If you've ever fancied a trip to Paris, Montreal or New Caledonia, learning French is a great idea. It's obvious that if you can talk to the locals, your travel experiences will be richer. And it's a beautiful language. Learning French also makes it easier to understand the many excellent French movies released each year.
So where's the best place to learn French in Melbourne? For a town that's located so far away from France, there's a surprisingly wide range of options. There are several language schools - Alliance Francaise in St Kilda, as well as Lyceum and Language Champs. Both Lyceum and Language Champs are located across a range of suburbs, making it easier to find a class within cooee of where you live.
If you attend a group class, it will usually set you back around $30 per week. Private lessons are more expensive, starting at about $50 per hour. The advantage of private classes is that you often learn the language faster. Group classes are cheaper, and, in my view, more fun. You not only learn the language but can share it with like-minded others.
There are also cheaper and even free options. There are two French Meetup groups in Melbourne, with regular events where you can chat in French (or attempt to) with other Melbournites. There's a range of language ability in the Meetup groups and I've found people to be surprisingly patient and kind. The only requirement is that you try.
Another option that doesn't involve leaving home is a conversation exchange website such as conversationexchange.com or languageforexchange.com. Free to join, these websites give you the chance to meet native French speakers interested in improving their English. You can chat in French and English, helping each other improve, and learn about each other's cultures.
I've met some great French speakers this way and chat to them regularly via skype. It's a good way to learn how people really speak and meet some great people (who've patiently accepted my mangling their language).
This is a great article, I'm currently on the search for a beginner course in French. I love that you've mentioned some cheaper and free options, because I'm on a budget. The 'Opening Doors School of Languages' offers quite a cheap course and a free trial lesson for $20 which is great if you want to try it out. There's also a group on couchsurfers that regularly meets to practise French. I guess in the end it takes lots of practise and motivation!
Yes, it does make all the difference - immersion... I have just launched a Francophile Walk in Melbourne.. After many years of doing for Visiting French tourists, I realised there was a local community that was interested in the City, and also all things French, and even practicing their own - Alors... Voila.. Those interested can email me via our website, facebook :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bonjour-Melbourne-Walks/167974076626839 or via Twitter @BonjourMelbourne.. we will post more here on WeekendNotes soon..www.hiddensecretstours.com This tour begins in Late November, and start at $50pp for 2.5 hours with tastings, and a glass of wine to conclude. ( price depends on group size) I so love all the other options that you have mentioned too - especially the Meet Ups!
I have long lost my grasp on French and have to take several minutes to translate even reasonably basic things sometimes. That said, I would love to be fluent. Since I have it all somewhere in my mind and just have to be 'reminded', and since I understand basic conjugation, etc, my choice is audio learning - and I do have the CDs, just need some dedicated listening time!
I am a French teacher from France and I started to organise a new French meetup. So I just wanted to share this with you, it is called "Calling All Melbourne Francophiles".
I also give private and group classes- here is the link for my website :http://www.chezlesfrenchies.com