Taking the Dalf at 50 – Week 3 and 4 of French Class

Written May 23, 2015

8 week immersion course at ILA, Institut Linguistique Adenet, Montpellier, France

I didn’t write last weekend simply because I was too depressed. My first week of the Dalf prep course was much more difficult than I imagined and made more intolerable by a professor who made me feel that I really didn’t have the level of French to be worth her time. My presentation for the week – you are given two documents to review and have to speak on the given subject for 10 minutes – went poorly. She marks your mistakes on the white board as you speak – very distracting and only adding to my lack of confidence, which when I speak is my biggest challenge.

I tell myself that it’s only that I need more practice. I know that I have the knowledge and that confidence will come the more I speak. I just need to chill and let it flow together. Somehow that just isn’t me, but I keep trying.

We also had to write two essays. I was dead tired – not sleeping because I was worried about the oral presentation and then worried about the essays because I was exhausted.

All in all, the week went poorly, but I’m in it for the long haul. I studied over the weekend and started again the next week.

The second week of the prep course went much better. Turns out my essays, despite my fatigue, were pretty decent. She asked me if I had used a dictionary, but in truth I wrote them while sitting at a café, sans dictionnaire. She seemed to accept my answer and my placement in the class.

It’s still hard. I don’t feel my progress, just my mistakes; my wrong answers, my faulty grammar, my lack of vocabulary, my miscomprehension. It wears on my morale and it takes everything I have to keep plodding forward. This is a vacation?

I have taken some time off from my studies and participated in a few school activities. Cheese tasting at the school, tapas night at a local restaurant, and wine tasting at a couple of local wineries. They do other sightseeing type activities as well but since I know the region, having lived here a couple of years ago, I haven’t bothered. Don’t want to take the time away from studying. Heaven forbid.

I met some interesting women. All of whom only stayed a short two weeks so I didn’t get the chance to know them very well. Still, it’s fun to go out, drink wine and speak French. This is the vacation part.

Wow this really doesn’t sound like I’m doing better. It sort of comes in waves, like getting over jetlag.

Tomorrow is another holiday; there are about 4 national French holidays in May. More time to study.

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