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Hi, just came across this forum and was hoping for some basic advice on what I can do to integrate a little better in France, here's a little background info on myself,

Soo, I moved to france exactly a year ago now to be with my boyfriend. At the start I was very optimistic and motivated to learn french and at this stage my understanding of French is much better but I still can barely speak the language but can form basic sentences ( u may ask why when I have a french boyfriend to teach me, he's not patient with me and we simply slip back into english because it's easier).

I don't have a job in France and currently rely on my boyfriend which he doesn't mind but it's drives me crazy being dependent. I don't know if I should be registering somewhere as unemployed so I can get help finding work, (my boyfriend says he doesn't know, he found his job with L'oreal after he graduated and doesn't know about help for job seekers).

Currently I'm studying an online french course which is helping but very frustrating at times because I'm learning alone most of the time. As it may sound I am losing hope about staying in France and I'm at a cross road at the moment, deciding whether I should leave to go back home, and as a last hope I came to ask if any of you guys have practical advice for life in France and really any info would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you :) katie
 

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Hi, just came across this forum and was hoping for some basic advice on what I can do to integrate a little better in France, here's a little background info on myself, Soo, I moved to france exactly a year ago now to be with my boyfriend. At the start I was very optimistic and motivated to learn french and at this stage my understanding of French is much better but I still can barely speak the language but can form basic sentences ( u may ask why when I have a french boyfriend to teach me, he's not patient with me and we simply slip back into english because it's easier). I don't have a job in France and currently rely on my boyfriend which he doesn't mind but it's drives me crazy being dependent. I don't know if I should be registering somewhere as unemployed so I can get help finding work, (my boyfriend says he doesn't know, he found his job with L'oreal after he graduated and doesn't know about help for job seekers). Currently I'm studying an online french course which is helping but very frustrating at times because I'm learning alone most of the time. As it may sound I am losing hope about staying in France and I'm at a cross road at the moment, deciding whether I should leave to go back home, and as a last hope I came to ask if any of you guys have practical advice for life in France and really any info would be greatly appreciated :) Thank you :) katie
Hi Katie,

You can register at the Pole Emploi to find help with employment. There should be one in your town, I'd just Google them. They may start by finding you in person French classes and offering to help you with specialized job training (formations). I did this when I arrived in September, and although I have yet to find a job, I do have weekly French classes and went to a workshop to build a proper French CV. This has certainly helped with my integration!

Someone else on here previously recommended a website called Français Authentique. If you sign up for the email you get a week of French lessons through PDF/Podcast that help you start to understand spoken French better. After this you can do more in-depth (paid) or just access his podcasts (free). I have found the site to be pretty stellar and his theory of learning quite practical for people like us!

http://www.francaisauthentique.com

I am pretty new here, so I can't offer much more. Best of luck!

Alison

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Ooh, boy - been there, done that and have a very good idea how you must be feeling about now. (Only I was married to my "boyfriend" and so the option to go back home was a whole lot bigger decision.)

Not to make light of your situation, but it sounds like you're at just about the stage I would expect you to be at right now. Your French will never get any better until you get out there and use it - force yourself to use it, and just keep asking questions until you understand the responses you are getting. It's hard, but it's really the only way.

Pole emploi is a good place to start out - but they will be primarily concerned with what you are qualified to do for a job. Your academic qualifications, mainly. But while you're trying to find something, you ought to try joining some local group so you can get out, meet people (French people) and have to practice your French. (Husbands and boyfriends are really no good for improving your foreign language skills - trust me on this one!)

There are a couple of different towns called Saint Quentin in France. Depending on where you are, you should see if there is an AVF in your area. AVF is a "newcomers'" organization that caters to both French and foreign newcomers. If there are other foreigners in the area, your local AVF may have a French conversation group where you can practice speaking and listening without the pressure of a classroom situation. The AVF is also the sort of place where you can make some contacts who might be able to help you find a job (eventually). Most jobs in France are found by "word of mouth" and personal contacts anyhow.

Or just go to the local mairie and ask what associations they have in town. Pick one that does something that interests you (exercise, art, theater, photography, etc.) and jump in. The first few times will be kind of scary, but if you're interested in the subject, you'll find someone there who will take you under their wing.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hello

Bev is quite correct (as always, she's our fear inducing mod!) you need to get out and start using French at whatever level you are at. Be prepared to make mistakes and a fool of yourself!

Here are some ideas for you to use, reject or to modify.

** Insist on speaking French with your bf for, say 15 minutes over dinner, or whatever. If you have a fixed endpoint you will be less likely to slip back into English. After a bit go for 30 mins.

** When you are talking to French to someone other than bf INSIST that he doesn't help you. You need to walk without a crutch!

** Invite the neighbours for an apéro, you talk and don't let your bf help you. Try to make friends so that you can talk to them during the day?

** Throw away English! Watch Fr tv, read Fr newspapers on the net, put your computer, mobile phone etc into French.

** Try to find some activity that will drop you into French speaking life. Either a job or charity work. I did charity work when I first came to France. I learnt a lot of French, and lot about poor people (irrespective of country) Try Restos du Coeur, the church, mairie etc. It tool me a month or 2 to find the charity (resto de Coeur) so it may not be easy.

It's not easy, I know!). Post here more questions and we will try to help.

DejW
 

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Shake boyfriend until his teeth rattle, and tell him that if he talks to you in English, you will adopt the Lysistrata role!! : ) Joking apart, a year's not long. Keep pegging away, and get a job of any sort whatsoever - Pole Emploi is a good place to start. You'll have to speak French, and you'll make friends.

Good luck!
 

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Agreed about BFs being no help! My husband is quebecois and we can barely keep up a French conversation because he gets too frustrated having to repeat things, or not understanding quite what I mean, so he just goes back to English. And I'm what most would consider the low end of fluent!

Dejw has some great suggestions. I would go further and suggest your BF not be present when you engage with other French speakers. I find that when I go out alone for errands or with people, I do a whole lot more talking in French than when he is there! It's so easy to fall back on him and let me finish my sentences because I know he knows what I'm trying to say.

Previous posters also have some great advice about looking for work. Volunteering is a great idea too! Best of luck to you :)
 

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I go along with listening to the radio as a painless way to absorb the language. Even if you don't understand enough to make sense of it, you get used to the intonation and you start picking out more and words that you hear over and over. Listening to French pop music is great because you get to know the songs and start singing along and before you know it, loads of phases like Comme d'Habitude and Ca va pas changer le monde get so deeply ingrained that you'll never forget them!
 

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Ooh, the radio is a great idea. Two thoughts:

France Info is the national news radio. Listen to them in the mornings because they repeat the same stories several times over a couple of hours. (And it's exactly the same story, in recorded packages.)

Find out your local France Bleue frequency. At 1pm (i.e. lunch time) they run a program called "Les Defis du Professeur Gersal" which is a call in quiz show. The questions they ask are true-false, so you have a 50-50 chance of guessing the right answer, even if you don't understand the question. And the topics are usually drawn from French culture, language and general knowledge. If you miss the show, you can get the podcasts here: Les défis du Professeur Gersal / France Bleu

The more you listen, the easier it becomes to understand, even though they speak pretty rapidly. Plus, it's a light-hearted and very interesting show - short, and they break the quiz up into short segments, with music between the segments.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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