Updated: Oct 20
By Oceane de Decker (As seen in the May issue of the APeeling Digital Magazine)
Don’t procrastinate anymore, start now!
Once upon a time, a girl from France named Océane landed in Brazil to complete her Master of Science in Management. All was perfect, or almost... Naturally at the start, Océane did not speak a word of Portuguese. Alas all her classes were... In Portuguese.
Let’s not lie, the beginnings were a bit rough. Being surrounded by people who were not speaking much of English nor French, was pretty challenging and uncomfortable. But that experience was extremely rich and useful.
Within 3 months of sweat and misunderstanding, Océane was finally fluent (or almost) in Portuguese! Now you’re probably thinking: “Three months? Really? That’s all it takes? Well, in this article, Océane reveals her secrets and how she was able to master a new language that fast.
“This experience in Brazil deeply changed my life.” confessed Océane. “I did not know it at that time, but this was the stepping stone of my entrepreneurial journey. Indeed, after my wonderful time in Brazil but also struggles, I decided to help other people learn a new language. This is how I created my online business: “Have Fun Learning French”
I think the major plus of my classes is how much I really do care. I do care that my students get what is being taught, and that they improve and succeed. I make this commitment to them and to myself, because I know how vulnerable it can feel to learn a language. And I want to provide a safe learning environment and a comfortable space in which my students can develop their skills and feel supported.
As a language coach, my aim is to have people feeling great when they learn with me. That’s why the name of my program is “Have Fun Learning French,” because it should be fun. I believe you remember things better if you have fun and if you work on things that truly interest you. Sometimes, you have to learn some things by heart, but even then, you can still turn it into a game.
Another important thing is the type of content you learn in my class. At school, you learn French by the book- the conventional French. However most French people use slang most of the time. So after learning French in a regular school, people are able to express themselves in well-put together sentences.
But when those same people arrive in France for holidays or business, they are completely lost because the French people around them speak with words they have never heard of. They wouldn’t learn this in a regular school. So I teach slang in my class and a lot of cultural facts. Understanding how a culture works is already half of the lesson learned and makes a big difference.
I also organize webinars where I share some of my tips to learn a language fast.
My best recommendations for you:
- Multiply social interactions with the locals. I learned Portuguese faster by living with Brazilian roommates, by hanging out with Brazilian friends or simply listening to my teachers in Portuguese even if, at the beginning, it was hard to understand. Find opportunities to meet locals and connect with them. It can also be online (eg. via Facebook, Skype or Zoom)
- Make mistakes. There is a simple rule: NO BILINGUALISM WITHOUT PRACTICE. Don’t be shy! So many North Americans feel bad their first time in front of me: “I don’t speak French very well”. I usually reply that it’s a good thing, otherwise I would not have a job anymore! Making mistakes is what makes us better at the end of the day. The more you speak the more you have a chance to reach a good level.
- Find your learning style. One of the things that helped me was to read my favorite book in Portuguese. As I knew it by heart already, it was easy to associate the new vocabulary to the one I knew from my native language (French). You can also make flashcards with the vocabulary you need to know, have sticky notes all around your house etc. Listen to tons of podcasts or music in the language you want to master. Movies are also a great way to relax while learning a few things.
- Get to know the culture associated with the language you want to learn. Understanding how people communicate and it’s already half of the lesson learned.
- Finally... HAVE FUN! Don’t forget: we are never too old to learn something. Be aware of your own learning potential! And to remember things better, a bit of originality and fun does not hurt. I make my class interactive with roleplays, fun facts about French culture and some jokes because I know my students have a better chance to remember that at the end of the day.”
For people interested in learning French with Océane, contact her and use the code *French4ever* to save 50$ on 10 lessons!
Learn French today from the comfort of your home for only 250$ instead of 300$.
A bientôt !