Combined Course : One week
1 week in Paris (1)
I wanted to improve my French for work and I was looking for a teaching environment that was exclusively French so that I could use what I already knew (a good O’level plus some Adult Education classes of late), but was still hesitant to use in real situations. I also hoped to expand on this base, though accepted one week wasn’t long enough for a great deal of progress.
CESA staff were excellent. Giving me good advice both prior to and once I’d booked, and handled the whole process very efficiently.
I am lucky enough to have friends with an apartment in Paris, so that made the choice of location easier for me. I also work in the city quite often, so to gain first hand of Paris as a student, even for a week was attractive.
First impressions of the French language school in Paris were terrific. I love the building, which is very attractive. The French school staff and teachers were extremely nice and very approachable.
I was placed in a language class, after a short assessment of my level that was exactly right for me. The need to speak French all the time meant I made good progress forming simple phrases which actually communicated with others, rather than my usual efforts (trying to screen all sentences in my head for correct content, structure and grammar and finally never quite saying anything at all).
I liked the private lessons a lot and found them a good addition to the programme. Looking back I’m glad I didn’t opt for solely private lessons though, I feel this would have been too great a strain on my level of skill, but it was very beneficial to communicate one to one with a French tutor for two lessons a day, in French. The focus was totally on me, and really helped me gain in confidence, and gave plenty of opportunity to put my French into practise. Actually even the group work, with 5 students in my class (Dutch, American, Japanese, German and me) was challenging and required concentration, but at least there were times when the teacher’s attention was on another student! The group work also ensured we felt the camaraderie of a common cause – our attempts to grasp the convulutions of the French language weren’t always successful and our teachers had to patiently find alternative ways to get a point across. The joy felt by the group when we’d all mastered a particular point was a shared pleasure I hadn’t anticipated beforehand. Liked the way students were encouraged (pushed!) to explain or describe things or events in French to the class members, and thus had to learn to use what vocabulary we had.
Prior to the course I was concerned about the other students, and especially the age range but actually there was a great mix of people, nationalities and I’d guess our group were around 25yrs/45yrs of age (didn’t like to ask, so can’t be 100% sure of this)!
I was surprised at how readily the people I meet in Paris, out of class were prepared to let me practise my French on them. Once they realised that I didn’t want them to revert to English, there was far more encouragement than I’d have anticipated.
Plan to go again next year – hopefully for 2 weeks, work commitments permitting!