One of the fundamental lessons in life is communication. We have needs to be met and one being social creatures; we have a need to socialize with those around us. A child learns the tongue of its caregivers and as they grow, they start to pick up words and phrases of those from their ever-expanding environment. When we change our milieu, albeit, even within the same country we learn new phrases, accents and inflections. When we relocate to a place that speaks a very different language, our experience is often germane to how we decide to integrate what we know with our new surroundings and the level we choose to embrace it. We come to France with varying levels of French at our command. Many have had a year of French in high school and in some cases, even earlier.
In larger towns or cities, The Office of Tourism can direct you to a number of schools for learningFrench. Additionally, you can find numerous private instructors or those conducting small groups. There are organizations that promote French Culture such as Leo Lagrange. They often have books and dvd’s that can be checked out. Often they have groups within the organization such as painting classes, dancing or lectures as well as offering courses in French.
In this little village (pop: 700) there is a Cours Française. It took someone who wanted to learn to canvas the village to see if there were others wanting to learn. Once that was ascertained, requests were made to the Village Association. Volunteer teachers were recruited from the village, a resounding success, and then a planning meeting with future students to gage the level of instruction required. In the Corbieres there are two classes, beginning and advanced. Since there are several smaller villages nearby, the classes are open to them as well.
The photos are from the party held by the students thanking the teachers and celebrating the end of the first year. While the class got a late start, spring, we were eager to return in October. Classes often start late due to the vendange (grape harvest). This particular group helps students from a variety of countries and a variety of languages. The desire to learn and excellent, dedicated teachers go a long way to overcome any obstacles.
Learning the language and customs allows us to make the most of this
magnificent opportunity. It allows us to really be a part of our new community and give back to our new country and village.