Learn French Fluently Without Culture Shock

by : Paul Brown

Culture shock is a perfectly normal but inevitable part of the adjustment process whenever a person enters a new culture. If you are going to spend more than a few weeks in any French-speaking country, with these 5 important forget-me-nots you can minimize the signs of culture shock such as the feeling of homesickness, frustration, alienation, resentment and anger to name a few, to help you through the phases of feeling comfortable when living abroad.

1. Communication Breakdown: You should learn to speak French fluently because communication is paramount when it comes to getting to know and to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings. This is true for both adults and children. When you learn French fluently, you will be able to deal with the day-to-day activities (your system of paying bills, shopping, getting medical help, dealing with transport, administrative affairs, etc) that are apart of our existence and to be better equipped at dealing with the natives and making new friends. You should also make a conscious effort to observe how French people communicate with each other, in this way you will learn French fast and feel less alienated and more connected.

2. Don't Know Much About History: You need to complement your French lessons by learning about the country, the people and their culture. By having some history in hand, France and the French will seem less foreign or threatening.

3. Monkey See, Monkey Do: In your environment you should try to mirror the behavior of the French people you want to get to know. For example, never assume that the social etiquette in the workplace among colleagues is the same at your job back home. Observe constantly and do not hesitate to ask questions about things you are not sure about, you will be appreciated more for being open to learning and respecting their social manners.

4. Time Is On Your Side: Give yourself time to observe and discover how the French themselves deal with the routines of daily living. No doubt there will be things you had back home you do not have here, especially your family and network of friends. But rest assured that when you return back to normal life at home, you will see how much you have gained from experiencing other ways of dealing with these necessities of life.

5. Birds Of A Feather Flock Together: Find comfort with fellow expatriates. Because expats have gone through the same process of adaptation, they can be a good source of advice and comfort to help you assimilate into the culture more quickly. You can find clubs and organizations in France, for example, where you can speak English or whatever other mother tongue you may have.

Learn French fluently and get the most out of the time you have in France to accumulate memorable experiences and make life-long friends. It is obviously much easier to survive, adjust, and integrate into French society if you speak French. Do not forget these 5 tips and in time and with patience you will find your niche and culture shock will be less of a hindrance and only a small learning curve.