My To Do Item – Learn Français

Je m’appelle Elizabeth et je sais un peu du français….

 

 

My journey with learning French

I live in Canada where English and French are the official languages. We learn French as kids in school and have one year of mandatory French in high school.

 

I’ve never gotten beyond a basic level in French although I’ve had the goal of being fluent in French for as long as I remember.
I took one year of it in University and took another year of it in College night courses after work hours.

 

 

My struggles with learning French

Those classes helped but I learned more words and how to create sentences but yet I never felt confident speaking it. That didn’t stop me, though.

 

Whenever we travelled to Montreal, Quebec, I would try to speak it and understand French by talking to the sales clerks when shopping.

 

I wouldn’t remember too much at this point but I was surprised at how much I could read when we visited Paris. It made me feel more comfortable to be able to buy the subway tickets there as well as the Paris St. Germain Soccer match online tickets without having to pull out the French/English dictionary.

 

Unfortunately, that’s about as far as I got though. I couldn’t understand barely anything that was spoken to me.

 

Thank goodness we found a guy who spoke Spanish outside of the grocery store when we were trying to figure out something on the map.

 

I then took more lessons in an online module based course which was a refresher for me and I got to learn some more vocabulary. Although I got to practise the words, it didn’t make much of a difference for me when speaking French or understanding it.

 

When I began teaching Spanish and now again as I begin to teach it online, I thought about my experience with learning French and started to think back to why I hadn’t reached my goal of becoming fluent.

 

 

Two main reasons for my struggles

The first one is that I put effort into it but not consistently. I would take a course and then stop for awhile.

 

The second one is that I didn’t have anyone to practise with on a regular basis.

 

I assume these are common reasons why people haven’t learned to speak the language that they have always wanted to.

 

I want this blog and my classes to be the beginning of getting to that goal so that no one has to wait any longer to learn and feel comfortable to speak Spanish.

 

What has your experience been so far with learning Spanish?

 

 

What about other languages?

3 Great Benefits of Learning Spanish for Travelling

What is YOUR main reason for wanting to learn Spanish?

 

One of the most common answers is to use it when travelling.

 

It makes sense, too. With so many Spanish speaking countries and several being popular places to visit, it’s such a benefit to be able to communicate with the locals and learn more about the country you’re travelling to.

 

1. Greater confidence when travelling

 

Knowing how to speak even basic Spanish can give you the confidence to use it when buying your Chichén Itzá souvenirs in Maya Rivera, Mexico or ordering your yummy churros for dessert while sitting on a café patio in Madrid, Spain. It is also very helpful if ever dealing with any problems or emergencies, or even if you get lost and need direction.

 

All-inclusive resorts usually employ some English-speaking staff, but often the majority speak very little or no English.

 

Upon when you leave the resort area, the chance of finding English-speaking local people usually decreases. I’ve often found myself being the impromptu translator on these trips for my friends or for other tourists.

 

For instance, when my husband and I were in Paris, we helped a Spanish-speaking couple buy tickets for the subway using the automated machine which was all in French.

 

Since I knew enough French to use to machine to get our own tickets, I was able to explain to them the on-screen options and how to do it.

 

It felt great to help out fellow tourists just from knowing some basic French!

 

2. Greater travelling experience

 

Another big advantage of knowing Spanish is to have a greater appreciation and understanding of what you are experiencing on your trip.

 

If you can understand Spanish, things may start to make more sense, such as what people are doing or why they are acting certain ways.

 

For example, when you’re travelling to a Spanish-speaking country you might wonder why people tend to speak loudly to each other.

 

If you understand Spanish and the two men behind you in the bus station line are talking loudly, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing that they are just excited about the upcoming soccer game, known as fútbol (fout-bol).

 

You’ll see that they aren’t having an argument which could have been a concern if you’re just trying to enjoy your trip. Now you can relax as you watch other people join the fútbol (fout-bol) debate.

 

You’ll also be able to understand if they are talking about you or something that concerns you. Which, believe me, can be very helpful.

