How to Learn a Language as an Au Pair

Learning a language from scratch can seem super overwhelming. But, it is by far one of the best things you can do during your year abroad. Throw yourself into your language learning and you’ll find it easier to find a job when you’re back home. (Or if you decide to stay in your new adopted country, for that matter!)

Lessons are a great place to meet new friends in the city and start your language learning journey. However, it’s also a good idea to take your learning outside of the classroom too.

In this blog post, we’ll be looking at just a few alternative ways to learn a new language. If you’re feeling bored of flicking through a grammar book, break up your revision and do one of these things:

1. Watch a Film on Netflix

Do your host kids absolutely LOVE watching Netflix? This is a fantastic way to improve your level of French. Kids films and TV shows will help you grasp some of the basics. Put on the sub-titles and listen closely. Whenever you come across a word you want to remember, write it down in a notebook.

The best thing about watching TV shows with your host kids is that you’ll likely be watching the same episodes a few times over. As a result, you’ll get a chance to enhance your learning. Hopefully, after a few watches, you can take away the subtitles.

If your host kids aren’t allowed to watch TV, instead watch a film in your language of choice in the evening. This is a great way to get to know the local culture too.

2. Follow Instagrammers and YouTubers

As well as changing your phone into French, why not also make sure you follow a lot of influencers who speak French? This is a great way to practice a little bit of French every now and again.

Of course, it won’t replace your grammar books. But, you will learn some useful phrases and slang words this way. Remember to write them down when you come across them so you can revise them again later.

3. Read Children’s Books

As an au pair, you have access to a lot of kid’s books. Borrow a few and read through them every single night before bed. This will help improve your grammar and vocabulary. As you improve, continue to read books of different levels.

Instead of viewing this activity as a difficult translation time, focus on enjoying reading. Try to get as much out of the book as possible. Don’t beat yourself up if you can only understand a few lines!

4. Make French Friends

This is very intimidating but it is definitely one of the best ways to learn a new language. You could meet locals by going to a sports club, looking for a Tandem Partner, or by going to an evening art class.

Unfortunately, Covid is making it difficult to meet people in person. But, you could speak to a Tandem Partner online or join a group via Facebook to begin chatting to people.

When you’ve made a few French friends, ask to speak in their mother-tongue. In no time, you’ll find that you’ve greatly improved your skills.

5. Speak to Your Host Family

Why not ask to talk to your host parents one night of the week in French? If they have just an hour to help you out every week, you may notice a huge difference. As COVID is keeping us all inside, this is a great way to bond with your host family.

It may feel very intimidating to begin speaking in another language with your host parents. But, they know that you are very new to the language and will most likely be very helpful!

Why not set a topic to talk about for an hour. By doing this, you will be able to revise specific vocabulary in preparation. If this feels too much like a test, why not suggest a glass of wine too!

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