I'm going to France!
I just came back from a trip without wifi, RIP streak :(
This summer, I'm going to stay in a guest home in for two weeks to learn French! The trip consists of going to a French class every morning and having fun the rest of the day :D I'm super excited but also very nervous... what if I break unspoken etiquette there? I don't want to come off as rude! hope to finish my tree beforehand, so I'll be spending even more time here each day. Woooo!
That's a great opportunity, enjoy it as much as you can! There's no reason to be nervous, and making mistakes / getting into embarrassing situations is part of your learning. Don't forget you'll be a foreigner there, people will be more tolerant with you than if you were French and did something rude ;)
what if I break unspoken etiquette there?
What if you do? Mistakes are actually a good thing, they're the best way to learn! You'll never forget the time you made that mistake, but those 1000 times you got it right? No recollection at all.
And, as others have said, people know you are a foreigner, they will forgive you unless they are ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤, and you wouldn't want them as friends anyway.
I am so jealous I am green like Duo. I lived in France for a year and a half and really struggled with the language. I found that most people there were kind and forgave my mistakes. I really enjoyed my time there and found that people there were just like me - interested to know someone from a different culture. Take your cues from your hosts. Be prepared for the bisou. You will have a great time! Eat a pastry for me.
That depends a lot on where you are and what you're doing I think - when I was an exchange student in Bourgogne, lots of people did with me - teenagers at the bus stop that I'd never met before but who went to my school, people I didn't know at village event, lots of other times too.
A little French goes a long way, because I think the French are not always confident in their ability to speak English. Scenario: I'm in a shop, talking to my family in English. Then I switch to French to address the shopkeeper - more often than not, they look relieved that we can meet on common ground and struggle together in the other person's language.
I am somewhat envious - I just returned from France; which is what got me to this site. I did it backwards - Went to France without knowing much French (Bonjour, Merci, S'il vous plait, Oui, Non, ... de vin rouge.... :)
It annoyed me so much that I was missing out on this great culture that I needed to figure out how to learn it... thus, Duolingo (...and Michel Thomas, and daily immersion trying to read Le Monde and listening to News in Slow French...).
When I went out to dinner in France, I was very concerned that the group I was with was going to be seen as the stereotypical 'ugly Americans'.... Until I saw a group of French businessmen and women staying at the same hotel as I, watching a football (soccer) game in the hotel bar - other than the language, it could have been any sports bar in America - loud, boisterous, friendly joking, a few glasses of beer, and general fun.
It made me realize, we all make faux pas because we all belong to the human race. There ARE cultural differences, which is why they are going to be as interested in you as you are them. They might laugh at some things that you do, and you will laugh at what they do. You will be able to get away with it because you are not French. And they will be able to, because they ARE French.
The trick, I think, is to enjoy it. Enjoy la différence! When you go back home, the mundane will always be waiting.
I went to Paris a few years ago. I knew a little bit from two years of school, but improvisation was way too difficult so I did exactly the same :) I'm a lot less nervous now, it seems kinda fun!
Mon plaisir. I've made plenty of mistakes in Paris and, as long as you are polite, the French people are delightful. It helps that more French are learning Business English, these days, so they are more understanding of those learning a new language and culture.
Also, if a French person doesn't smile while talking to you it doesn't mean they aren't nice - it's normal to save up one's smile for something funny. Note: the sense of humour is quite different in France. If you were hoping to listen to some French music while sitting in a French café you might be disappointed - you may be more likely to hear 80's pop music in English!
The food will be sooo good! You will have a great time - don't be afraid to speak - use the French you know, you will make lots of mistakes - everyone does, but as long as you are trying, and remain friendly and polite people appreciate it - ask them to correct you, and repeat what they say. You may not "get it" the first few times, but your ear will improve and so will your vocabulary and accent.
That's great! I am going to France also. Wanted to do couchsurfing next month. but I met some people on Interpals and I want to meet them so much so I've changed the date to October :) going to Paris for 3 days and 4 more days to Nancy! I'm already excited so I know how you feel! hope I will be able to speak when I go also :D
Lucky! I've never really been to a country where they don't speak English the majority of the time. I've heard the French are really nice once you show that you've attempted to learn their language. The sterotype is that they hate Americans, but, like, I've really only heard good things from people who know the basics of the language.
And hey! Have fun and mange beacoup!! :D
I did the same thing for the same amount of time on the Atlantic coast of France. I too had to stay with a family and go to school. I had the same worry, going to school, coming off as "improper" or rude. Yet, if you are to have an awesome immersion experience as I did, with a family as great as mine was, all these little worries will fade away as if you were living back home. You let all these proper manners and etiquette find its way to you as then, you can observe it and imitate it for the next time.
I booked this program: (okay my mom did ahahaha)
It does a lot of other languages too :D