don’t know the words yet, then put those French reading skills to the test, look up the lyrics and follow along.
How about a different form of art? One that may even be considered, educational, such as podcasts.
Podcasts can easily be downloaded to your phone and can be played while you’re on your way to work or school.
Take this list, for example, it will break down popular French podcasts by the level of difficulty and will give you a brief overview of what the podcast is about. There are thousands of podcasts to choose from, all the way from basic to native speaking level.
With the increased use of social media, people can benefit from it by finding social groups that are made up of people with similar interests as yourself.
With just the touch of a button, you can be connected to many groups near you that include people who want to practice French with you.
Certifying Your French Language Skills
You’re interested in completing a university degree in France. You are starting to apply for jobs in Paris. You want to make it official that you are a French speaker.
One of these three could be the reason why you wish to certify your French language skills.
But what exam is the right one for you? DILF? DELF? DALF?
All these acronyms may seem a bit overwhelming, we don’t blame you and we will break it down for you.
DILF is short for diplôme initial de langue française. Basically, this is a test you would take when you want to prove that you have an understanding of the French language.
It is considered a beginners level of French. You may not be in an intermediate or advanced level of French, but you are getting there.
The DELF exam is short for diplôme d'études en langue française. This is the most common certification that students sign up for. If you become certified, you are proving that your level of French is an intermediate to advanced.
Finally, the DALF exam is short for diplôme approfondi de langue française. This exam will certify your advanced level of French.
Each of these three exams will focus on four skill categories:
These four skill categories will be the focus of each exam but of course with their appropriate level.
You may be asked to listen to audio recordings, read articles, answer questionnaires, participate in debates or be asked to write some information down.
Whichever test you decide to sign up for, preparation is important, and lucky for you, there are sample papers online that are offered through the French Ministry of Education's website.
If you feel courageous and ready to put your French language skills to the test, you’ll need to sign up in person with the closest test center that offers these exams.