Meet Coffee Break French learner, Krissie, a 21 year old final year Biology student from London. Krissie recently spent some time working with the Radio Lingua team so we caught up with her to discuss her language-learning experience with Coffee Break.
Krissie begins by telling us where her love for French began: “When I was little I really didn’t want to learn French. My grandpa has always had an absolute passion for French. He did a degree when he retired and he absolutely loves it. So, he always tried to get me to learn French when I was younger but I wouldn’t do it because I was an annoying little child. I was forced to do it at school during my GCSEs which my Grandpa loved. I sometimes loved it, sometimes hated it…and then I dropped it to pursue science. The reason I picked it back up again was because I wanted to communicate with my Grandpa more. I used to see him a lot before I went to University and I don’t get to see him that much now so I thought that if I picked up his hobby we would have something to chat about and I could write to him in French.”
Coffee Break French was the first resource Krissie found online after deciding to start learning French again. Impressed with what she heard, Krissie quickly became a loyal customer. Depending on her schedule, she often listens to Coffee Break French during her breaks at university. Sometimes she has time to listen to 3 podcasts a day! “I love listening to them when I walk my dog. If I’m out for an hour I will normally listen to three but when I’m studying I might manage one or two a week and sometimes none at all, but I just fit it around my schedule.”
Krissie mentions that the length of the podcasts make learning French more manageable: “I love it because it’s in such bitesize chunks and you’re only listening for 15/20 minutes at a time. The stuff that you learn is quite condensed so you learn things really quickly.”
A lack of listening practise while studying French at school has made it difficult for Krissie to understand the language when communicating with native speakers. However, since learning with Coffee Break, she feels that her listening skills have improved: “All the Coffee Break French podcasts are listening based so you’re hearing the text and you’re hearing people talk in the language so my listening skills have advanced massively.”
Thanks to her part time job at the London Eye, Krissie has the chance to practise her language skills with the huge number of French tourists that come to visit: “It’s really great to be able to speak to them in their language and they really appreciate it because so few English people speak French. My ability to speak to them has really come on…I’m only at intermediate level so I’ve got a long way to go, but if I ask them to speak slowly and they go easy on me then I can just about manage a simple conversation.”
In terms of overcoming the challenges that come with studying a foreign language, Krissie believes that perseverance is key: “It took me a long time to realise how long it takes to become fluent in another language, or just really confident in a language. To keep going when you know you have such a long journey ahead of you is quite difficult, but since Coffee Break French podcasts are so cheerful all the time, it kind of helps to keep your enthusiasm up.”