I Can’t Speak French (yet)!

By: Isabella Banich


My name is Isabella, and I don’t know basic French, or at least I didn’t until I arrived here. At first, navigation and ordering food was almost impossible, but through Google translate and the kindness of strangers, I am starting to pick up on the language.

The first steps are learning the greetings and responses. Hello, goodbye, please, thank you, okay, etc. These will come naturally after a while (it took me only 3 days!).

However, if you have special diet restrictions or a certain way you take your coffee, you need to deepen your understanding. Because I’m a pescatarian (No meat, but fish and seafood are okay), I learned each of the words for different types of meat (on paper and vocally!).

This made it miles (kilometers?) easier to make sure I purchase what I can eat. Another thing that is helpful to know is directions! (Where is the road/toilet/apple? Left, right, behind, over etc.) I still haven’t mastered this, but being exposed to the language all of the time really helps me practice.

Just know that there will be awkward situations, but that you will be able to get through them using context clues and hand motions!