One student taking French classes in Naperville makes the most of learning a foreign language by studying in Paris.

NaperFrench Student attending French university in Paris

A Naperville French student enjoying a night out while studying in Paris

As a French teacher in Naperville IL, I am fully aware of the emphasis placed on students nowadays to learn a foreign language and I see how useful learning French is in today’s globalized and mobilized society. However, not everyone realizes just how much borders have opened up recently. There now exist vast possibilities for Americans not only to travel, but to study, work, and live in a foreign country as well.

One of my high school students taking French classes at NaperFrench expressed a desire to go beyond mere French lessons and actually immerse herself in the French experience with French language, culture, and lifestyle by studying in France. Several students receiving French tutoring from me in the past have had the opportunity to later use the French they acquired to go study abroad with a program through their American universities for a six of twelve month period. Studying abroad in this sense allows for students to experience a completely different culture and thus strengthen their understanding of the world around them- an important quality which translates not only on a social level but also on an academic and professional level to enhance the individual’s character.

This year, an ambitious student took the idea of studying abroad to the next level by applying for schools in France, meaning that the entire bachelor’s degree would be completed in Paris at a French School. This student started out taking French classes in Naperville with my private one on one tutoring system and has now successfully completed her first year of college at a French university. She couldn’t be happier, as she has not only been attending one of the top universities in France, but she has also had the chance to indulge in savory French food, learn about European history, experience Parisian culture, make foreign friends, and of course improve her foreign language skills. As an added bonus, she was able to travel all around Europe for a fully immersive experience.

While the idea of attending college in France may seem astounding or even nearly impossible to many, Americans can easily study abroad. Our modern society is so interconnected that it is easier than ever to study or live in another country. French schools and businesses are eager to have foreign individuals as part of their institutions, especially from the United States. There are several college programs, for example the euro-American studies program, and dual bachelor degrees with prestigious American universities like Columbia, Princeton, and Georgetown, that encourage Americans to study in France. You don’t even have to be fluent in French to study in France! Generous dual degrees allow for American students, even some who cannot even speak a word of French, to live in France while studying on an English track in all English courses, adding in French classes and immersion programs for them to learn the language during their stay. Other programs provide classes in a mix of French and English; Other American students who have taken French classes in the past and have extensive knowledge and experience in the French language may choose to challenge themselves by attending schools offering courses exclusively in French.

Although it is proven that private French lessons, French classes, and French tutoring alongside school-taught second language classes like those provided by NaperFrench are the best way for children, teens, and adults alike to learn a new language and bring students to a level of the language that is beyond what if provided in schools or at-home media lessons, I always advocate for my students to get real experience with the French language in a city like Paris. And, as amazing of an experience as a European vacation provides for someone looking to practice and improve their foreign language skills, being able to spend time in France for an extended period of time is veritably an experience like no other.

Studying abroad, whether in France of elsewhere, and whether for 3 months on exchange of 4 years while completing an entire degree, is truly the experience of a lifetime; I hope to foster more of such ambition for such an experience for more of my students and continue to prepare them for such adventures.