I will learn French just for
Some time ago I decided to learn French. In Moscow, just as the newly opened course at the French Cultural Center. And started the very first set of them. Because the courses are relatively cheap, obviously qualitative (guarantors were the French embassy and cultural center), they immediately began superpopulyarnymi. Many, like me, signed up for these courses are solely for my own pleasure, without having specific goals, just assuming that the additional language for a man is never over.
Enthusiasm is known to be a great thing. At the end of the first cycle of training (two and a half months), all in our group already being twittered in French, not doubting the integrity of his accent. Even after two and a half months, I decided that the French are more or less I know.
Then I was lucky once again, and I offered to go for two weeks in France, in a school Eurocentres, who taught French foreigners.
Eurocentres (Foundation for European centers for the study of language and culture, see the "i" b 16 (125). 6) – a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Zurich, has been developing educational (primarily linguistic) programs in Europe, is a consultant Education in the Council of Europe. The general public is known for his linguistic Eurocentres schools in different countries: England, America, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan and Russia. Languages are different, but the method is the same everywhere, branded, evrotsentrovskaya. In all these countries except Russia and Japan, there are schools for adults and children.
Regardless of participation in the rankings and elite associations for Eurocentres good reputation, quality of schools. The motto of Eurocentres: "Learning a language – to live in language."
In France, three Eurocentres schools for adults – in Paris, Amboise and La Rochelle. The man who rides into the country for the first time, of course, wants above all to get to the capital, especially if it's Paris. But one thing – tours, is quite another – study. It is believed that the noisy capital is not the best place to learn the language. Although, of course, in all capitals – and in Paris and in London and New York, and Berlin – is a good language school. But too many distractions, and in summer even dusty and stuffy.
In other words, the knowledgeable people advised me to go to the province. Amboise was just as the best way possible: a small town in the center of France on the banks of the Loire. The main attraction – the castle. Tourists who come to Amboise for a day (included in all tour programs "Castles of Loire") remain in the wild delight. Students are the only school Eurocentres Amboise linguistic too quickly appreciate this place: there is nothing else to do here no choice but to learn.
But before I could appreciate another advantage of Eurocentres in general: they do not meet the accepted students coming from abroad (usually the school will organize the delivery of a student from the airport). The reason is very simple: an independent, united Europeans are accustomed to traveling "transfer" is simply not needed. This is the first and second, Eurocentres, I think, just try to observe the main principle of "Learning a language – to live in the language": as soon as the border crossing, so soon and begin to live in language, for it had come.
The school also provides you with useful information and advice: how best to reach the place, how much is a taxi, bus, subway, where to call if you still lost. Pre sent address and telephone number of the family in which you live – it should be to contact and communicate your arrival time so as not to appear at the closed door. If you follow all instructions should be no problems. In general, on the part of Eurocentres organization has no equal: the student is preparing for the arrival of a complete package of "material information": the rules of life in the family, class schedule, extra features (tours, electives, clubs, etc.), detailed information about the city – where to eat, a haircut, fun and how much it costs, what is interesting in the neighborhood – you name it.
Of the total abundance of information, I especially liked this: in a separate envelope were the so-called tickets-repas (food stamps), and so these coupons can be given to each family for dinner, and can be used at any time ambuazskih restaurants. Coupons attached to the list of restaurants and their menus. I immediately chose the second option. In addition to the list of extracurricular activities at school were lectures on French cooking and tasting of cheeses and wines. The result was a theoretical and practical course in French gastronomy.
The peculiarity of foreign language courses in schools Eurocentres – the saturation and intensity of the training program. In the first half of the day from 9.00 am to 13.00 – four lessons in a group with two teachers. One, for example, teaches grammar, reading and listening, the other is the conversation with the students.
The one who leads the conversation (the main teacher in the group), he is free to build the program and choose the topics for discussion. I do not know whether this policy is Eurocentres or do I just unlucky, but in Amboise, and then in Alexandria that the U.S. chief instructor was just an interesting and enthusiastic people. Students felt it at once and instantly liberating. Rapprochement with the teacher helped and visiting lessons, trips to the movies, bars. Whichever program is free or has been, always respected, if I may say so, "the complexity of learning": the student is taught to speak, write, read and understand.
After lunch, each individual lesson plan. First, it courses, for example, the language of business, or preparing for exams. Secondly, the regional studies lectures – on culture, geography, traditions, history, cooking, music, etc. There are also film and video clubs, extra classes to the peculiarities and difficulties of grammar. It is assumed that the student has engaged itself in the language laboratories. If you download a full program, you can learn from morning till evening (school closes at 17.30).
It is clear that no one forcing you will not learn. Most afternoons is optional, advisory in nature – they can not walk. At first, I did. In mid-summer heat wave in the midst of a sin to sit in school all day – I thought and went to the beach or the pool. To my surprise, like-minded people I have not found – people have come to learn (by the way, Eurocentres courses are not cheap, even by European standards) and tried to get the most out of the 3-4-week courses. I had no choice but to accede to the majority.
I realized that there is no scamp. Since then, all say that Eurocentres – Language schools are good. Although she was only two of them and all I can not vouch.
The French are snobs?
It is believed that the French love their language and they are cherished, and all the other languages to understand the refuse. So if you do not know even a little French, then France will be lost. Like any popular opinion, this is only partly true. To my regret, the French can not ignore the fact that the world does not speak in French and in English. And they also have to learn the language – the young do it easily and without regret, and grumble and remain faithful to their mother tongue mainly those who are older.
