I met up with a local exchange student to work on my French conversation yesterday. It was slow and awkward, but certainly gave my memory recall and pronunciation a work out! It is the first time I have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with a native speaker in French. I have had one Skype call with a French lady from a language exchange site for around an hour before now, but not face to face. Despite being hands down the most awkward 90 minutes I have endured for quite some time, I am so glad I took the plunge. Language learning without a place to use it just feels so dry!
Although the environment was very noisy (cafes are often difficult, but where else is so easy to get to?), it was great to listen to a native speaker. Even better was having a native speaker speak too quickly for me! That may sound weird, but it shows me just how much work I need to put in to be conversational with the average person on the street.
Being the first meeting, we didn’t run out out of things to talk about … he kept me talking for the best part of an hour about me and my life, and then started talking a little more so that I can work on my listening – by far my weakest skill in French. (Pretty typical, really.)
The challenge will be next week… I will have to research a topic so I have the vocabulary to discuss it!