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Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

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Kent
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Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

Hello,

I am keen to go to Paris next year (whole of June) and learn French while out there. I have looked and liked Accord on Grands Boulevards and Eurocentres in the Latin Quarter, both seem to offer roughly the same value and don't have bad reviews (Euro is 10% better than Accord though). Which is best?

I am not sure about accomodation too, should I stay in the Residence Palais with Eurocentres or get an apartment?

Any insight into these questions will be great. Thanks a lot in advance.

los angeles
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1. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

How did you figure out that Euro is 10% better? Are the prices similar?

i can't comment on the schools themselves, but the Residence Palais that you ask about is advertised as "from $650 a week." You could get a hotel for that (unless this is room and board).

Unless I know more about the facilities, it is hard to comment--but wouldn't you rather have an apartment where you can prepare meals, etc? Or would you prefer living in a dorm situation with other students?

I think there are still too many variables to compare.

But as for the schools themselves--do they have a presence on Facebook, etc? Can you be put in touch with any "real" former students?

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

What's your budget for this? If you are already a college student with financial aid, you might look at colleges in your own nation that have courses in Paris during the summer (many do). Many colleges permit you to enroll in their summer programs even if you're not a regular student at that school. I don't know how things work in England, though (with financial aid - I presume you're from Kent, UK).

Both schools have similar certificates of accreditation and both offer homestay programs (which, IME, help students learn much more quickly than if they stay in a dorm with other non-French speakers or in an apartment by themselves). Homestays allow you to cook your own food and are cheaper than apartments, plus you get to practice the language (no amount of classroom instruction is going to improve your French as much has having to spontaneously speak it in a real life situation; you're not going to find a lot of places to practice French if you stay in an apartment - the other students won't know much more than you do).

The school in the 5th arrondissement puts you in the heart of French student life, so you might meet French students there (they'll want to practice their English, no doubt), but the organization of courses at Accord seems more flexible. Are you a complete beginner? If so, I don't think the more specialized curriculum at Accord will matter to you. OTOH, Accord's workshop/theater approach to practicing French is innovative and focuses on more than just grammar and pronunciation - that's pretty cool.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

So are you giving up on your original idea of finding a school-related program? I agree with LeBiscuit, that would be the best. And, it is ALOT easier to learn English outside of Paris - what happened with Lille?

Re: Homestays, the friends I know who did this had mixed reviews on this. Ranging from feeling obligated to eat food which they didn't like (daily), to having a "curfew" to prevent the hosts (who righly feel responsible) from feeling nervous.

A dorm-room situation will allow you to practice some French, but also you will be with others foreigners, which is a really comforting feeling when you are starting in a new place. A great way to learn the language, both before and during your trip, is to watch TV without subtitles (this is how babies learn - by associated words with emotions, and later learning the exact meaning).

Keep in mind that it's only a month - it will fly by, you probably won't be able to gain fluency that quickly, but you will have a fantastic time regardless of what you end up doing! :-)

Paris, France
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4. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

Learning a language abroad works best if you have at least an intermediate or pre-intermediate level in the language. If you're a rank beginner, take some classes at home first, then come to Paris when you have a solid grounding in the language. Otherwise your progress will be limited in Paris, you won't be able to communicate very well, and the expense of being in Paris will be largely wasted.

Kent
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5. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

mcal3K - I found a site that uses reviews to get a percentage. 78% for Accord and 87.8% for Eurocentres.

I have seen that the pricing is quite high, from £426 per week. An apartment would be £1200. It's cheaper to rent, but I'll be by myself... I couldn't imagine being in a hotel, I wouldn't get the real Parisian experience.

I emailed them and asked about the age and activities etc. and read a lot of reviews from students, they all seem reasonably happy with, except for the social side, which is typically rated 1 star. This is annoying because I really want to make some friends and go out and explore the city.

LeBiscuit D - Well, my buidget is basically what I can afford, under £3000 really. I haven't set a budget as I can use money from different places.

I'm not sure I'd like the idea of joining another schools' programme, especially as I don't know if they exist and it would make me feel quite strange!

I can see what you mean about them, but I couldn't do a homestay either, I have read some bad things about them, plus I'd want to have my own freedom to come and go as I please, without the need to just use a house with some 40+ year old people...

I'm not a complete beginner, I am in the sense of grammar, yet I understand a lot of French words and meanings. So, it's mixed.Thanks for reviewing their curriculum, that'll come in handy.

Rasteriasha - I tried Lille, but there was only one school and it didn't seem great, plus Lille is tiny in comparison with Paris and if I want to see other parts of France while out there it's much easier to go around compared with Lille. Even though I love Le Nord!

'Re: Homestays, the friends I know who did this had mixed reviews on this. Ranging from feeling obligated to eat food which they didn't like (daily), to having a "curfew" to prevent the hosts (who righly feel responsible) from feeling nervous.' - This is exactly what I mean with them...

That's true, but as it's during the summer, do you think I'd get all the foreign school kids, or will there be just people of my age?

I am already watching the TV channels when I can, especially i-Tele and listen to Inter and other radio.

Thanks, do you think it's long enough to hold a conversation, especialoly if I really immerse myself?

Euromanic - Great to hear from a Parisian (need more!)

I can understand basic French so I think I will be able to pick it up. Currently trying to grasp grammar and so on. As soon as I get there every time I go (I've been over 9 times this year) I am ok.

Kent
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6. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

Also, I have just taken a look on Google and seen that the Residence Du Palais offered by Eurocentres (eurocentres.com/en/…accommodation) is this:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g187147-d6514…

Perhaps an apartment it is! The reviews are not that favourable, when I could be staying in a much nicer apartment for a little less. But will I still meet people?!

This is my gripe, I just want to meet people so I am not alone in the city the whole month.

los angeles
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7. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

i think you may need to focus on your top priorities and work down from there. If your main goal is to attend the best language program possible, then you may need to be willing to let other things play second fiddle (social life, for example).

If what you really want to do is to go to Paris on your own, yet meet other young people to socialize with, then your best bet might be to skip the language school and just go to Paris (and other spots in France)--and stay in hostels where you will meet other young travelers.

Paris, France
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8. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

I tend to agree with mcal - sounds like the social aspect is more what you have in mind, though improving language skills is not far behind that.

Have you looked into the various expat meetup groups? Here's one:

www.meetup.com

Kent
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9. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

I wouldn't say social side is the primary concern, because as I know what to roughly expect from the language course and how it will play out. However, when it comes to the social side, I know what'll happen to me, I'll not find anyone to hang out with so that will then lower morale and thus the learning. So, I want to make sure both aspects are taken care of.

I've had a look on meetups and so on, so there are a few options.

Edited: 17 December 2013, 21:11
CT
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10. Re: Can someone sort out my dilemma with a language school?

Josh, if you are really serious about learning French, please look into the institute in Ville Franche. It is excellent with a great immersion program. They offer very reasonalbe housing. I had to learn French in order to work. I was looking into this program and spoke to friends who took it but didn't go (a French partner changed my plans but you can't just sign up for this!).