Monday, April 7, 2014

Institut de français


Oh the French language. Everything just sounds musical and romantic in French. Even the simplest phrases sound dreamy like "foux du fafa".

In my opinion French is one of the most beautiful languages to grace the human tongue, but also the most difficult to learn! As a Californian native, the language I learned in school was Spanish. Not helpful when living in France. So I decided to take drastic measures. I enrolled in an 8.5 hour a day, 5 day a week, 4 week total immersion language intensive course, the INSTITUT DE FRANÇAIS. The fact that the Instiut happened to be on the Cote D’Azur a.k.a., the French Riviera (one of the most beautiful places I have ever spent time) in a charming village called Villefranche-sur-Mer didn't hurt (more on Villefrance-sur-Mer later, it deserves its own post).

Views from the Instiut (which is a converted Villa)
After two weeks at the Instiut my French improved so much, I enrolled for a second month spending a total of 8 weeks in the Institut (February and March). What I took away from the school is invaluable and I have been speaking/using French every day since I have been back to Paris (and using it correctly!)

My classroom the second month
The French immersion language course is aimed for professional adults who want to acquire rapidly fluency in French. The Institut, which was founded in 1969, aims to develop a natural speaking ability by using a unique concept, the “Total Approach”, which combines audio-visual methods with practice and real-life sessions in a “French-only” speaking environment. 

The teaching method used is what the institute calls “Diversified French Immersion”, where the student goes through a variety of linguistic activities throughout the day so as to approach spoken French from all angles and in all types of situations. The situations range from audio-visual class, language lab, games, films, songs, to making up a TV commercial, role playing in everyday or professional situations, the discussion-lunch with a teacher, evening outings with teachers, etc.

The language lab, i.e labo (at first you hate it then you grow to love it...well...not everyone learns to love it...)
The teachers are absolutely brilliant, full of energy, patient and come from diverse and interesting backgrounds. Although all teachers are native French speakers, most of them speak several languages. Because the school is for adults, (ages ranging from early 20’s all the way to 90!) you meet some of the most accomplished and interesting people from around the world! The experience Institut de français offers goes beyond the classroom and what you walk away from is a very rich life experience. The course is far from cheap, but I definitely think it is worth every penny.  

This is Margie. She is amazing and she is 90 years old. She has been coming to the Institut from San Antonio Texas for the past 30 years because she loves the language.

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