Preparing for your language stay at the Ecole des Trois Ponts
We would like to offer some advice that, we hope, will address some subjects that you may want to consider, as well as some specific answers to questions that you might have for us.
1. Study your motivations
There are multiples reasons that you might have for taking a language class:
Professional - in order to attain new skills for your job or to advance to a new employment opportunity.
Personal - simply for pleasure and the desire to discover life "à la française”.
You might also need a stimulating break during the course of your studies.
In short, many reasons can motivate you to take a language-learning stay. But whatever the reasons, know that the principal driver of learning a language and therefore your best ally, is your own motivation!
"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes." Benjamin Franklin
2. When should I come?
It doesn't matter what time of the year or at what stage you find yourself in life.
There isn't a moment that is more opportune than another to leave on your linguistic voyage. We've noticed that we have more Francophiles in our french immersion school in the spring and in the fall. Our stays begin on Sundays (arrival after 4:00 pm so you can settle in) and end on Saturday (departure before 11:00 am). Classes begin on Monday morning.
3. How to choose the duration of your stay
The longer your stay, the more your French level will improve. But whatever the length of your stay, you will leave with a solid base thanks to the total immersion method. For those who don't live very far away, two short stays in a year are more beneficial than a visit that lasts longer. It depends naturally on your personal learning style.
After 1 week : you will begin to adapt to the rhythm of the classes, to engage in more active listening and to share more with fellow students.
After 2 weeks: we broaden the exchanges on more specific subjects, your knowledge will continue to deepen. You will progressively integrate yourself into another culture.
After 3 weeks: in all circumstances, you will profit greatly from the progress you have experienced in class.
A stay at the Ecole des Trois Ponts can be extended to a maximum of 4 weeks. Perhaps you will choose to extend your stay by discovering the beauty of our region or you may want to travel to other areas in France. This allows you put into practice all your newfound linguistic skills and see how much you have progressed.
4. What type of stay should I choose?
Do you simply want to do language study? Would you rather combine learning French with cooking classes, pastry classes or with walking excursions in the surrounding countryside? According to your tastes and interests, we can suggest a program that will be best suited for your needs. In all cases at the Ecole des Trois Ponts, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in French culture with the discovery of the art of dining at a French table. In fact, each evening at dinner our chef will suggest various wines. He will also explain all you've dreamed of knowing about different French cheeses and their production.
5. Selecting a good class
According to your wishes and objectives, you can choose a group class (maximum 6 participants) or take an individual class. With our program Intensive French, you are able to combine the two. But first, it's necessary to determine your proficiency level. An exam is available on our website that you can take at your convenience before your arrival. Once your proficiency level has been evaluated, we can help you choose the class which would best correspond to your skill level. In order to achieve a homogenous mix, we study the levels of the other participants and pair you with like individuals (should you decide on a group class).
The Monday morning before your first class, an individual oral test is given to confirm your initial proficiency level because there can be a large gap between written and spoken French. Success in a language school course comes from the consistency of the program chosen. In this regard, our advice on which class may be best suited for you, may be of great value. (But, don't forget that your personal motivation is extremely important!)
6. Study available options
Whatever the program chosen, during a week here at the Ecole, you will have some free time, typically on Wednesday afternoons. Also, to combine "business with pleasure" we offer some less studious activities outside of and near to the Ecole. These options aren't available online and no pre-reservations are necessary. You can decide once here at the beginning of the week if anything appeals to you. Our team will be delighted to give you relevant information on the day of your arrival.
We are also at your disposal if you need some advice on visiting the surrounding countryside and nearby medieval villages, special sites, chateaux and museums. Our region has a rich and varied history as well as scenic valleys, woodlands, and vineyards with scenic vistas over the Loire River. During your free time and especially if you stay for several weeks and are looking for activities for the weekends, you can rent a car, a bicycle, take a small barge cruise on the canal that runs between Roanne and Digoin.....or go all out and take the train to Chambery to see the Alps or further south to Avignon, the town of the Popes. Please don't hesitate to let us know your trip ideas, and we will help you to make them a reality.
7. Frequently asked questions
Pre-requisites are not necessary for a linguistic stay. You don't need to know the language, you are going to learn it during your visit. You simply need to come to the school at your current level of proficiency and we will adapt accordingly. We have some special weeks dedicated for complete beginners, allowing you to integrate into a group where you will feel at ease. The classes are very engaging with a lot of sharing and interactive games to make the lessons accessible and enjoyable.
There isn't a specific age for learning a language. The age of our participants varies from 3 years to 94 years! For the youngest students under the age of 12, we suggest lessons of 2 hours maximum per morning. For students aged 12 to 17, we highly recommend a private class. We look at the particular needs of each child, adjusting the course program to closely serve their specific needs.
Families are welcome at the Ecole des Trois Ponts. (To respect the experience of everyone, we limit the number of families to two.) Children accompanying their parents can come to the Ecole des Trois Ponts whether they choose to take the language classes or not. In order that the visit works well for everyone, we ask that good simple rules of conduct are respected. We also can arrange a baby-sitting service if we have several weeks advance notice before your arrival. Parents can adapt their class program in response to each family's situation. We will take your family's plans into account so that each member can be well placed during the stay. Nearby, there are various activities, like an equestrian center, an indoor pool, a cinema.
8. Practical questions
- Pack a universal adapter in your luggage in order to use your electric devices. We can also lend some to you.
- A pocket dictionary can be useful, especially during exchanges with shopkeepers when you travel into town.
- We have at your disposal some dictionaries and materials for the classes (pencils, notebooks...).
- On your arrival, we will give you the code so you can connect to our Wifi network.
- For those who choose French and Countryside Walks, good walking shoes are indispensable. Some walking sticks are available at the school.
- For the other classes, such as pastry or cooking, you won't need to bring any special equipment.
- To enroll, nothing could be easier! Send us your enrollment document by filling in our Application Form
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