First week back at school – Part Deux | Student Blog

We’re back with Alan, from Stratford upon Avon, Home of William Shakespeare. Alan is a young 57 year old student who has come to Rouen to learn French before a) embarking on a 1000 mile horse trek on the Route D’Artagnan through France and into Italy and b) with a view to living in France permanently. Read on to learn more about his first week as a student at FIN…


Salut, everyone! It’s now one week since I started at French in Normandy. I confess to being really tired at the end of each days lessons which seem to fly by. For the first time ever I have been able to understand NUMBERS in French! I always used to know how to count to about fifty, after that I could never work it out but I now know, understand and can calculate the numbers. That said, when you finally manage to understand how they build the numbers up in the language it seems very bizarre as an Englishman. Basically, they say for example; for seventy-seven – sixty plus seventeen! Which is soixante-dix-sept. Eighty is four times twenty – Quatre-vingt and ninety is four time twenty plus ten, in otherwords Quatre-vingt dix! I’ll let you work out what sixty nine is! Now I bet that has confused you all but our excellent Professeur, the slightly mad Viktor, makes it seem so normal and easy. Literally within one lesson I could understand and work out the numbers and even understand them when they were being said to me. Brilliant.

This week has also explained simple stuff like asking for someone’s email address and business card. Where they live? What they do for a living? Do they have a mobile number? Basically all the things you need when you want to start to exist and talk to someone in France.

What I think is very cool about the way we are taught is that it all comes mixed up within building the conversation. You learn to listen, to pronounce; then get to read it and then write it. By the time you have done that the phrases and words you have learned stay stuck in your brain without you realising it.

The best bit is that although Viktor has a structure to the lesson, if the students (étudiant(e)s en français) start to converse in French on a different subject he lets the subject run, interjecting and adding to our knowledge, using the internet in conjunction; to help us grow our vocabulaire and our comprehension. Just so unlike the school lessons I used to have!

I also went on a trip this week, with some of the students and a teacher, the lovely Christine, to Honfleur. It’s a beautiful port just thirty five minutes drive from Rouen. I had been there before years ago but going with fellow students and a French Professeur made it all seem slightly less like a tourist town. I’m sure I spotted some fellow Brits so I ducked my head and avoided eye contact and spoke French loudly so they didn’t recognise me as a brit as well. Nothing could be worse!

The weekend for me has been spent exploring a few French villages and enjoying very tasty French food and ‘les vins‘ – in the words of the advertisement – “le pain, du vins et le Boursin” except it was infinitely better local “fromages des pays“. All in all a very happy and satisfactory first week ‘en france‘. I’ll keep you posted next week.

Alan


Noël à French in Normandy | Dance like no one is watching

Nous avons passé un bon moment ensemble!

French in Normandy tien à remercier toutes les personnes qui nous ont rejoindre à l’école pour fêter cette saison magnifique!  Joyeux Noël et très bonnes fêtes de fin d’année ! 🎉


Dance like no one is watching

Danse comme si personne ne te regardait


1ST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL | Student Blog

This week we invite Alan, a mature student from England, to tell us a bit about his first week at French in Normandy as part of a series on our student blog.


I wouldn’t have said I was your archetypal student, but then according to Eleri Maitland the Director and owner of French in Normandy there is no such thing as an archetypal student. I am not surprised to hear her say this, as Eleri is not your archetypal French School Teacher! For a start off, the owner of the best French language school in France is not French! She is very proudly, une Femme Galloise vivant en France. (‘a Welsh woman living in France’ for those uninitiated amongst you. Look at me speaking French already!) Eleri started the school some 25 years ago and with her excellent team have landed the top prizes in their industry. I am lucky enough to be enrolled for 15 hours of French language tuition a week in their cool and slightly chic school in the Sotteville region of Rouen. Home of such notables as Jeanne D ‘Arc and Guillaume Le Conquerant. As an Englishman in Rouen (Is that the name of a Sting track?) I should feel at home, after all we were ruled and spoke Norman French in England for 200 years. Richard the Lionheart (Coeur de Lion, as in the Camembert Cheese brand) was also the Duke of Normandy, and its true I do feel very much at home.

Right from the beginning when I had my assessment test with the friendly Vanessa I was made to feel at home. I was a little nervous I must admit, after all I am a 57-year-old returning to school to study French, the last time I was in a classroom was 42 years ago!

First of all, Vanessa sat me down with a cup of coffee and asked me to tell her a little about myself, in French of course – both the question and my answer! Now here is the thing; the key point; the point of no return, the tingling moment that you have to ‘man-up’ to when you enrol in a French language school in France – you have to get over your nerves, forget about maybe sounding a bit silly and actually talk. Even if you only know the word for Hello (Bonjour) that is enough. You just have to get over that one little hurdle.

