This year I took a 3 month sabbatical in the middle of June. I thought it was the right time to take more than 2 week vacation. I didn’t need to recharge batteries or conquer the world. All I wanted was to focus on something different. This summer was the perfect occasion to work on myself and stay once in my life somewhere for a longer term. I could have chosen any other French city but Paris will always be Paris. And let me tell you it is surprisingly culturally interesting, even at this period.
Well to be honest, I didn’t have any French classes in school. For 15 years I’ve been learning French on my own. The only problem was the method as I kept starting and stopping for several reasons every time. This creates automatically gaps and holes. I was able to follow a conversation but I did so many mistakes. Sometimes I could be very good at grammar, but so bad at conjugation. It always happened on a particular verb. I had this strange mix of capabilities. I also did one week intense program language school in NL before coming to. I used a language school to kick-start my B1 Level. Today, my tutors agree that I’m at a C1 level. With 5 sessions of 3h a week (Monday to Friday).
Goals: I wanted to be a C1 and I have reached my goal. My tutors gave me basics to reach C2 on my own. And to be honest, to move from B2 to C1 was difficult. It works only when you’re fully immersed. I read one book every week in French. I looked for any opportunity possible to speak and learn French. During my stay I went to to theater with friends and this is the perfect combination with the coursework.
You have to speak in French as much as possible. I used my own topics and my own stories to enhance my French. For example, I hate sports. That’s to say I don’t watch any games or play anything. And I’m not interested in learning the word referee, half-time etc. But for instance I love classical music, I’m a big fan of the Middle Ages and this is what has helped me and motivated me during each sessions. With a focus on my flaws and by using my favourites topics as a support, I would speak easily with my friends and family. By telling these stories, I would learn a targeted vocabulary quicker than when I talk to myself. Talking about politics, cultures, the difference between France and Germany, small talk conversation are very easy for me.
I was looking around for a while and I spoke with several language schools and tutors. In the end, FAYLI was the perfect educational school for me. You know, I first thought I would go to Berlitz or a huge language school. I contacted them and they basically sent me a catalogue – here are our courses, please book with us… I’m not stopping 3 months of work for this! I decided I would look myself for a tutor. The idea was to find a teacher for 3 months. It means committing to one person who would get to know me, and would know my weaknesses. I Skyped with several people, but you never have this guarantee it will work out. You can have very individual courses. What will you do after 2 week?
FAYLI made the difference, perfect combination and personalized program. It is important to have an intermediary school who does the organization of the content and create the program that is exactly tailored to your needs. Marguerite, the founder of FAYLI said it was not a good idea to have 1 tutor, but to work with 2 or 3 teachers. It’s important to have several methodologies. And it seems they understood what I’m looking for. You can have EXACTLY the course you wish to have. They guide you and help you during your progress. There’s an administration that’s quite important.
For me, the combination of intense grammar. French is very different from German. English is a closer language than French. In French, if you don’t understand the grammar you can’t pronounce a sentence correctly. I just want to be able to have conversation over lunch. It’s much more a language that works in the head. I like that they follow this idea of having these intense grammar sessions. I’m not interested in speaking 80% – the mixture of that, grammar and attacking the vocabulary side of it.
In the first week, I started downloading television series. If you compare that to movies and cinema, the language that is spoken is much more current. The idea is to show how people really talk. In movies there’s much clearer pronunciation. The TV series: C’est pas c’est pas ca reflect the Story about catholics/bobos. They disagreed about how to raise children. There are 7 seasons – I watched it all. At beginning I understood 40% which is enough to laugh and to follow the main story. At the end, there was a point I knew I was understanding everything, even the sound, the little words that you don’t learn in school. To understand that in French was an exhilarating moment.
Where to you learns like “Eh, oh!” Mastered the expressions and could discuss this the next day. Was really an enriching experience.
I would say:
a) It’s definitely a good choice because you have a wide range of teacher and they’re good at finding the right one. They’re very creative, extremely creative at making a lesson count, you go to AF, you’ll sit in a room with others and speak about whatever’s on the schedule.
They adapt to your needs grammatically and vocabulary. They have many ideas about how to “unbore” these lessons. Twice a week I wouldn’t be at school, but visiting a museum or the auction house. In the auction house you see many things, you describe them. If you don’t know what this means, you’ll remember them more easily. One of the best things was going to BHV Marais, at the basement. Huge add. – If bricolage was a religion, I’ll pray at BHV. It was really interesting and I Spent two hours looking at stuff. They always came up with a creative way of making it stick.
b) Don’t be afraid to know and say what you’re looking for even a few weeks into the program. Nothing is fixed. They will come up with a schedule and they’ll change it if needed. It is your choice. If you think you need small learning group. Then go for it.
Rethink also – is this what I need right now? Discuss with the tutors and then come up with the exact program to fulfill your individual needs.
by Samia Timol
We are excited to share the French language success story of one of our students, James. James, who hails from Australia, arrived in Paris in 2014, unable to handle basic transactions in French or hold a conversation. But thanks to FAYLI that has changed…
My wife Lily and I moved to Paris from New York City in August 2014 after my wife received a job transfer. Lily is Parisian and her family is here, so it felt like a good move for us…except that I spoke hardly any French.
