April 21, 2017

Francophile Friday (n°2): Coffee Break French

Bonjour, and happy Friday! Today's Francophile Friday is for language learners or anyone trying to follow through with a goal. 

In 2017 I have really been focusing on three main goals:

1. Exercise (or I like to say "move mindfully") every day.
2. Make time to read every day.
3. Study the French language (even if it's just un petit peu) every day. 

I chose these goals because they felt manageable, and because these specific goals aligned perfectly with my intentions to feel well, continuously learn, and pursue my passions. 

I've found that the first two goals have fit into my lifestyle fairly naturally. I walk my errands whenever I can and a attend yoga class 1-2 times per week. I love to read while sipping my morning coffee and before I fall asleep at night. But the French language goal I quickly realized was going to require a little more thought and effort. (By the way, I don't always get all of these things done every day. When I do, I feel incredible, but I also don't beat myself up if I don't. Every day is the vision and I maintain that vision, but I am also real about the fact that sometimes life just happens.) 

I leave for a three week European adventure two months from Monday, and this adventure includes 5 nights in my beloved Paris. My dream and reason for studying the French language (now for almost nine years in total) is to travel to France and truly feel a part of the culture. How better to do that than to parler français

I attend a French class at the Alliance Française de St. Louis every Tuesday, and usually devote two or three afternoons to mes devoirs, but that still leaves about half the week sans français. I know that the best way to learn is to practice - to speak, to listen, to read. These things won't happen naturally here in St. Louis, Missouri unless I really dedicate myself. With two months to go, what better time than now? 

Starting Monday, I am going to begin incorporating a wonderful language learning podcast, Coffee Break French (there is also a Spanish, German, Italian and Chinese version), into my every day routine. I love the podcast route because it removes most opportunities to make excuses. I can listen when I'm getting ready in the morning, as I am driving to and from work, as I am on my afternoon walk, as I am prepping dinner... I know I can make this work with my daily routine (as long as I am intentional). 

Coffee Break French features engaging host Mark and fellow French language learner, Anna. Listening provides opportunities to pick up new vocabulary, brush up on grammar, hear proper pronunciation, practice listening skills, and even speak (if you aren't self conscious about looking a little silly while you are essentially talking to yourself ;-)...)

As I have several years of studying under my belt, I don't plan to begin with season 1, episode 1 (though a good review never hurts). After scanning the episode content with my current level in mind, I have decided to begin with season 2, episode 21. I should be able to finish season 2 (beginners - I want some review to polish my skills) and season 3 (intermediate) by the time we board the plane in June. I will keep you posted on my progress. It's time to commence!

Are you a language learner? How do you make intentional time to study and learn a second language? I would love to hear about your journey in the comments. 

Des souhaits chaleureux de moi à vous,

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