Saturday, 25 August 2012

French Course

Alpha.b French Course Trip to Antibes.
So I went back to Nice, France for our two week shut down at work. I did think briefly about staying home, but i could not watch the Olympics on TV knowing that they were so close to home and i was unable to get tickets. So as a distraction i took a two week French course in Nice at the Alpha.b language school.

I have been wanting to learn another language for years, and have had several attempts at learning French in the past, at school, at night class and off the Internet. In my attempts i had picked up hundreds if not thousands of French words, but i just could not put them together or pronounce them in a French ascent.

The course was brilliant, we were placed into small groups of around 6-9 students after a placement test on day 1. The class had such a mixture of nationalities, there were Italians, Austrians, Swedes, Germans, Slovakians and Japanese and me the only Brit. Our teacher Priscilla was French and the class was conducted entirely in French. I was very sceptical before i started this course that i could learn this way, but the lessons were put together so brilliantly. If we did not understand Priscilla would just keep on explaining in French and actions until we got it. And i did, most of the time.

I started off the week at a very basic level, and left the class each day with a huge mental list of things that i needed to look up. At the beginning of the week this was as basic as 'What is a Verb?'. In my years and years of schooling, grammar is a subject that i have managed to avoid with pleasure. When i went to school it was not really part of the curriculum, but it was thought that if you read then you would pick it up naturally. Which is true to some extent, but if you are learning another language being able to define a verb, noun and adjective is kind of important.

One of the rare photos of me.
My plan was to go to school in the mornings and use my afternoons to explore the South of France. Humm well that did not really happen. I mentioned the Olympics above! I love the Olympics. Its two weeks every four years that i am glued to my TV. Swimming, Cycling, Table Tennis, Diving, Archery is never so addictive as when it is at the Olympics. So my hostel had a TV and i spent many guilty hours watching what i had left the country to get away from. I did get out though, i did day trips to Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Villefranche and Eze Village but not as much as i would have liked. 16 nights in Nice and i never got to the big cathedral that is on all the pictures.

So after my two weeks in France, i can now understand a tiny bit of French and have a better idea about how to move forward with learning French. Now is the hard part, keeping it up. Its so easy when you are going to French lesson in France everyday, but at home there are so many distractions and know body to practise with. I can already feel it slipping away.

Oh the food!

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