I spent one of my best summers in my life in Lyon and realized my long term dream of actually speaking french.
I have been learning french for years since college. I've been really serious about it since 2013- watch french movies, go to class, listen to podcasts, etc. However, I just couldn't seem to make the break through I longed for- to be able to open my mouth and speak. I have native speaker teachers and friends but I get so tongue tied in front of them. I know the only way to start speaking is through practice but without the environment we just always ended up speaking English.
Spending a summer in France has always been my dream. To improve my french, I decided to combine pleasure and learning- one month travelling plus one month course at Alliance Francaise Lyon. It turned out to be a great plan.
At AF I had two of best teachers I've encountered in my life- Julian and Fabien. I can honestly say they are among the top 3 of all the french teachers i've ever had and i've taken many classes in 3 different countries...
AF also organized plenty of opportunities to practice and to enjoy Lyon. The classmates are very diverse and inspiring. There are also frequent after class activities- games, visits, screenings to encourage socializing among students of different levels. The students then organize activities at night, etc. I arrived tongue tied and after quickly after starting the course I was using French 24/7- with train controllers, at post office, shopping, travelling. It feels great!
AF staff are also highly friendly and helpful. You could ask for their help at anytime- Carole, Elody, Anais, David, etc. And they love to help you with french as well.
Lyon itself is a real treasure. Centrally located, it is easy to take weekend excursions by train. Weekend book fairs, concerts, farmer's market, delicious food, river view... It is a nice alternative to the hectic (and expensive) Paris.
Overall, this was one of my best summers. I do hope to have the chance to do it again next summer.