Bonjour! Hello! When many people think of French, they think of Paris. They envision romance – the Eiffel tower, small cafés, fantastic food, and chocolate confections. If you have ever have had the desire to visit France, or one of the other 29 countries where French is the main language, learning French can make your stay that much more exciting.
The French have a bit of a reputation for being stuck up, particularly towards Americans. However, how many people bother learning French before they go? Learning the language will make a huge difference when you travel to any of these places. You do not have to be fluent either. Knowing even a few words and phrases in the language will provoke some sympathy from the locals – whereas knowing none often gives the impression that you are just another stuck up tourist.
Learning French before you leave is not that hard. Books and tapes are readily available at your local bookstore or online. You can also take classes in French. There are several programs out there designed specifically for travelers. These programs are designed to teach you the basics in a short period of time so that you can ask directions or make an order in a restaurant.
Once you are in France or other French-speaking country, learning French will become second nature as you will be surrounded by it. Learning this way, or submersion learning, is often the best way to learn a foreign language. You can not help but to pick up a phrase or two when you constantly hear it spoken, see it written, and/or speak and write it yourself. Often, the locals will be thrilled to assist you with grammar and pronunciation if you show an interest. Do not be surprised if you come home knowing more than when you left!
The main thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy your stay. Au revoir!