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Living France - - WHAT'S NEW - Keith Van Sickle Provence

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.

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