5 Tips for Learning French

This post is from our official student blogger, Sarah Nichols. Sarah is a Senior Economics (Accounting) and French major from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. She is currently spending the academic year in Grenoble, France.


I’ve learned language barriers can be hard and some days are better than others… but you can’t get discouraged. You have to wake up every morning with the mindset that you’re going to do your best to learn and listen to whatever language you’re around. Here’s a list of 5 things that will help you:

  • Watch Netflix in French
    That TV series that you can repeat word for word and know every episode by heart? Yes… that is what you need to start binge watching but in French instead of English. It also helps if you turn on the subtitles in either french or English. I like to switch between the two. This helps you because you are hearing the language and you already know the show by heart so if you don’t understand a word you know what is happening in the episode.
  • Read
    Anything and everything in french. If you’re still starting out with the language like me then I would start with children’s books. Start small and then work your way up to more advanced books. There are lots of books on kindle for beginners in french. They are short stories but provide summaries at the end and a list of vocabulary in English. It’s great because I can read it on my phone anytime.
  • Talk with Native French Speakers
    Living with a host family is the best way to be fully immersed in the language and culture. They are also your best resource for learning french. You will also learn in school, but speaking with your host family is helpful to learn how to talk every day with people. It’s also good to make friends with people who are native french speakers. They can teach you french slang and correct you when you say something wrong.
  • Keep a Memo on Your Phone
    You’re going to hopefully be learning new words and phrases every day. When you’re with your friends or speaking with your host family ask them to write out a phrase you want to remember and keep it in your phone. Even if you think that you’re going to remember how to say a phrase it’s a good idea to keep a memo on your phone because you will forget it. I also keep names of french artists and movies to check out on my phone.
  • Ask questions
    This may seem obvious but it’s easy to get discouraged to ask a question that you think is dumb. Remember there is no such thing as a dumb question! You won’t know what simple everyday objects are. When I first arrived I didn’t know how to ask for a spoon. There is no way that you will know the word for everything and it’s okay to ask. If you don’t ask questions then you’ll never learn.

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