It’s hot and sunny outside, it’s hard to focus. Maybe you’re supposed to go on vacation in July or August. Suddenly, you’re wondering how you can still learn French during the summer holidays.
How can you sustain your French learning routine? The one you struggled to establish and were finally accustomed to…
And first of all, should you even keep studying? Aren’t vacation supposed to be “down” time, where you do nothing and just enjoy life without obligations?
Let’s see what are your options. Of course, everyone’s different so it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Should you learn French during your summer holidays?
Our brain is partisan du moindre effort (“supporter of the least effort”) which means it likes to save its energy and do the least amount of effort to perform a task. In order to achieve that, it tries to automate everything we do.
This is the reason why we need a lot of repetition first, before something can be automated.
But it also needs breaks to rejuvenate and allow for creative juices to flow. If a neuronal connection is well established, taking a break won’t make it disappear. If it’s in its early stages, it’s still weak and the break may slow it down but it will grow back again when you start using it again.
So you should’nt fear that you’ll completely forget your French during your vacation.
Our brain loves routine
We need and love routine because it feels good, it doesn’t drain our energy. Everything that’s on “autopilot” is one less thing we have to worry about. And that’s why our brains are averse to change. Centuries of evolution have built an instinctive response system that often equates change to bad things. If not to bad things, at least with stress.
It may not be so true with periods of vacation because we know they’re temporary. The change is not permanent, hence not scary. However, even a 2-weeks break can ruin months-long efforts to build a healthy routine.
Maybe you had dedicated time slots to study French or listen to a podcast on your way to work but now an array of fun activities and periods to relax are putting French on the back burner.
Don’t beat yourself up and enjoy your vacation.
Our brains also need these periods of rest and doing nothing. We don’t have to feel bad about it.
However, make sure to go back to your routine or plan a new one for when vacation is over. Maybe this resting period will bring new creative ideas to make your existing routine more efficient to learn French.
To maintain your French neuronal connections, you could find ways to keep in touch with French during your vacation. Plan some fun activities…
However, if you’ve planned a staycation or if you have less work while all your colleagues are on holiday, summer seems like a great opportunity to increase your exposure to French!
What can you do to learn French during your holidays?
Being on vacation is your chance to unwind. On the other hand, because you have so many opportunities to relax, maybe you could find a new French-learning routine for this short period.
Routine is great but it also gets boring and that’s when you lose your motivation and hit a plateau.
Why not take advantage of summer holidays to shake things up a bit and find new activities to practice French?
Don’t feel like learning something completely new?
Schedule 30 minutes a day (for example) to sit down and work on your weakest points. Or maybe you could expand your vocabulary by learning new words related to your vacation (mind maps and drawings are fun activities to do while on vacation!) or study the irregular verbs that are bothering you (invent stories, use flashcards while relaxing by the pool…).
At the beginning of your holidays, make a list of your most frequent errors, ones where you know the rule but you forget when you speak. Then do some targeted practice to try to reduce their frequency. That would already be a big win! Make sure to reward yourself as you progress.
You prefer to stay active and feel ready to learn French intensively?
I recently read an article saying that “smart holidays” are a big trend. You take advantage of your vacation to learn new skills.
If that’s your kind of holidays, please use this time to schedule an intensive French course!
I’m accompanying a few very motivated clients this summer. The highly personnalized approach we’re taking is different than registering for a summer program in a school.
We’re really working on your priorities and assess your strengths and weaknesses. We’re not wasting time working on things you already know, rather we use them to improve your overall skills. In a school, the instructor has to take into consideration everyone’s particularities and can’t offer a custom plan for each student.
In a 1:1 setting you also have a lot more speaking time and can focus solely on topics relevant to your situation. Whether you’re working with me or a teacher/tutor,
make sure to communicate your needs clearly and take initiative.
Learn to trust yourself to find out what you need and make sure you address these issues first. Your coach, teacher, tutor may suggest areas of improvement but ultimately you’re in charge of the learning process.
Don’t believe people who say you can learn a language fast and easily.
Do believe people who say it can be fun and rewarding to learn!
Want to learn French during summer holidays?
Schedule a quick chat to discuss your options.