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13 Struggles You’ll Understand If You Studied French At University

Félicitations! Whether you’re a current student or a graduate, you made a good life choice to study French. But sometimes it can feel like you can’t do right for doing wrong.

1. Never knowing how much emphasis to put on the fact that you speak French.

Generally, your fluency in a second language is seen as impressive, but sometimes it can just sound like you’re bragging.

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2. People will constantly ask you if you study “Just French?”

You know it’s never meant as an insult, but you can’t help but notice that you’ve never heard the word “just” go before any other degree title.

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3. Getting the balance right when talking to your parents about your Year Abroad.

Too many drunken selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower will lead them to believe that you essentially got academic approval to have a party year. Too much complaining about how much you struggled and you wasted your time there.

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4. The same goes for your levels of honesty when talking to nervous pre-year abroad-ers.

To warn of the pitfalls of adapting to the French way of life or to let them suffer the way you did…

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5. It will be assumed that you are, by default, an enthusiast for all things French.

Non.

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6. And that you want to be either a teacher or a translator.

Also no.

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7. You will be asked to spontaneously say things in French.

And if you say you don’t want to, people will assume it’s because you can’t.

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8. And sometimes it’s because you can’t…

Look, even French people don’t know ALL the words.

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9. And sometimes people will just say the French words they know at you instead.

You didn’t ask. You didn’t need to…

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10. You hoped you would achieve fluency in the language of love.

But what actually happened was that you didn’t become fluent in French and you actually lost fluency in English.

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11. You thought your course would turn you into a connoisseur of French culture and history.

But you quickly came to accept that Les Misérables explains everything you’ve ever needed to know far better than any book, tutor or museum.

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12. You will have an extensive but relatively useless-in-the-real-world knowledge of niche French cinema and literature.

But that’s ok, because when that Pointless round on French avant-garde cinema comes up, your knowledge won’t be quite so pointless will it?

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13. You will also be able to debate literally every aspect of nuclear energy, healthy eating and inequality in French society.

Yay for speaking exams!

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Vive la France!

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