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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!
7. Live with a native person. Living with native people is the only way your language will improve. In all three areas of the year abroad, whether it be teaching, studying or working, there is not that much chance to speak the language. At University, you are rather lectured at, and participation in class does not often happen, therefore although you are continuously learning, you are not practicing your speaking skills. At work, you may find yourself indulged in doing research, therefore communication with others may not be very often and during teaching, you will not be speaking the native language as if you are an English assistant for example, you will be expected to speak in English to the pupils. For these reasons it is necessary that you try your hardest to find an apartment or house which you can share with native people. This will be extremely beneficial for your speaking skills, and you will feel more confident having conversations etc. If you are unable to find this via the internet or when in the chosen country, then living in halls at University may not be a bad decision as you can meet people from all around the world, and therefore your common language will be the language of the country you are living in. Additionally, they can help you figure out how to open a bank account etc. and they will be able to introduce you to other native people, which is always a plus!
8. Try to immerse yourself into the culture as much as possible. Go to the cinema and watch films which are traditional, watch lots of TV, listen to the radio and try making traditional meals. All of these things will improve not only your comprehension and speaking skills, but will also make you feel like a native. Instead of feeling like an outsider, try and immerse yourself as much as possible into the lifestyle so that you make the country you are living in feel like home.
9. If you are able to receive housing benefits, such as CAF in France, which all Erasmus students can apply for, make sure you do this as soon as you arrive. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t trace back your payments to the first month you paid rent. They will only begin your monthly payments starting from the month after you apply. Consequently, I waited until my bank account was sorted, which took a few months, and therefore I lost out on money. You can apply for CAF as soon as you arrive, and then give them documents to complete the application at a later date, so make sure you do this as soon as possible to get the most money back you possibly can.