French course options: Intensive course or long-term course?
“I am a very busy person, but my dream is to learn and speak French”
Does this sentence sound familiar to you? Before even starting a French course, it is important for you to know if an intensive or a long term course will finally help you reach your goals in speaking French. In this article, I’ll share my experience as a language learner in order to help you make a decision on which one will suit you better. Intensive and long-term French courses are both amazing and with either of them, you’ll enjoy beautiful results.
My experience with intensive language classes
I have taken several intensive language courses – the last one I took was 4 years ago when I studied Hebrew. Yes, Hebrew! Am I Jewish? No! Is my husband Jewish? Neither! I wanted to challenge myself as an adult and study a beautiful and challenging language.
I studied Arabic in 2007 and I thought Hebrew would be very interesting. I found myself in a classroom of the Tel Aviv University for 6 weeks. The crowd in the group class was very diverse. Among the crowd were teenage boys who understood everything in no
time and a retired French man who was believed to know everything in life. Surprising, huh?. The crowd of the course and the challenge of catching up with the younger people were absolutely amazing.
What I like the most about the intensive course:
● The rhythm is stimulating and challenging
● Results are faster
● You will reach the next level within a short period of time.
What are the negative aspects of the intensive course?
● It goes too fast and you may not have time to catch up. This happened to me in Tel Aviv; I ended up studying the whole afternoon and didn’t enjoy the city as much as I wanted.
● You may end up a bit fed up with the language.
● You have to block 4 or 5 weeks just for the course.
● Sometimes, not always, you have to hang out with people you don’t get along with very well for 4 or 5 weeks. It can be very long.
My experience with long term training
As I can’t take 5 weeks break every year to learn a language anymore, I’ve also experienced long-term/slow pace course. At 33, I decided to accomplish my dream to go to Brazil for a month. Before going there, I checked different options to learn Portuguese. I, of course, wanted to attend an intensive course but couldn’t find the time for it. As a private French teacher myself with a crazy schedule, the only possibility for me to learn Portuguese with good results was with a private tutor. There are many websites out there to find private teachers but the best place to find private teacher, in my opinion, is by far Instagram! I was exploring some great account to learn Brazilian Portuguese when I discovered Virginia. I knew private classes and long term placement would be the most adapted option to my lifestyle. We started in August and in late December I was on the plane heading to Brazil for 5 weeks.
Which one of the classes (intensive or long term) is more suitable to your needs?
The main difficulty adults experience is the ability to think about what’s more convenient for their needs and purposes. You have to choose for yourself, not for your partner or your job but only you. Learning French is not an immediate process. Unfortunately, you can’t go on Amazon and buy your French classes and receive them within two days. Even if you buy a textbook, you’ll still need time to process it.
The main questions to ask yourself if you need a short or long term training are as follow:
● Do I need to speak French urgently? If yes, why? What is the emergency?
● How can I commit to this project? Am I able to attend a course on a weekly basis for a few months?
● Do I want to compress my time and study it for a few weeks in a row?
● Do I want to implement a routine?
As I mentioned earlier in this article, in both cases i.e intensive French course and long term course), the results are there. Based on my experience and my life today, I would rather choose a private French course once a week.
What type of French course do I recommend for you?
If you have the opportunity to attend an intensive French course, go for it. I highly recommend it for beginner and false beginner level especially group intensive courses. The group effect will challenge your learning and it can be a good catalyst to help you get the basics. Once you reach a nice level, don’t forget to continue to practice with locals, listen to podcasts or read. If you can’t practice on your own, go and find some private French teachers and take at least one class every two weeks to keep your progress.
On the other hand, if you would like an intensive French course with a private teacher, I don’t recommend attending classes longer than 3 hours on a daily basis. It will be too much for you, your teacher and more importantly your brain.
If you can’t attend an intensive course for whatsoever reasons (the list is too long to mention them), I recommend you to attend a long-term placement course. In long-term placement course, you attend a course once or twice a week for at least 6 months. Results will be slower, obviously, but I guarantee 1000% that if you attend a class once a week, within a month, you will already appreciate the results. Private courses are easier to squeeze in your schedule and healthier in terms of pressure and stress to reach results as you learn and study at your own path.
Of course, if you think that only attending or paying for classes without re-read and work a little on your own will give you results, you’d better not even start learning French.
I hope I’ve helped you in finding the right pace for your learning.
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