If you plan to move to France, you should probably consider learning the French language in order to be able to hold a conversation with your neighbours. The French are notoriously known for not speaking great English and this will often be the case if your new property is in the heart of the countryside. It is wise to learn some basic skills before going so you can have a chat with your new neighbours. The best way to integrate yourself with the locals will always be by learning French. The more effort you put in to learn the language the better the locals will appreciate you and you will feel more settled, sooner.
Unfortunately, Brits are famous for being lazy when it comes to learning foreign languages as English has become the most spoken language in the world. And despite the emergence of numerous English words in the French language (le parking, le week end, le chewing gum…) the language still remains a bit of a mystery for most. However every year more and more Brits are managing to learn French, with several methods out there to help you:
– The total immersion method : Consists in only speaking the foreign language and avoiding the use of the mother tongue as much as possible
– Language classes: Ideal to both socialize and improve your language skills but effective only if there aren’t too much people from your own country.
– Speaking with your neighbours : becoming friends with a local will help you to learn all the more useful words in French
– Watching French television: This will help you remember some sentences and expressions; however it is only really effective if you already have a basic level of understanding. If it’s your first experience with the language you might need some lessons before watching TV to then be able to fully understand it.
The “total immersion” is trendy at the moment but could be risky as it can turn into a very bad experience if you don’t succeed. Attending language classes is maybe the more secure in terms of integration but not as effective as “total immersion”. The key is to find an appropriate course without too many people and with a French teacher who has good English skills in order to properly explain all the subtleties of the language.
In the countryside, French people might speaks as fast as a TGV train and therefore it could be useful to learn such phrases as “pouvez-vous repeter s’il vous plait?” which means “could you repeat please” – or “comment dit-on cela en Francais”? Which signifies “What is the equivalent in French for this?”
If these sorts of sentences are used on a daily basis, you will start to see a huge improvement in your French vocabulary.
The neighbourhood can play an important part to help you improve your French speaking. Consequently, it could be wise to choose your property and also consider your neighbourhood. For example this property in a nice neighbourhood might help you to feel more at home.
If you feel you can improve your French speaking without necessarily being within immediate proximity of French neighbours, this house in a calm area might better suit your aspirations.