What is immersion? It’s a specific way of learning a language, where the target language (language desired) isn’t just a subject matter, but the teaching tool. Think of it as surrounding yourself with the language, and almost everything you do involves it. When I traveled to France for a month, I spoke nothing but French… As I neared the final week of my visit, I felt I was learning new words and constructions on a daily basis! Subliminally, you read a French advertisement and the sentence construction sticks, or you talk to somebody and they say a phrase a certain way… this is how learning by immersion works the best! It was only about 30 days and I saw results, so I’m certain that by immersing yourself for a year would show great results on your French.
Immersion programs are sometimes offered in certain French universities or language teaching schools. Otherwise, the easiest way to be immersed is to live abroad for a period of a few weeks to a few years. Obviously the shorter your stay, the more you would have to do with the language on a daily basis to get a similar experience. If you want to immerse yourself in France, there is no point in going with a group of English speakers (because, you’ll find yourself speaking English with them)! The more time you speak French with everybody, the better.
Okay, so now that you know what immersion is, where can you go to be immersed? Currently, there are 29 countries that have announced France as it’s official language. Below is the list of Francophone countries where you could possibly immerse yourself!
French-speaking Countries by Population:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Côte D’Ivoire
- Burkino Fasa
- Central African Republic
- Republic of Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
|The following countries are show here. Map provided by Wikipedia.|
Take note that from the list above, only five of the countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco) are situated in Europe. Most people don’t want to travel to Africa to practice their French, but it could be a great experience!
Now, if you’re still a student… try to see if your college or university provides has a study abroad program! If you’re an adult, maybe your work could be taken to France or to Africa for a short period of time. Obviously it’s rather difficult to immerse yourself for too long without some sort of program and/or financial backing.
Please note that I’m not trying to discourage anybody! I know that all my French classes are now trying to “immerse” us in the classroom. Which means that for the entire class period, we will only speak, read, write, and breathe French. Although this may not be as effective as living in a Francophone country, it does help improve your French if you have class daily. Bonne chance avec vos études!
Any immersion experiences out there? We’d love to see them in the comments section!
Check out my guide: How to Increase Your French Vocabulary.
Try immersing yourself in music! Listening to French natives singing will help you better pronounce words and phrases! Check out my library of translated French songs to get started.
Immersion is clearly the fastest way to become fluent, but combining both online classes an immersion trips works amazing.
I work for a French school in Quebec City, which is a 100% French Speaking city in Canada. A lot of the students learn through online or real classes + youtube videos year-round and come for a few weeks of immersion at some point of the year. They clearly do amazing by taking the best of both :)
Shouldn’t Mauritius be part of this list of French speaking countries?…
Of course. Mauritius is a multilingual country, and French is a dominant language.