What I’ve Gained from Learning French

6 min readSep 9, 2021

And 5 Language Learning Tips for You

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Some people are extroverts. They have a great relationship with themselves, a great relationship with alcohol, don’t question the consequences of anything, and dive in headfirst. These people thrive in situations like moving to a new country and not speaking the native language.

I am not this kind of person.

I fret. I let my knowledge of not speaking perfectly prevent me from fully experiencing the city I live in. I don’t speak imperfectly; in fact, I barely spoke. Not by an inability to do so, but because I was afraid.

I’ve been studying French for almost two years.

When I say studying, I mean, half-ass studying. I mean a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there, an occasional week, a poorly invested program three times, etc.

When I began studying French, I half-assed it initially because I wasn’t here very much. I came for a few weeks and then would travel for a few weeks. I had a casual relationship with France.

Naturally, COVID made my relationship with France change. I went from being casual to being a bit more exclusive. But even then I wasn’t sure that I was going to stay here. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to, and because of that, I didn’t take my studying seriously.

I also had become incredibly discouraged by third parties. The boy I was seeing was astounded by my inability to speak when I’d only been learning the language for a few months.

He, jaw almost entirely dropped, exclaimed once:

WOW, you are REALLY bad.

Combine that with my family’s messaging of how “sad” “pathetic” and “disappointing” I am that I thought:

Why bother, I’m shit all the way around.

I’ve been able to rekindle my eagerness to learn. Not just from an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mentality, but because my comprehension, for some reason, magically has improved and I’m motivated by my notable improvement.

It’s actually not magic. It’s a state of mind and resources.


Living between Seattle & Paris. Student of people, self, French, and yoga in between.