My review of a language school in Paris - L'Atelier 9
I have just completed my first month ever learning French! I went to Paris for four weeks and attended an intensive course at L'Atelier 9, which is a language school in the centre of town.
It was a great experience, and I thought that some of you might be interested in how it went.
If you're thinking about taking some time off to learn in-country, then here is what I thought of my school:
I went over there literally not even knowing how to say my own name in French, and after the four weeks, I managed to make a video 100% in French! Here's a link to that video:
I would love to hear what you guys all think. Let me know! I'm currently travelling for 12 months learning languages and I love making videos like this. Let me know if there is anything else you'd like to see, or topics you think would be fun to cover.
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here:
Congrats! I am a native French speaker, and I have watched your French video. It was very easy to understand you, and your pronunciation is not bad at all -- 'at all' is 'du tout' in French, by the way, and 'not bad at all' ('pas mal du tout') is a compliment where I live, in Normandy. :)
I think you can become fluent with a good accent in little time. A few things to fix, of course, but nothing serious. Go easy on the Picon Bière, maybe. ;)
The French word for 'joke' is 'blague' (more formally: 'plaisanterie'), not 'drôle' (which means 'funny'); you may have confused with 'histoire drôle' ('funny story') which can mean 'joke' but only when it is a story.
Also, you could have said 'page' (FR, pronounced the French way) for 'page' (EN; where do you think the English got that word from?), instead of 'feuille', which means 'piece of paper, sheet'.
Anyway, you have managed to make a video in French that any French person can understand entirely. Great job!
Great review. I'm also impressed with your French language video. To go from being an absolute beginner to producing a video like that in only four weeks is quite an achievement.
Am I to assume that the cost of the program for four weeks was inclusive of only the 20 weekly hours of instruction plus the one extra-curricular activity and that accommodation and meals were your own responsibility?
Thanks! I really appreciate that :)
And that's correct. It was 920 EUR for the course, but I arranged my own accommodation etc. L'Atelier 9 will help arrange this for you, but it's not something I could review!
Personally, I stayed in an AirBnB apartment, which was in a great location and meant I could practise French with my host. It was 950 EUR, but cheaper options were certainly available. I then also think it's reasonable to budget about 20 EUR a day for food / drink. (This assumes some meals out during the week, but mainly buying supermarket food and cooking yourself).
Total comes to around 2,400 EUR, but it could be done for less if you don't mind drinking less alcohol (very expensive in Paris) or living in a slightly smaller apartment.
A private tutor is always a great option - you get personalised lessons and the course would move at exactly your pace.
For me, it's just so much cheaper to join a class that it made a lot of sense to me. You also get the social element, which is really fun. I spent most afternoons with my coursemates and it really helped to make the whole thing a great experience.
It's up to you / your budget / your priorities really!
Your French video on what you did during L'Atelier really gave me confidence on my listening skills - I could understand with a bit of help from your subtitles. I can't understand much when I hear French natives speak! I noticed that you spell out the pronunciation of the French words. Is that how you were taught in L'Atelier? Does it help? And how different or useful is the course on Duolingo? Sorry if I asked too much!
I usually write out the pronunciation of a word at least one time to help me get the accent correct. It's something I've always done when new to a language, and I'm actually doing this less and less now because it is coming to me more naturally. I wouldn't do it at all in German, for example, because I'm happy that I have an ok accent.
Duolingo is very different to a course with a teacher. I want to make a video about this actually, but the main thing for me is the grammar/vocab split:
On Duo, you learn 100s of words and phrases and because you are asked to repeat them in new contexts, you retain them really well. Duolingo is excellent for learning vocab.
In a course with a teacher, the focus is on creating your own sentences and phrases. To do this, you need a good grasp of grammar, and vocab is less important. I.e. If you are conjugating correctly, and using the right tense in the right way, then a native will understand you even if you forget "car" and say "moving metal thing". And because grammar is often technical and tricky to understand, a teacher is excellent for this, and it is what they will focus on.
Let me know if this helps!
Hey, that's right! I'm roughly level B2/C1 with it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages#Common_reference_levels)
Here's me speaking in German (@ 1m10s):
I love the language and I actually found it a little easier that French just because the pronunciation came so much more naturally (I'm a native English speaker, which helped).
I think there are two initial challenges with learning german:
A special grammar structure that kicks in sometimes. (It's easy to learn, but hard to train yourself to do automatically).
The grammatical genders.
There are three (der, die, das), and their exact spelling changes depending on where they come in the sentence [note, I'm simplifying quite a bit here].
Neither of these things should put you off German! It's a really great language I think. My advice would be to find some youtube clips of natives speaking it and see if you like the sound of it. Also read the wikipedia page. I think that's a really fun way to get the "feel" for a language before you jump in.
I bet by finishing duolingo french you could probably learn more french than you did in your school...
And also, I think you could possibly learn french faster than you learned German! By watching videos of french youtubers you can improve your pronunciation by repeating what they say how they say it. At least, that really helped me.
I think I might try German, after I finish learning french and Spanish (they have more speakers, and they are easier)