If you are coming to do a French immersion course in France you will have to decide what kind of accommodation you would prefer. Normally there are a couple of choices; you can stay with a French host family or at some sort of student accommodation like the one offered by the Easy French Immersion School in Montpellier. In this article I will discuss the host family option and hopefully it will give you an insight into the experience so you can make an informed decision. Whatever you choose you are going to have an amazing time learning French in France, it’s an enriching and fun experience in any case.
Your French Immersion Will be Total – Language, Food and Family
When you first arrive to study French in Montpellier or wherever you choose this may seem a bit daunting but try not to panic. Those in audible sounds will soon become clear as day and the more time you spend with French speakers the quicker it will happen. Everyone has to go through a phase of not understanding anything as you are introduced to completely new sounds and sound patterns, your ears need time to adjust and notice things that will occur naturally. Like I said the more time you spend around French speakers the quicker this will happen so a host family is a huge asset here. You will hear things day in day out, it is quite an incredible feeling when you learn something on your French course and then you pick out the same thing being used by your hosts. What you learn is instantly applicable and relevant and you are not given the opportunity to let it linger unused in your mind gathering dust and fading.
One big factor to consider is the food. You have a great opportunity to learn about local cuisine when living with a French host family, even if you select to make your own dinners you still could potentially cook with your hosts every now and then. If you are eating with your hosts regularly you will be introduced to new and exciting food but also get to learn all the vocabulary that comes with it. This doesn’t stop in the house though, you may be lucky enough to go out for dinner with your host family at some point and who best to show you the best restaurants then the locals.
The insider knowledge into the area is another major advantage to living with a host family. They can help you find things you need or choose the best places to go whether it’s a bar to go for drinks one night or a decently priced pharmacy to go the day after.
A truly heart-warming thing about host families is how they take you in and make you part of the family. Communicating may be a bit tough now but it won’t be too long before you are getting involved in conversations or the grand debates that often grace the table at a French family dinner. In between those two things you’ll have so much fun as you say the wrong things from time to time. Gradually you’ll become more aware of the mistakes you make and when you literally translate what you just said an imagine a French student saying that to you in English it’s always a good source of amusement.
It’s not likely to just be the immediate host family you meet. Most probable is that you will meet extended family and friends too. You may not be aware but you are slowly creating a network of French natives that could be extremely beneficial to you. Primarily personally in terms of relationships but also practically. I assume that if you are learning French you will probably come back to the country from time to time and if you know people here already you are in a much better position. This is just one possible benefit of establishing a network in France but mainly they are going to help your French studies so much.
You will find that talking to French people every day who you are comfortable with and who know your French level is a lot easier and relaxing than talking to people you might meet otherwise. You can put to use things you learn on your French course immediately……as soon as you get home while it’s fresh. They will know you’ve done it and can start using that part of the language with you and just like that you have jumped up a step.
The main problem people have is that can be a bit overwhelming at first but this is all in your head. If you can persevere for just a little bit you will see results quickly in terms of your speed at learning French. After that your language studies will be supercharged and the personal rewards of becoming part of a French family are infinite. In my opinion it is the best way to learn French in France.