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Ricky Self

LCCN #6 | My French Story | Workings NL FB Ricky.JPG

I started learning French when I was in high school. I enjoyed it but was frustrated I couldn’t practise and use it much, so after a year of learning French at school, I stopped. Ten years later, I made the decision to start learning a language and that’s how French came back into my life. I was planning a three to six-month European trip, and I thought knowing a bit of French would be helpful. I was also considering living there for a bit as I have a British passport. Ten days into my European trip, I met the biggest motivation to learning the language: a French girl called Elsa.

From then on, I started learning with a lot more consistency! I was always buying new books and getting excited by new French movies but mostly I was studying every single day whenever I could, with Elsa’s help sometimes. After a year of learning, we spent three months in France and I noticed an improvement. I was spending most of my days listening to the radio, watching French TV and trying to speak to Elsa’s family and friends. It was really hard but it definitely helped my confidence. We moved back to Australia after that and although I still had the best reason to practise my French with me, I kind of stopped for about a year until we moved to Brisbane in August 2015.

Here, I found my motivation again and I was studying several times a week, on my own, watching the news on SBS every morning and going along to French Meetups when I could. I joined Lingua Franca in early 2016 which gave a real boost to my French: the structure of the lessons and the support of the tutors really helped me reach a higher level and even motivated me to sit the DELF B1 in November 2016. I had never sat a French test in my life so this was pretty daunting, though exhilarating. I remember being in front of my test and thinking to myself “Wow, you’re really doing it!”. So I did, and I passed. It gave me a huge boost and so when we visited Elsa’s family for Christmas 2016, I felt confident enough to speak to everyone in French. I loved it and I loved not relying on Elsa for translation and being able to have proper conversations with people. When we came back, I decided to challenge myself even more and enrolled for the DELF B2 training. It’s great for me because it gives me an end goal to focus my studies on and to stay motivated.

In June 2017, we went back to France and I decided to travel on my own for half of our trip which really challenged me. The safety net was off and I had no other choice but to speak French all the time. This experience was amazing and gave me a little taste of what fluency would feel like, which is now my new goal.