Here's the second part of Charlotte's blog on studying languages at university:
As I mentioned in the first part of this blog, I studied French at university and spent eight months living in Paris during my third year. I chose to do an internship to gain some commercial experience to add to my CV, but if you want to experience the student lifestyle in another country, you can also spend the time 'just' studying.
I found the first few weeks hard; I was trying to settle in and felt like I was thrown in at the deep end! I learnt that perseverance is key... after the initial struggle, I found my feet and became more comfortable in my job too. I even began to explore the new city that I was living in.
I had never done an internship before and I had only lived in one city, Manchester (for my first two years at university) so Paris was completely different!
Once I had settled in, I was surprised at how quickly I became more confident in speaking with others; I started to relax and began to really love Paris, particularly the food!
It is vital to make the effort to speak the language as much as you can but initially I didn’t do this as much as I should have, mainly because I lacked confidence, but also because my new colleagues wanted to try to practice their English, which would have defeated the point of my trip! Eventually we would practice together and switch between the two languages; a win-win situation!
Living abroad was an incredible experience and it is definitely the best way to improve your language skills - as long as you make the most of it!
There is quite a big step up between your second year of University and your final year (after your year abroad) so it is really important to make the most of living in another country and using your language skills everyday, not just speaking but listening, reading and writing as well.
Immerse yourself completely in your new culture and language, it will certainly pay off!