Studying abroad: French in Lyon

I started studying French in the late 2011/early 2012 (I don’t remember very well). In the beginning, I have not had much idea of ​​how to study alone. I did a little search on the internet and decided to try to use the FSI course.

Despite the difficulties, I was able to follow the course with no problem until the fourth chapter, but the course began to get hard and I gave up. Then, I spend several months without studying. This did not happen just once, but several times over the years and with other methods. In 2014, I started taking French more seriously; it was then that I managed to finish several courses, such as Assimil, FSI French and Duolingo.

However, I took a break from my French studies to dedicate myself to the DELE (Spanish Diploma as Foreign Language), and after succeeding, I decided it was time to dedicate myself 100% to French. It was then, in late 2014, early 2015 that I started to look for a place to study in France.

Choosing the city

The French consulate has a website where you can search for places to study in France, from language courses to post-doctorate. While seeking a school, the first thing I did was to exclude Paris for being a very expensive city. I also avoided very small towns in France. Continue reading

5 Bilinguals Songs in French

I was listening to the song Inséparables from Zaz with the Spanish singer Pablo Alborán and I thought, how genius is to be able to listen to a song in two different languages. I love bilingual songs , they’re perfect to study and to be in touch with several languages at the same time.

Zaz & Pablo Alboran – Inséparables

Languages: French and Spanish

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Grammar books

Grammar: some people love it, most run away from it. I am part of the majority, I do not like to study grammar, but unfortunately, it is impossible to escape from it if you want to speak a language well. So now and then I dedicate myself to it. Today, I will give tips on some books I like.

grammar books (1)


Grammar in Use

I believe that these are the most famous grammar books in the world. The series has become a reference for English learners, mainly for its simple approach. In one page, simple explanations and in the other, exercises. I really like this kind of book, because of its simplicity.

Essential Grammar in Use with Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Elementary Students of English

English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English

Advanced Grammar in Use with Answers: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Advanced Learners of English

Cassell’s Students’ Grammar English by Jake Allsop

For those who like to dig a little deeper; a good option is the book: Students’ Grammar English. The book has a simple approach, but it has very good explanations and illustrations.

Students’ English Grammar

Students’ English Grammar Exercises with Answers


Planet@ ELE. Libro de referencia gramatical: fichas y ejercicios

For beginners I recommend the Planet@ ELE. Libro de referencia gramatical: fichas y ejercicios, which is divided into four levels. As the collection Grammar in Use, the book has the explanation in one side and in the other exercises. The difference is that it is more simple and short.

Planet@ 1. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 2. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 3. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Planet@ 4. Libro de referencia gramatical, fichas y ejercicios (Spanish Edition)

Another book that I also recommend is the Diccionario Práctico de Gramática which is a work of grammar reference. The explanations are simple with lots examples. Besides the grammatical structures, they explain also words and their typical uses.

Diccionario practico de gramatica (Spanish Edition)

Diccionario practico de gramatica: libro de ejercicios: 800 fichas de uso correcto del espanol (Spanish Edition)

Diccionario practico de gramatica. Claves del Libro de ejercicios (Spanish Edition)


Grammaire Progressive

Again, a course that puts the grammatical explanation in one page and in the other exercises. It is also a simple, progressive and well-illustrated book. . The course has four levels. In my experience, it is the most recommended by French teachers.

Grammaire Progressive Du Francais: Niveau Debutant (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive Du Francais – Nouvelle Edition: Livre Intermediaire 3e Edition + Cd-audio (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive du Français: Niveau Avancé (French Edition)

Grammaire Progressive du Francais: Livre Perfectionnement (French Edition)


Klipp und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik

This is the book that I am currently using to learn German. And it has the same style of the previous books. At the end of the book, it has great reference lists. There are two books, one that is destined to the B1 level, and another to the most advanced level (B2/C1).

Klipp Und Klar: Klipp Und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik Grundstufe Deutsch – MIT Losungen (German Edition)

Klipp Und Klar: Klipp Und Klar – Ubungsgrammatik Mittelstufe Deutsch B2/C1 (German Edition)

Collection Practice Makes Perfect – McGraw Hill

For other languages, there is also the Practice Makes Perfect series. There are available in several different grammatical topics and by level. There are, for example, books just about verbs or just about pronouns and prepositions. As they are full of exercises, they are great for testing your grammar skills intensively and to devote yourself to subjects in which you have more difficulty. Here is a list of the books I found.