Why I chose French Lessons with French As You Like It
As part of my wife’s transfer, I was entitled to have a year’s worth of French lessons. So, when we arrived, I started Googling “private French lessons in Paris” and came up with FAYLI. The structure of the classes and flexibility appealed to me, so I signed up for trial lesson to see what it was like. And I thought it was great!
After my trial lesson, I learned that my wife’s company only paid for lessons with one specific French language school, not FAYLI. But I enjoyed my trial lesson with FAYLI so much – and the teacher that I had worked with, Blandine – that I decided to go ahead and continue taking lessons with them. Now I study both with FAYLI and the other organization, even though I pay for FAYLI lessons on my own.
What I Like Best About My FAYLI Lessons
My lessons with Blandine are mainly conversational, which is perfect for me. We spend a good chunk of the lesson talking about our respective weeks. This is probably my favorite part of the lesson, as one of my main goals is to improve my conversational skills. She’s extremely patient with me, which I appreciate since I don’t have a lot of time to study outside of class and forget some of the things we discuss.
I also like that Blandine writes down any concepts or words I’m having trouble with during the lesson on a separate sheet of paper. It’s helpful because I can file these papers and use them for revision. That was one thing that made me decide that I wanted to pay for lessons with her even though I had the free ones.
How I’ve benefited from lessons with FAYLI
Thanks to my lessons with FAYLI, I’m definitely progressing, although only now am I beginning to get any real speed in my learning. That’s because when I first started my lessons, I was overwhelmed with the move, having a new job and living in a new country. But I see myself reaching my goal to be conversant within the next year or two.
Already, I’ve been happy to engage in some decent conversations in French at parties with my wife’s friends. And now I can handle myself around in Paris so much better!
For example, when we first arrived, my poor wife had to handle all the red tape and administration of the move to Paris. I couldn’t help at all. But recently, we had some important things we needed to send by post and I was able to communicate fully in French all the things we needed to the post office workers. I was so proud to successfully navigate that transaction. I couldn’t have done that last year. I’ve definitely got more confidence speaking in public because of my lessons with FAYLI.
Why I recommend lessons with FAYLI French As You Like It is a great class, especially if you want something tailored to your needs and schedule. Out of all the places I investigated, French As You Like It seemed the most willing to suit your timetable. They’ll even go to your apartment. I definitely recommend it for someone who needs flexibility with work or family life.
Also, it’s more personal than other schools. With FAYLI, I always work with Blandine. I can tell her my needs and she can monitor my progress. It’s all tailored for me.
I really like that.
Want to take a private French class tailored just for you? Contact us today!
by Marie Vicarini
We are delighted to share the success story of one of our former students, Liam Connell. Liam, a retired trader living in Chicago, took private French lessons in Paris twice a week with French As You Like It at the beginning of 2013. It thrills us that he found his lessons so enjoyable and beneficial, and that, as he says: “Thanks to French As You Like It, I felt like a Parisian instead of a tourist.” Here’s Liam’s story!
At the beginning of 2013, I spent three months in Paris with my wife and 18-year old daughter. I was excited about to this trip for many reasons but in particular, I was looking forward to learning to speak French. I’d learned French in school some 34 years before and could read and write in French proficiently, but I couldn’t really converse in it.
Why I Chose Lessons with French As You Like It
As soon as I arrived in the city, I started researching French tutoring programs in Paris. I called numerous schools and programs but I was by far most impressed with Marguerite and French As You Like It. During our initial phone call, Marguerite and I had a really intelligent conversation – in French – about what I wanted out of the lessons. She demonstrated a genuine interest in my goals and commitment to achieving them that I just didn’t sense in the other schools I’d spoken with. I knew then that I wanted to take lessons with FAYLI.
What My Lessons Were Like
Shortly after that conversation, I began taking lessons twice a week with both Marguerite and Marion. Marguerite knew that I didn’t want lessons in grammar, as I already had a grasp of that. What I wanted was to practice having conversations in French about French politics and culture, which is just what we did and I greatly enjoyed.
Marguerite was good at ensuring I was not lazy in my pronunciation, and even made me translate my verbal tics into French ones. (I would say “so….” and she would correct me with “donc…”!) It was quite amusing in the way she would keep me focused – sometimes by tapping me lightly on the head with her pencil every time I made a repeated mistake!
I was also interested in learning common phrases and sayings that a French person would say, and Marion spent a lot of time working with me on those. Learning these phrases helped me to sound more Parisian and gain confidence when in French conversations.
How I Benefited From French As You Like It
It was really important to me to feel that I fit into Paris. Thanks to FAYLI, I felt like a Parisian instead of a tourist. My teachers made me feel more confident and relaxed. I had great and funny conversations with shopkeepers, taxi drivers and people I met in cafés and on the public tennis courts. I also was able to understand the current affair TV programs that were on every TV channel every night. I became part of the community that endlessly analyzed the French malaise!
Why I Recommend French Lessons with FAYLI
Learning another language is a major commitment. Use every resource to immerse yourself in the French language. There are many resources, particularly online, to help you do that. But nothing can replace the need to practice speaking, listening and understanding French. FAYLI is the best resource I know for helping in this regard.
If you’re interested in taking French lessons with FAYLI, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help you achieve your dreams of speaking French!