 

3. Greater understanding of other languages when travelling

 

Knowing Spanish also helps you gain understanding of related languages, such as like French, Portuguese and Italian. It’s easier to learn them since you already have Spanish as a basis.

 

I learned some French in school here in Canada. The one negative of this was mixing up French and Spanish when answering questions in class since they have similarities. The benefits definitely outweigh this disadvantage!

 

Thinking back to my visit to Italy a few years ago, I remember that my husband and I were a bit lost in Rome. We asked an older man about whether we were on the right path to the bus terminal.

 

I remember this clearly since he took the time to put his grocery bags down and explained to us in Italian how to get to the bus terminal.

 

Because of our Spanish skills, we understood enough to know that he was also telling us to be careful with my purse and my husband’s camera on the bus and to make sure to carry it in front of us and hold onto it.

 

We followed his directions and got to the bus terminal to go further explore Rome (and I held onto my purse in the packed bus!)

 

Knowing Spanish has helped me make my trips even more fulfilling as I felt better knowing what was going on. I have used it to make my way through my trips and when travelling with my friends they also feel better knowing that I can translate whenever they needed.

 

So, what is YOUR main reason for wanting to learn Spanish?

Share your answer in the comments below.

 

¡HOLA! Are you ready to learn Spanish?

Do you want to learn Spanish so you can travel to more countries, communicate more easily, and increase your confidence when speaking it?

 

I created this space to share what I love about the Latino culture and share tips so you can learn Spanish quicker.

 

I live in Canada but my Colombian background has always played an important role in who I am. I have dual citizenship and the reality is that I’m a mix of both cultures.

 

I’m such a mix of both that I even used to mix up both English and Spanish when I started school. I didn’t get why (or like that) the other kids wouldn’t understand my ‘Spanglish’.

 

Like the time when we were playing in the play kitchen and my five year old classmate didn’t understand when I asked them, ‘Where’s the silla?” when I asked about the missing chair.

 

Eventually, I endured some ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons in Elementary school and straightened that out.

 

I LOVE travelling, especially to Spanish-speaking countries.

 

I have been to a handful already but my lifelong goal is to visit all of the Spanish-speaking countries so I have quite a few more to go.

 

I want to see what each country is like since I know that they all have their natural beauty, delicious food to taste and places to experience.

 

Travelling allows us to literally get outside of our comfort zone and see how other people live and what they enjoy doing with their free time.

 

That’s why it’s important to travel with an attitude of being ready for anything and being open to take in as much of the culture as possible, such as tasting the local food and drinks, participating in pastimes with the locals, exploring the tourist spots as well as having free time to walk along the neighbourhoods and shop.

 

Knowing as much as possible of the language is important since it helps to experience the culture on a deeper level and you can be more sure of yourself when interacting with the local people.

 

Knowing Spanish has helped immensely in Spanish-speaking countries as well as in countries like Italy, Portugal and France.It came in handy when we got lost in Livorno, Italy and asked someone who spoke only Italian for directions or for negotiating those too high of prices for my travel plate collection.

 

Aside from the practical use, you can be better connected with others when speaking their native tongue.

 

Having a hispano-hablante share a story in Spanish allows for the truest expression of that knowledge and can lead to a richer understanding of who that person is.

 

You can achieve a fuller perspective of any of these countries when your language skills take you farther than a guide book ever could.

 

I’ve taught Spanish in person and love it whenever someone tells me they want to speak it fluently like I do.

 

It motivates me to share this beautiful language with others and help them achieve their personal goals in this area.

 

After hearing this from a number of clients, I started thinking that I could reach out to more people online and help them work on their goal to learn Spanish and about the culture so they enjoy and experience their future trips to the fullest.

 

So I hope you enjoy taking part in this new journey of mine as I share my knowledge and experiences about this fantastic culture in hopes of preparing you for your next big trip or inspiring you to explore an amazing part of this world.

 

Stay tuned for my next blog post!

 

In the meantime, I would like to hear from you!

 

Have you travelled to any Spanish speaking countries? If so, which ones?

 

Looking forward to your answers!