I love studying at my center so far. It is really lovely -- there are about 70 students studying in the center. I am at the level Advanced 2, which really came as a surprise to me, since it has been a long time since I've really spoken French.
I love the method of the center -- they really focus on activating your acquired knowledge. We go around the room and practice saying the same sentence over and over, but changing the pronouns and verbs. It sounds something like this?
(The professor hands out notebooks, but purposefully doesn't give one to one student).
-- Ok, does everyone have a notebook?
-- No, Student doesn't have a notebook.
-- Well what should we do about this? Let me take Student B's notebook and give it to Student A.
-- Student B -- No, that's not fair -- that's my notebook.
-- Elizabeth, whose notebook is it?
Me: It's the notebook of Student B.
Student C: It's her notebook.
Student D: It's hers.
Teacher: Well, what should we do about it. Maybe she can ask for her notebook back.
Student B: Student A, can you please give me my notebook back?
Teacher: What are other ways we can ask for something?
It sounds very easy in English -- but it's actually really hard! You have to always be on, and switching back between possessive and knowing direct and indirect pronouns. I definitely need the practice!
We also practiced just saying the alphabet, and practicing saying acronyms -- I'm sure that also sounds easy, but even that requires concentration to make sure you are saying the letter exactly right (especially since the J in English is pronounced like the English letter G...)
There are students from 17 different countries at the center, and a wide range of ages, from about 22 - 70. Lots of retired people, some who even live in France for their retirement, and now want to learn the language.
We also did a practical session today, to get practice introducing ourselves and asking questions about others. I'm surprised honestly that I'm at an advanced level, since I didn't really feel confident in my language, but I know that after only one day, I'm already getting better -- so definitely excited about the next 4 weeks.
Take aways: with language learning, it's always important to remember that we have a lot of "implicit" knowledge buried deep inside, but if we can't use it correctly, in context, fluidly -- then we don't truly "know" it. Activation is key!
Also, it's never too late to learn! I love that the program is not only for college students, but for such a wide variety of people from all over the world and at such different stages in their lives.