Fortunately for me I knew and somehow remembered a few words and promptly murdered the French language with what was probably the worst grammar and worst accent poor Vanessa and the rest of France has had to endure since God was a boy! She was polite, smiles a lot and gently helped me stagger through a few sentences about where I was from, what I did for a living and such like. Then when she could bear the terrible French anymore (not that she gave anything away) I was led to the ‘ Technologie‘ room, that is to say a room full of laptops and screens, where I was asked to answer as best I could about 30 multiple choice French questions. Some of them I couldn’t even say out loud to myself, some I kind of recognised a few words and pretty well all of them I didn’t understand a single word and, so I guessed. Amazingly I scored 42%. I was obviously a language natural, a linguistic god in the making.

Not quite, it turned out after my week end break on the first proper day of school I was in class B1. I think that means Beginner 1. C’est la Vie, what did I expect? Well I did not expect Victor! He is Le Professuer. Now in England Professor conjures up images of a bald bespectacled slightly serious old man in a cap and gown, not some wacky, football loving, video game playing family man with a rather cute line in Gold lame pencil cases. From the off, we were in good hands as he digressed almost immediately from the prescribed curriculum into some hilarious expedition into the habits, loves and life of a fellow student all the way from Sainata in Japan, whose passion in life turned out to be world-wide wrestling, or as the French say La Lutte. The Japanese sounding, part English part French explanation to our puzzled French Professeur had him and us in stitches. I do not remember my French lessons at school being this much fun.

The rest of the morning flew by and at one o’clock Victor called time for lunch, that is one habit the French do extremely well and should never ever be allowed to alter. President Macron do you hear me? The French lunch-break should be sacrosanct in law.

What made this first day so weird was not so much Victor’s très bizarre humour and methods but the fact that by the end of that first morning, somehow, he had achieved the impossible feat of squeezing more knowledge of the French language into my old and small brain that in four years at my old comprehensive school. The fact that not once, in a class room full of international students ranging from ages 18 to 58 did I feel unwelcome, out of place, stupid or embarrassed. It bodes well for the rest of the week. I’ll let you know.

Alan


 

French in Normandy Review: Mia & Sinead talk about studying French in Rouen

French in Normandy Review

Mia & Sinead are from Dublin, Ireland and are studying the French language at French in Normandy in Rouen before starting classes at a French lycée. In this video they talk about how studying at French in Normandy is helping them achieve their goals, which activities they like and what it’s like living with a French host family. Check out this French in Normandy review video.


DELF DALF Exam Preparation at French in Normandy

FRENCH IN NORMANDY

3D Dedicated DELF DALF Exam Preparation Course


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is our VERY special and unique in France exam preparation course of 25 hours per week including:

15 hours of general group lessons + 10 hours per week exam preparation workshops + free access to our daily language Clubs.

The morning classes (09:30 – 11:00 & 11:30 – 13:00) are devoted to improving general levels of vocabulary and structures, and working on basic oral skills and listening comprehension.

The afternoon sessions (14:00 – 16:00) are dedicated to mastering the complex exam techniques required by the French. Students will receive a personalised programme that concentrates on the areas where they feel they are weakest, typically the written expression exam and the oral exam. All 4 skills are covered, and each student has a mock oral test weekly with individual feedback.

Each student has a personalised progress and task chart where they can see what it is they have to do for every skill every week.

MATERIALS

We give students a DELF or a DALF preparation book on top of the ordinary French in Normandy grammar and exercise book that all students receive. The grammar part is important as many students have some basic problems with certain rules or lexicon, and they can be helped to eliminate these by using this part of their material.

In today’s world, most of our students arrive with a lap-top, smart phone or tablet, so we encourage students to put them to good use during their stay with us and to use these as an integral part of their personalised programme. By connecting to French in Normandy’s google drive, they can receive individually prepared worksheets, comments and engage with their teacher.

However, these tools are not obligatory, and students who come without such equipment are in no way penalized. Students can ask for a personalized programme on a USB stick or for paper versions of worksheets or whatever support suits them best.

EXAM LOCATION: Students take the exam in Rouen town centre with us at a training centre “Education and Formation” and results arrive around 5/6 weeks later.

REGISTRATION: French in Normandy publishes a calendar with all the exam and registration deadline dates for the year. The school can either do the registration for you (extra cost 60€), for example if the deadline is before your arrival or we can guide you how on do it on arrival.

You will need a copy of your passport or ID, 2 photos, a stamped addressed envelope (French stamps to the value of your home address) and black pens!

COURSE COSTS: (Examination fees/booking not included)

For 1-8 weeks: 330 € per week

For 9+ weeks: 319 € per week

Registration: 60 euros and Material fee: 110 euros

Special promotion: book 10 weeks or more and we will give you the exam free.

Courses run all year round starting any Monday, and the exam calendar is in the French in Normandy DELF DALF brochure enclosed.

CLASS SIZE: A maximum of twelve students.

ORAL TEST PREPARATION: Each student has a mock oral test every week with personalized feedback

LEVELS: Most of our DELF DALF students take B2 (15%) and C1 (12%) but we always have C2 (3%) and our results are excellent with a 97% overall pass rate in 2017.

Learn more or contact us to register.


Delf Online Course Enquiry

  • DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Choose your desired program option. Note that the DELF Blended program consists of an online portion followed by 4 weeks of in-class DELF exam preparation at French in Normandy.