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    I'm studying a teaching course at the moment and because I've decided to specialise in teaching languages, I have to go to France for a month just after Christmas. When I applied for the course I was really excited. I've never lived in a foreign country before and I couldn't wait. But now it's getting nearer and nearer, I've started to dread going and secretly want to stay at home.

    It's so stupid but I'm really worried about the language barrier. I studied French to A-Level and got a B. I really enjoyed it because languages were my strong point at school. However, 4 years on - after going to uni and not studying it every day -my French is nowhere near as good as it was. We had a refresher course at uni and I felt so stupid - I'd forgotten loads and there were degree-level people who were fluent.

    I have to teach in a school for a month and I have visions of teachers/the children talking to me and me just standing there like an idiot, not being able to answer. Even worse, I might be explaining something in a lesson and they won't understand me.

    I've tried to get my French up to what it was. I've been watching loads of French films and listening to tapes but when people talk the language at their natural speed, I get lost and feel unconfident. It just makes me not want to watch anymore because I think - if I can't understand a film what am I going to be like when people are talking to me in real life?!

    I should be really excited - I'm going to Paris, the flight is being paid for, my hotel is being paid for but I'm terrified. I've never really lived far from home before - even when I lived in halls I was a 40 min train journey from home.

    Would really appreciate some advice, especially from people who have been in this kind of situation (people who have had to study in a foreign country when they weren't fluent in the language.) I'm dreading this and it's just going to be hanging over me all Christmas. Feeling a bit down

    If you were perfect already, you probably wouldn't need to go.

    You'll improve. Everything starts out nervewracking and gets easier and more comfortable as you go along, just like university itself.

    I can sympathise with this- I was really quite scared about coming to Beijing back in September and, unsurprisingly, I'm nowhere near fluent in Chinese. When I first got here I was really shy and didn't speak much to the locals but I found after a while I got over it because I had no other choice. You just have to accept that you are going to make the odd mistake and that you might have to ask people to repeat what they're saying every so often but I think you'll come across as a lot better if you actually try to speak French rather than just keeping quiet. Your pupils won't bite and if you make a mistake you just have to learn to laugh at yourself rather than feeling embarrassed. If you got a B at A-level I'm sure your language skills will actually be pretty good so by all means practise but please don't worry yourself silly about it, especially over Christmas!

    I hope all goes well, if you want to talk more PM me
    • #1

    LOL! You are me. I was in the same position about the whole thing and in the end I decided to request to stay in the UK because it was making me ill worrying about it. One point they did make that I thought was good though was France is not that far away so if you are having a not so fun time, you could potentially come home for a weekend for a break if you wanted.
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