Practice Makes Perfect Arabic Pronouns and Prepositions (Practice Makes Perfect Series)


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Chinese


Practice Makes Perfect French Verb Tenses (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French All-in-One

Practice Makes Perfect French Problem Solver: With 90 Exercises (Practice Makes Perfect (McGraw-Hill))

Practice Makes Perfect: Intermediate French Grammar: With 145 Exercises (Practice Makes Perfect Series)


Practice Makes Perfect Basic English, Second Edition: (Beginner) 250 Exercises + Flashcard App + 90-minute Audio (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect Intermediate English Grammar for ESL Learners (Practice Makes Perfect Series)

Practice Makes Perfect English Articles and Determiners Up Close

Practice Makes Perfect English Grammar for ESL Learners, 2nd Edition: With 100 Exercises

Practice Makes Perfect English Problem Solver: With 110 Exercises


Practice Makes Perfect Intermediate German Grammar

Practice Makes Perfect German Verb Tenses, 2nd Edition: With 200 Exercises + Free Flashcard App

Practice Makes Perfect German Problem Solver: With 130 Exercises


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Hindi


Practice Makes Perfect Italian Problem Solver: With 80 Exercises

Practice Makes Perfect Italian Verb Tenses, 2nd Edition: With 300 Exercises + Free Flashcard App


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Japanese

Practice Makes Perfect Complete Japanese Grammar


Practice Makes Perfect Basic Latin


Basic Portuguese


Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish Grammar

Practice Makes Perfect Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions, Premium 3rd Edition

Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish All-in-One

Practice Makes Perfect: Intermediate Spanish Grammar: With 160 Exercises

International TV series

Everybody knows I love American series, but there are good series that are not in English. Here are some of them.

Deutschland 83

Language: German

In 1983, during the Cold War, a young East German soldier is chosen to spy a West German official who has information about US plans to install missiles in the West Germany.

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How to enrich your reading with audio

Reading in another language is a great activity to acquire more vocabulary, to learn more expressions, to immerse yourself in the target language, plus, you increase your cultural knowledge. But how to boost this activity?

Igor Barca

Reading with audio is one of the best ways I found to study a language. The only drawback is that you must be prepared to manage two media: your text and you audio file. But I assure you, nothing better than to hear a native reading while you follow the text.

The association word-pronunciation is strengthened and you begin to realize that you were pronouncing words incorrectly or that one word has more than one pronunciation. Reading and listening to a poem at the same time can be a great way to start applying this technique, since,  for the most part, the poem is a short text and contains rhythm and rhymes, elements that facilitate and invite the reader to read aloud. Although a book is (almost) always longer than a poem, you can still follow the reading with a certain ease. Another benefit is that you can retrocede the audio when you want to solve a doubt about pronunciation.

I know it may sound crazy, it looks like you will not be able to concentrate on both at once, but if you try, you will see that is not like that. It’s a matter of habit; adaptation is faster than you think.

This method also works great for when you are unable to focus on a very boring book, required by the university, for example. I can’t tell how many books I’ve read in this way and for that reason: from Shakespeare to Proust, all the books that I considered boring or difficult were read exactly like that. There are some sites that you can use to undertake this task. I’ll show links in five languages: Continue reading

Review of the course Mission Europe

One of the first courses I completed when I was studying French was the course “Mission Europe: Paris”. With German, it was no different. In just one day I finished “Mission Europe: Berlin“.

Mission Europe are courses developed with the support of the European Union to promote three languages: French, German and Polish. Currently, the courses can be found on the Deutsche Welle website.

The course is aimed at A1 level students, and has always as background a mystery story that works like a video game, where you earn points or lost lives. There are 26 lessons that last 5 minutes each.

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My favorite podcasts in French

I’ve done a post about my favorite podcasts in Spanish, now I will speak about podcasts in French. Most of these podcasts aren’t to learn the language; these podcasts are for those who already have a good level of understanding in the language.

Français Authentique

Johan is the creator of “Français Authentique”, he has a French course with 7 basic rules. The podcasts are free and constantly updated. Typically, podcasts are on French expressions, but, he also talks a little about his personal life and travels. Johan speaks slowly, he pronounces the words clearly and he repeats a lot the same expressions and words, a great podcast to improve your understanding of French. Continue reading

5 true clichés about the French

After living in France for two months, I noticed that some clichés about French people are real.

They love baguette, cheese and wine

C'est pas faux

Any market has a huge variety of wines and cheese. In France they say they have a cheese for every day of the year. And, in the morning and in the late afternoon, in the “boulangeries” is still very common to see French with theirs baguettes under the arm. Continue reading

Review Hugo Advanced French

Hugo Advanced CD Language Course is a continuation of the book French in Three Months (Hugo), course I didn’t try. That means that, to use this course is not necessary to have studied French in Three Months (Hugo), if you already have an intermediate level in the language you can use the advanced course straight away.

As stated before the course is for those who already have at least an intermediate level and want to improve his skills or review the French language.

How is the book?

The book has 9 chapters. Each chapter has:

  • An introductory text
  • A main text with the translation of unusual vocabulary
  • Brief grammatical and lexical explanations and some common expressions and slangs.
  • Exercises

Additionally, after the lesson n° 5 and n° 9, there is a self-assessment test.

The CDs, in addition to the narration of the texts, also have the oral practice of some exercises that are in the book.

Hugo french advanced Continue reading