Taking up on an advice sang by a dear friend last week, I've decided to start getting serious about learning French. It shouldn't be hard for someone who's already fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish, and it'll open up windows for work opportunities in places like Quebec, France, and Belgium. I plan on getting a B2 certificate (intermediate level) by the time of graduation, and then apply to a job overseas. It's no secret I miss Canada with all my heart, and this might be a decisive step towards going back.
Now, let's get down to business. This post is devoted to listing resources I'll be using for the next months. Other than a French tutor, everything I'll use will be posted here, along with my personal experiences.
So, my first challenge is to find a program I can follow. In my experience with language schools (particularly Brazilian schools), they tend to slow down their students' progress in order to keep on raking in their monthly payments. So, if I am going to study by myself, I need a program backed by a reputable foreign institution. And I found it through the Open Learning Initiative, a Carnegie Mellon University program that offers two Elementary French courses, the very same ones offered to its presential students.
Together, they add up to 30 lessons aimed at being taken over the course of 6-8 months. They're quite interactive and easy to follow for any English speaking individual. Plus, their short videos are so easy to comprehend that anyone can understand them even with no previous knowledge.
There are two online communities that I found particularly helpful:
- /r/French forum: For those unfamiliar with Reddit, this is similar to a general forum, but with a few magic tricks under its sleeve. Ask away, they answer quickly and usually in a friendly manner.
- /r/Quebec Discord server: Sure, it requires installing Discord, but, believe me, it is the best voice/video call at the market right now. It is miles ahead Skype and this community is very welcoming.
In order to familiarize myself with the spoken language, I've dug up a few French content media channels:
- TV5 Monde: It's a French TV channel that has variety shows about basically everything. It's the number one stop, in my opinion.
- France:info: Also a French TV channel, but this one is focused only on news.
- The French Embassy culture spot: This website mixes content in English and in French, but it's a great place to check on both classics and modern mainstream media.
- Radio-Canada: This radio covers all Canada and, as such, produces content in French, too.
I found Bon Patrol to be the best spell-checking website available online, without actually resorting to downloading an application.
This is going to be a bigger challenge than I expected, but I do feel motivated at the moment. I'll be updating this post as I find new tools to play with.
Until then, see you soon!