“What must be done must be done. Faced with adversity, we generally tap into the deepest parts of our potential and motivation to find a way out. We’re never more motivated to learn DIY than when we buy our first apartment. Because of the high cost of renovation work, we sometimes have no other choice than to learn how to use a hammer and a driller and get down to work to save a few quids.
That’s exactly the same for languages. The reason why total immersion on the French Riviera is so interesting is because you get exposed to situations which force you to use French.
If you’re not yet on the French Riviera, we’ve got a piece of advice to help you stay motivated to learn French : create yourself some problems !
Create yourself some problems
As we introduced in past articles, practising French is the best way to become fluent. To some of you, it may seem easier than to others; your job or an expatriation give you the best conditions to put your learning into practice.
Each time you’re stuck in a situation, it forces you to find a way out in French : a job interview, a visit to the doctor, French-speaking clients at work, talking to your children’s teachers …
However, what happens when we’re learning a language for future plans but can’t use it straight away; or when there’s absolutely no way for you to use the language?
With digital technologies, it’s easy to find opportunities to speak French; online language exchanges, webinars, social network opportunities or what have you.
Wherever in the world you are, you’ll always have someone to talk to and ways to use the language.
Once you’ve found the motivation, the people to practice with and are ready to start, it’s time to challenge yourself, or in other words to create yourselves problems to solve. For example:
“In two weeks from now, I want to be able to introduce myself in French in any situation: formal, informal, business…” Then, try to find a context to put this into practice. Find a few language partner. Join a webinar and introduce yourself in French in the introduction forum of your favourite website, join or create a social network community and introduce yourself in French to the rest of the users…
“Next time I go to the restaurant, I want to be able to understand the menu and communicate with the waiter in French only”.
“By the end of the month, I want to be able to explain to my language partner, in French, my motivations to learn French.
Any excuse is good enough as long as it creates a link between theory and practice, that is to say, between what you’ve been learning in the resources and real-life practice.
In addition to this, we strongly encourage you to challenge yourself with situations you’re likely to face in the future.
We’re curious. What would be for you the best way to put your language skills into practice? How do you challenge yourself to speak French? Please share your ideas and strategies in the comments below.
Of course, Expatlang’s experts are always available to help you find the best practice opportunities wherever you are. If you’re interested, please contact us for more details.