Certainly one thing: the French pleased when foreigners speak with them in French. Students who come to learn the language, naturally fall into a number of foreigners, to whom French is tolerated or even affection.
I got up to Amboise without saying not a single sound in French. Devious Plan evrotsentrovsky immediate immersion into the language of the foreign student immediately, as soon as he crossed the border, in my case, alas, failed. I chose the easiest way: from the airport by taxi to the Gare d'Austerlitz (the taxi driver is enough to name the place), in the station ticket office, too, is enough to say one word "Amboise", and questions whether a ticket to one side there, just nod your head. If the French do not like when they distort the language different aliens, why should I disappoint them – I thought.
Reverent attitude to the patriotic feelings of the French, I kept exactly to Amboise. From the train station to the house I was carrying a large gay madam, that I had to know everything: how and where I go, why, how long will stay here, what do I do, how old I am, if I have a husband, and so on and so forth. After a workout I'm not afraid to speak to the mistress of the house where I was going to live.
The hostess was a nice lady in all respects. Wife of a successful husband, the director of the bank, all his time devoted to himself and his family, was in keeping with the popular conception of the elegant, charming and eternally young French women. It was clear that students, it is host to, not because of money, and it's been encouraging.
Madame Sayuk once had told me a lot of compliments ("Oh, you speak excellent French," "You have almost no accent", "You look wonderful," etc.) than the final to win. It remains in my memory, enthusiastic and appreciative, thanks in no small measure contributed to the characteristic of the French rising intonation.
Besides me, the house Monsieur and Madame Sayuk lived another two students: a German-secretary of the Basel and the very young Colombian who came to the courses, together with their classmates. German is constantly chatted and laughed, Colombian forever disappeared somewhere with their compatriots. Of the three of us the most organized, as you might guess, was a German. She thought it necessary to wake us in the morning and time to put out of the house (not to late to school). Just in time has taught us to come to the meeting.
In French, she said is not that good, but rather smartly. Not afraid to make mistakes and not shy of his accent. At one point I found out that her company is much easier to talk to me in French: first, you feel freer, because not all the attention focused on you, and secondly, there is a spirit of rivalry and competition – who better to know the language who better to tell you. No wonder the more effective is still learning a foreign language in a group rather than alone with a teacher.
It would be a desire
My training courses ambuazskogo Eurocentres lasted two weeks – an incredibly small. In general, this program has been designed for three weeks, but naturally, it was possible to learn as much as for a long time, going from level to level and achieving the desired perfection in the language. Afford the "infinitely long study" could only be Japanese. Europeans arrived in three weeks – a month, though many are not the first time and were going to come back here again. It seemed to me that the school is the exact name – Eurocentres. Indeed, it has collected under one roof people of different European countries trying to find a common language with each other.
Progress – although, again, two weeks is very small – was obvious. Pal psychological barrier – I'm no longer afraid and began to calmly talk to the French in their own language. And even beginning to think that I have a very pretty well.
The following year I went to another school Eurocentres – the American Alexandria (Washington State). The site was chosen on the same principle – a little typical, in this case American, small town, too, on the banks of the river (the Potomac River, however, is much larger and more powerful than the Loire). Was found, and another parallel: Amboise was once the country residence of French kings, and Alexandria is now the country residence of Washington politicians and bureaucrats.
At first I tried to compare the schools – and ambuazskuyu Alexandria. But he quickly realized that the search for the charm of the French in America, something stupid. Here, perhaps, is his own. America – a country where everyone suddenly becomes self-esteem. It is known that the Americans are concerned only with themselves. Foreigners who are deprived of attention, lighten up and present a united front against the "smug and empty" Americans. I remember the words of a French student, having studied in the Alexandrian school for two months: "I am absolutely not interested in these Americans, I do not care for them. I need for the future of English, and I came here (read: nasty in this country. – Ed.) To this language to learn. "
This, of course, all the conventions and prejudices. Which disappear in person. The same French (as well as all other students), for example, was delighted by our teacher Erica, an intelligent man, well educated and a sensitive. Eric was trying to stir up all us pull out of the closed inner world and get to see what's going on – the injustice, violence and destruction. It did not jibe, first, with a typical American way, and secondly, our peace, in a sense pofigistskim, mood. It became a little ashamed of myself.
As English has been for me is not so critical, as the French, and problems with overcoming barriers, gaining confidence, and so there was – I could easily change the classes to observe, to compare. The program was built on the same principle as in Amboise. Here I got to the most advanced group, and in the classroom was more discussion, oral presentations. Often, we wrote an essay, often watching movies. On the lessons of Business English arranged these case-study (as in business schools). Many students in my group studied here a month or more and reach, according to Eric, the perfection of language. To a large extent, and by communicating informally – in bars, on streets, in different parties.
Perhaps the school Eurocentres still like each other, although they are located in different cities, provinces and metropolitan, and in different countries. How they have one: in Eurocentres believe that a person coming to a country to learn the language, must plunge into the life of this country, see it from the inside, to know the ordinary people, their habits and daily concerns. Living in this real life, indeed, natural to the language and learn it faster. Especially if you really want it.
In Russia, the agency is Eurocentres MEG: (095) 236 9740, 236 9823, fax 441 9604.