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Having been born and educated in Wales I had a 50% chance of being taught French at my high school. Unfortunately, my class landed in the other 50% resulting in us learning German, so of course when I moved to Switzerland, I moved to the Romande area…

It wasn’t for my language skills that I moved here, but because of the old-fashioned reason of meeting someone and joining them in a new and exciting country. But what ever the reason, knowing at least a basic level of the local language gives a sense of confidence and independence – and can save you when you least expect it.

For example, I found myself alone in Lausanne, having missed my last train and with a dead phone battery- happily even in my (slightly) inebriated state I was able to communicate well enough to the taxi driver to get me home…

So as a newbie to the language what would I recommend?

Of course, practicing with those that already speak the language is great- but when you are very new it can all feel like a blur, and one on one classes are fantastic, like through Italki.

But if you just want to get stuck in before diving into lessons, I recommend an app you can practice on the go such as Babbel or Duolingo – this has helped build up my vocabulary.

And, for useful quick to learn phases that I have found very useful I recommend Paul Noble’s language series. Be warned, I had my French speaking friends tell me that what I was being taught was not exactly correct- but I would argue the way the lessons are taught they are easily remembered even when you’ve had one or two and that’s got to count for something!

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