By Ashley C., guest blogger studying French in Lyon, France
Here are some items I purchased that have been really helpful on my travels!
-Bescherelle books: I bought the Bescherelle package of French books (l?orthographie, la grammaire, la conjugaison) for about 40 Euros, and I use them all the time. Turns out that even though you can always look up conjugations when doing your French homework in the US, you actually really need to memorize the conjugations for speaking in French! I found these books extremely helpful for general reference, but also for reading while I?m on the metro (you will spend a lot of time on the metro here, so use the time well with these books!).
-Notebook, pens and a highlighter: Basically, be prepared when you come to class! Not many students are, and you?ve no idea how many times I?ve been asked “do you have a spare pen?” Be prepared. You?ll also want a highlighter. I don?t usually use one, but sometimes it?s really great to have a highlighter when going through different worksheets in class (particularly, when the printer?s ink is a bit too dark to read. Highlighting makes it easier!).
-A Guide Book: I found Rick Steve?s guidebook on France the most helpful. That?s how I found my favorite cafe that I now go to every day!
An Electronic Dictionary: I have a little pocket dictionary that is useful, but I can?t look up words as quickly as I?d like sometimes. Electronic dictionaries are really helpful, since they enable you to find the word you want to look up really easily and quickly. This is particularly helpful when you?re trying to speed write something in your Super Intensive class and you only have so much time! If I could do it over again, I?d have bought one early on in my trip. [Editor's note: There are a lot of great iPhone apps that can do this!]
Good shoes: I know they don?t have any magical powers to help you learn French better, but I can?t study well when my feet have a million blisters on them. Invest in good walking shoes or good fashionable sandals. Take it from someone who knows what it?s like to have a lot of blisters from walking around Lyon, wear good shoes! I didn?t want to shell out the hundred dollars or so to buy myself a good pair back in the states, but I think it was rather silly of me to be so worried about a hundred dollars now
that my feet are all pink and bumpy.
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