• GreenVoyage


Updated: Jun 29, 2020

How many years it took me to learn french, and what I did to finally make it happen.

As a native Spanish speaker with fluency in English, I thought learning French would be easy-peasy. So when I was in high school I made this the language of choice for graduation credits. I could read and pick up some words without studying because it sounded like a mix of Spanish and English. This boosted my language-steem (language + self-esteem) and made me think I didn't really need to study. WRONG.

I left high school not having much of a clue on how to speak french. I knew how to say the numbers 1-10, some of the alphabet and key phrases like "Bonjour," "Avoir," and "Merci."

When college came along I fell into the same trap, thinking that with my Spanish and English knowledge French would be easy. I figured that I just needed more time for the language to sink in.

I imagined waking up one day and a switch turning on in my head where all of a sudden I was a french speaker.

Marseille, France in 2014. The trip I realized that I knew no French.

After two years in basic French college level classes, I had added a few more key phrases to my repertoire like "Je m'appelle," (my name is) and "Comment allez-vous" (how are you).

I thought, how on earth did I learn English when I moved to the United States, if after 4ish combined years of French classes I am leaving knowing 4 sentences.


Motivation: I certainly did not have that in high school. Although in college I had semblances of it.

Timing: At my college prep high school, there were too many distractions. Between friends, sports, and my undiagnosed ADHD, homework was not a top priority. Once in college, I was focused on my major and the french class was the fun class I could see my friends at. Again, it became more about the social time than the actual learning.

Location, Location, Location: the reason it had been so easy to learn English when I was a kid is because I physically moved to the United States. If I wanted to have friends or understand what people were saying in school, I needed to learn the language. So if I really wanted to learn my third language, I had to revert back this method, immersion.

Enter: Sofi64, a French language school in Biarritz, France. Not only did Sofi have french classes, but they also had yoga, surf, and opportunities to stay with a real french family! I was sold.

Biarritz, France (2019)

This sounded like the perfect place! I researched feedback on other's experiences, looked into pricing, checked how much PTO I had left, and contacted the school to learn more. Within a few weeks, I had signed up, coordinated flights, time off and had information on my new family!

My Sofi64 classmates and surf group (2019)

I decided to sign up for the French & Yoga class package, and spent a total of three weeks in Biarritz. Once I was there, I had my class and yoga schedule. Even though I did not sign up for the surf package, I was still able to take surf lessons!

The experience truly was amazing, and I left France, actually being able to really speak French! Although I am not quite fluent, I can hold a conversation, understand people and feel comfortable traveling in France by myself.

To learn more about the details of my experience at Sofi64, check out my next blog!

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