By Ashley C., guest blogger and France study abroad participant
Normally, I would say you shouldnʼt take advantage of men in order to practice your French, but Iʼve made a few exceptions here. One night, while eating a crepe in Vieux Lyon (amazing crepes, by the way!), a man came up to me and said “bon appetit!” (a very common expression, of course), and I said “Merci!” and smiled (thinking he would just pass by). He then sat down. I thought to myself, I wonder if heʼs a nice guy or a weird one? He then started to talk to me slowly and carefully, and he complimented me on my French (which, by the way, is not good...yet), and then asked me out to a drink. Ordinarily, if I was back in the states, I would never have even talked to him for more than a few minutes, but in France Iʼm supposed to be practicing my French, right?
What I came away with from this experience was a greater desire to talk with locals and take some chances with my French. Be careful, of course, but donʼt be afraid to speak in a language youʼre just learning with locals. They donʼt care usually, and are mostly just happy youʼre speaking in French at all! Give yourself a pat on the back and ask a store merchant (or a cute French person) how theyʼre doing!
The people that Iʼve met really enjoy knowing where youʼre from and why youʼre studying French, so make the most of it and practice your French with them! Even if you mess up and make a fool of yourself (which you wonʼt, but if youʼd like to talk to someone who has made a fool of themselves - Iʼm right here), you really wonʼt be seeing these people for very long (depending on how long you stay). Concentrate on practicing your French and getting over insecurities about what people might think of you. Hey, it might even help you be a more confident person when you go back home!
Read all of Ashley's blogs from Lyon.