I’ll be the first to admit that I sympathise with people when they say that they find French study difficult or boring. I can still remember life almost ten years ago when I was preparing for my French Junior Certificate exam. Unfortunately, most memories consist of me attempting to learn EVERYTHING in my French book with a relative lack of success. If you can relate to this- please stop immediately. Over a third of the book won’t appear on your exam so stop wasting your time. Click here for help on what to prepare for the aural exam, or click here to prepare for the written ones.
I was always extremely interested in French culture, but our dial-up internet connection unfortunately didn’t lend itself to much French research. I’m almost 90% sure that the Mary-Kate and Ashley Passport to Paris film accounted for much of my French culture knowledge in my Junior Certificate exam.
Thanks to the internet, I’ve since found more enjoyable ways to immerse myself in French. Here are a few ideas:
1) Changing your Facebook to French
It sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly effective. Changing your Facebook to French forces you to encounter new vocabulary and generally cope in the target language. You can “aimer des photos” or “se faire des amis.” Really easy and worthwhile!
2) Following blogs in French
See this post for some ideas.
3) Listening to French Youtubers/ radio stations:
This is something that I picked up on Erasmus and still something that I do frequently. Read here for my favourites.
4) Reading Tripadvisor/ Yelp in French
This may sound like a strange one, and is more aimed towards university learners. When I spent time in France I found that most of the reviews for restaurants were written in French, so I was forced to actually use my French knowledge to translate them. It’s something that I still do- it’s a really great way to pick up more casual French that definitely comes in useful if you’re living in the country. Read some of the reviews for the five star hotels in Paris to be whisked to another world in French!
5) Sign up to “mot du jour” emails
These are really useful for expanding your vocabulary. Sign up here.
6) Speak to yourself in French
I do this subconsciously from habits created during my Leaving Cert! While I’m not suggesting having a full on conversation with yourself in French (not loudly, at least…), do try to incorporate simple phrases into your daily life. An example is “je mange” to say what you’re eating at mealtimes. Try to translate your favourite songs into French- it doesn’t have to be word perfect, but work on as many verbs and vocab as you can! Unless it’s the Macarena.