If you plan to move to France for whatever reason, you probably expect to enjoy world-class cuisine, inspiring culture, fashion, and great philosophy. However, you will need to teach and train your French muscles to get the most out of your French living experience.

But, it is never too complicated to learn this language as long as you have the will and time. After all, French-speaking people are everywhere around you.

Here are Some Critical Points for Expats Looking to Start Learning French

Where You Take Your Classes Matters

When living in France, it is possible to think that any French-speaking person can teach you the local language. That would be true if you are looking to learn some essential words. But if you hope to learn everyday French communication, you may need to take a formal class from a language school.

There are two options for learning French. The first would be learning from a physical class, and the second would be learning online. The best option would be learning online because it allows you to access some of the best language schools from any location. 

If you are unsure where to start, Lingoda’s French program would be a great place, no matter your stage in learning French.

Why Learning French Is So Important

After moving to France, most English speakers immerse themselves in an English-speaking bubble, especially if they are working in a mainly English-speaking workplace. While it may seem convenient, an English-speaking bubble can be limiting because you will always need something your bubble can’t offer.

If you live in France for the long haul, you will need to make friends, learn the culture, change jobs, etc. While you may not be fluent, knowing something more than the basics can make your integration more effortless. 

You do not have to sound like a native French person; you’d be surprised to learn that most people may not care so much about your accent, just as you would not care much about a French person’s English accent.

Learning French through Linguistic Immersion

Getting formal French language training is essential but not enough. Learning has to continue outside the classroom. If you have immersed yourself in an English-speaking bubble, stepping out of it and immersing yourself in the French-speaking population can provide the best learning opportunity. 

The best approach would be to nurture relationships with French speakers through whom you can learn everyday usage of the French language. You may also tune in to French-speaking radio stations, podcasts, and TV from time to time. The more you expose yourself to everyday French use, the easier it will be to communicate and integrate into French culture.

Expectations from the French

Once you get to France, you may be surprised at how rich the culture is, with the French language at its center. Being an integral part of their culture, the French are pretty proud of their language, and some tend to be judgmental if you can’t speak it well. 

Of course, not all of them are, but you will undoubtedly encounter this group. You may have realized that learning French can be a real challenge. But this group doesn’t seem to understand that and will never give you credit no matter how hard you try and will harshly correct you for every language mistake you make. 

This group can be a real distraction, and you may want to be prepared to overcome them, or they will make you want to give up on learning.

Your Expectations

Besides external expectations, you will also have to deal with your internal expectations. In your country of origin, you could be the funniest person or have an interpersonal skill that makes you a favourite no matter the kind of setting. 

After making the shift to France, everything changes. Cracking jokes and using puns becomes quite a challenge, and by the time you have something ready, the window is long gone. It is easy to feel like a different person under such circumstances and want to slide back into your comfort zone

But it is essential to understand that learning is a process, and you do not have to be too hard on yourself. With time you will get a handle on it. Even when you may not be as good as a native, you will get much better with time and get to the real you or something close.

Learn To Embrace Other Versions of You

Part of managing your expectations is embracing the multiple versions of you. Who you are in your English-speaking circle may be quite different from you outside the circle, and you do not need to feel like you have to have one version. 

The good thing about being in a different language-speaking nation is that you will be an exotic member of your close circle. Interacting with foreigners is intriguing, meaning there are some situations where you will be the centre of focus even when your French may not be perfect. 

Embracing the different versions of you also helps you loosen up. Also, you can incorporate the English version of yourself into the French version without being too hard on yourself. At first, your friend may laugh at you for mistakes but not with ill intentions. 

With time, you will laugh with them at your mistakes and realize that nothing is ever too serious, and you will start having fun amid your linguistic and cultural imperfections. 

Appreciate Your Accomplishments

Learning a new language and culture is no small feat. So if you have made any strides, you deserve a pat on the back while still acknowledging your need for improvement. While you could have other people cheering you on, you are your best cheerleader. 

Appreciating what you have accomplished can motivate you to get better. It could be communicating with the grocery store cashier or the plumber. But if you are looking to impress everyone with your French, you might be in for some disappointment because you never may. So be happy for what you have and work towards getting better.