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Language Learning in Paris

Samia Khatoon, a BSc History student went to Paris and attended a French language course with Alliance Francaise thanks to funding from Santander Universities. Read her blog below.

For my placement abroad, I completed a language course at Alliance Francaise in Paris for four weeks. It was always a dream of mine to learn French and to experience studying in Paris and I was able to do that through this opportunity. I first heard of Alliance Francaise from a careers advisor at Goldsmiths who recommended this school for learning French. From that point, I did my own research and read reviews from other students which finally made me decide to choose

Three people smiling at the camera

this for my opportunity abroad.  My time at Alliance Francaise went fantastically, I not only learnt French and improved my level, I also made wonderful friends. The best part for me was that I learnt French but also learned about the culture and history of Paris. This was primarily through visiting museums, walking the streets, visiting bookstores and cafes. 

During my time in Paris, my daily routine was quite simple. I would start my day by running along Eiffel tower from close to the ground looking upthe Seine with a view of the Eiffel tower. I would then pass by a boulangerie and have a breakfast of a croissant and espresso and head to classes. Once my classes were finished, I would meet up with friends and explore Paris. This was quite different from my routine at home as my days were definitely much busier and more beautiful in Paris. I also wanted to make the most of my time in Paris so I attempted to visit a different part of the city each day. Despite my wonderful time in Paris as is the case with anyone travelling abroad alone, I did have some challenges. A major one was the language barrier. Though there were many people that spoke English, there were also many who didn’t. It was quite difficult to navigate at first as it made simple things such as asking for directions or ordering at a café a bit trickier. However, I quickly became accustomed and with the help of my classes began to pick up on simple sentences such as ‘ou est’ which translated to where is.   

I gained a number of things from my time abroad. In terms of my personal, I learnt how it was toOutside of a book store live alone in a different country, experienced speaking another language and how it was to accustom yourself to a new country. Academically, I learnt about the history of Paris which as a history graduate was particularly fascinating as I went from learning about certain monuments in the classroom to being able to see them in person. In regard to my professional, I am now one step closer to becoming bilingual and working in publishing as it is a great skill to have especially when meeting authors from other countries. I’ve also have always wanted to work in Paris and having improved my French from my time at Alliance Francaise means that in the future it is possible. My top tip for students going abroad is to do your research and to really make the most of every opportunity whilst your abroad. Whether that is accepting an invite from a new friend or going to the events hosted by your organisation, it will make your experience much richer.