See me walking down the Champs-Elysees

 

I know France quite well and I have met many people from all walks of life there

Of course, France is not isolated in this context, but it is a host country because of its historical culture, a geographical crossroads of Europe.

In this country, you can meet a lot of people from many countries.

Not comparable to central London, but important enough to notice its mix for almost 70 years.

I don’t want to give you a lecture on history so I found it much more interesting to explain through the story of a foreign original person from Morocco.

It is a testament to her commitment and determination to master a language…

                                                               

Casablanca, August 2019

Morocco is my country and I have known it since birth because I have always lived there.

I grew up in a daily life in which people try to put their luck on their side by multiplying small jobs to get by: fruit and vegetable sales, cyber-cafés, improvised guides and so on.

In my family we were more than modest, my father was a worker on a meagre salary and my mother stayed home to take care of my brothers and sisters.

From time to time, she would bake local breads and snacks to sell them on the market with my sisters to fill the family budget.

As for my older brothers, I grew up with the image of seeing them working very early.

My father would talk about the factory from time to time and often consult his colleagues in case there was not a small job vacancy. And I aspired to other things.

During my teenage years, I was driven by the desire to study.

I didn’t want to stay in Morocco, and I dreamed of fleeing from this daily life which in my eyes was without a future.

So I started studying telecommunications, which allowed me to get a small contract as a local technician.

It brought me a little money every month, but not enough to emancipate myself and become independent.

A country fascinated me, France.I saw this territory as an El Dorado, which would allow me to accomplish my professional and life projects.

As time passed, the idea of moving there grew in my mind.

But there was a little snag….Having always lived in Morocco, I didn’t speak French at all, except for a few well-known songs that gave me some vocabulary, but not enough to have a conversation and even less to support a professional project.

So I made the decision to learn.I knew that learning French would be a challenge for me, that it would be difficult and that learning it would take time and energy.But my motivation was such that I was ready to invest as much time as necessary to achieve it.

My beginnings were a little shaky, I spent hours in an Internet café, watching videos on Youtube in order to master the basics of French.

And, for the record, I didn’t even have headphones to carry out this learning, but I was able to get them.

I can’t hide from you that French is a very difficult language, I had to get used to the vocabulary, grammar rules, conjugation, chords and all those things that were for me similar to having to climb Everest.

After a month and a half of constant and regular learning, I already knew how to count to a hundred, recite the alphabet, the days of the week as well as the months, and the basic forms of politeness.

It wasn’t much for a French-speaking person, but I already had this feeling of victory and progress.

In fact, I was continuing my technician contract in parallel, I was 20 years old.And then 8 months went by, I had the basics to have a basic conversation, at least I felt I could do it, I could watch videos and understand the content, generally my level had improved significantly.

How can I explain to you the pride of having learned all these things, and that alone.

There have been ups and downs, moments of doubt, sometimes looseness because of my job as a technician but also the determination to have to understand even a single notion of grammar.

I was working on online exercises that I started again, I practiced a little writing to improve my writing,…However, the thought of one day having to leave my country, the one I loved, frightened me.

But I couldn’t back down, and with time I finally felt ready to leave Morocco.

Also, months of salary were saved in order to prepare my departure without any idea of date.

The most complicated phase was to find a solution to settle in France. I checked the Internet, and found a blog created by young Moroccan students who studied there.

After making contact with one of them, I was carefully directed to the right people to start my first steps. I enrolled at the university for international business studies and obtained a student visa.

Moving to France became a project that I realized.

In addition, it allowed me to put into practice everything I learned during my learning from her.

The idea of further improving my level gave me a feeling of satisfaction but also a form of apprehension:

Was I up to the task?

Was I going to succeed?

Will I make myself understood?

From a global point of view, I remained very positive about the idea of starting a new life and the doubts were dispelled.

Following my arrival in France, I met my first linguistic problems.

The French speaks very quickly and the practice had nothing to do with theory.

But I held on, some of them spoke slowly so that I could understand effectively, and everything was going well.

I made some French and Moroccan friends, but I preferred my French-speaking environment.Staying in a foreign country and often speaking your own language was a bad idea and it could slow me down.

The aim was to immerse myself in the language, to practice it even more, added to the course I was taking as part of my curriculum.

Also, I opted for a course for foreign students, a few hours a week, in order to consolidate my knowledge of French and perfect it with the help of a teacher.

I felt less alone, and reassured to see that learning a language was also the challenge of other people.

From time to time we would meet outside the classroom to work together, and I was even able to learn some English.

From time to time, I rubbed shoulders with my Moroccan friends because it allowed me to keep in touch with my culture and never forget where I came from and why I was doing all this.

I missed my family, my country too… But the desire to evolve and grow helped me to hold on!

By the end of my first year, I had reached level B2….intermediate

I could have conversations easily, write, read, listen, despite some small gaps, my level of French became obvious.

Some teachers were surprised by the speed of my evolution, and many were unaware that my learning had begun inside an Internet café and the headphones I had been given on loan.

Three months after graduation, I was able to find a job after a few more steps.

In the meantime I went back to Morocco to see my family and it had done me the greatest good.

Then things went on, I fell in love, and my professional career took a different turn two years later.

Sometimes I think back to the path I have taken, and learning a language opens us up to new cultures, a new richness and openness of mind.

In addition, it opens doors and opportunities that we rarely expect.

I am happy… I am really happy!!!

I am an alien, I am a legal alien!!

I am a moroccan in France…

Richard about a Natural French Accent

 


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