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Iwould like to share my tip with you for British expats making the move to France. Like a lot of expats, my wife and I had only a tenuous grasp of French when we arrived in France (and that’s being generous). But, how to make French friends without speaking their language? Of course we took classes in French and studied our grammar, but the real key was finding language partners.
A language partner is someone who is trying to learn your language while you are trying to learn theirs. They will be very patient with you as you make mistakes because they are probably making the same ones. For that reason it is important to find someone whose level in English is about the same as your level in French.
It works best to focus on one language at a time – having a conversation in French for a while and then switching to English.
I found that meeting once or twice a week, for an hour or so, really accelerated my learning. And, even better, most of my language partners became friends, helping me to integrate into my local community.
How to find a partner? I’ve found them in different ways – inquiring at a local language school, at the tourist office, at the butcher’s (yes, really!). There is also a website you can use called mylanguageexchange.com.