Maybe you’re an introvert.
Maybe you’re a new parent at home with a baby.
Maybe you’re under house arrest.
There are tons of reasons you might not be able to to get out and do a bunch of traveling right now.
But that doesn’t mean learning French is off limits.
You can start learning French whenever you like, from the comfort of your own home, thanks to online language tutoring with Skype.
Below, we’ll show you the best Skype learning platforms that are available for French learners. These represent a range of teaching philosophies and price options.
Benefits of Learning French with Skype
- You get to learn French without even stepping a foot outside, unless you want to. This also means you don’t have to worry about commute time and costs.
- Conversational learning is one of the best ways to enhance your skills. After living abroad, I noticed that my speaking and general French knowledge were greatly improved, more than they could’ve been from learning in an academic context.
While many of my conversations involved awkward smiles, get-me-out-of-here nods and answers to the wrong question, I still feel that the informal environment and continual exposure to real spoken French was so beneficial.
- As anyone who’s had a Skype interview would know, talking through a screen is astronomically less intimidating than physical face-to-face discussions. You’re in your own space and can always just sign off for a break if you need one. When learning a language through Skype you’ll feel more at ease and, by extension, learn more.
- Almost all of these Skype tutoring platforms prioritize your desired outcomes. Classes are adapted to your specific needs and challenges, so you’ll be able to target your problem areas and improve your scores on language tests.
- Skype learning goes hand-in-hand with other immersive online French study methods. For example, you can ask your tutor questions about French exercises you’ve done or even get homework help if you’re taking a structured French course. The tutoring schedules are always structured around your life, so you’ll always be able to make time for them alongside your other work. You can also follow your tutoring sessions with FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
- As sappy as this sounds, over the course of your lessons, you might even make a new friend in a different country and could even visit them one day.
5 Fantastic Tools to Learn French Successfully on Skype
Voilà: French Lessons on Skype
These Skype lessons are taught by Stéphanie, a native French teacher living in Montpellier. Courses are 60 minutes long, offered between Sunday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Montpellier time.
Prices cover conversation, lesson prep, lesson materials, homework creation and homework evaluation. Each lesson package consists of one or two classes per week over the course of either four or eight weeks. Both packages are valid for two extra weeks in case you can’t attend a course because of unforeseen circumstances.
The lessons themselves cover either general topics, or can be more specific and contextual. For example, you can register for courses about business French, get essential skills for relocating to a French-speaking country or even take a cultural training class. Stéphanie aims for a balance between hitting important general French skills and catering to your individual learning goals.
If you want to take more classes, you can book extras per week but must consult Stéphanie first. If you don’t want to sign up for a whole lesson package, you can also book a pay-as-you-go option. Best of all, you can try a free 30-minute trial if you have any doubts.
On this popular Skype learning platform, you get to pick a tutor from a list of profiles. It’s kind of like online dating, but for language learning. Each profile includes the price per 45-minute lesson (the standard length of one session), lesson plans, reviews from other students and the amount of lessons that the tutor has given.
You also get to see how active the tutors are on the website, which gives you a sense of how much experience they have.
This choose-your-own-tutor setup means that Verbalplanet offers more flexibility in prices. Other services tend to have fixed prices, but the amount you pay here depends on which tutor you choose—and you can filter your results by price, which is good because there can be significant variations in the prices that tutors charge.
It’s worth noting that all tutors are vetted to ensure they’re suitable teachers, so the quality of the service shouldn’t fluctuate too much depending on who’s giving you the lesson.
Many tutors even offer a trial for either 50 percent off or free. This will give you the chance to know whether you click with your potential tutor.
If I had to describe Verbalplanet as the Tinder of language learning, Live Lingua is more like the blind date your friend arranges for you, except probably not as awkward.
Live Lingua is designed to find you a tutor who best suits your priorities and schedule. First you take a free trial, after which you’ll receive a language-level evaluation and prospective curriculum from your teacher.
At that point you decide whether to continue having paid lessons with this particular teacher. If you choose not to, Live Lingua will find you a better match.
If you’re concerned about not being assigned a teacher who also speaks English, the website emphasizes that all teachers know at least one other language, so not to worry.
You pay per hour, as every class is 60 minutes, but the more hours you take on, the less you pay. For example, the price for one to nine hours of standard French lessons is $29 per hour, but 40+ hours cost $24.99 per hour.
The hours you pay for never expire. If you’re seeking official certification, you can also register for DALF prep courses for a higher price.
French Today is a family-run language service based in Northern Brittany. Their goal is to create strong and trusting relationships between students and tutors. There’s a small, select group of talented tutors to choose from.
Unlike large platforms that serve many languages, French Today will give you a 100 percent French-focused learning experience. There are teachers who are specialized in different levels of French teaching and almost all of them are native French speakers (though they’re also all fluent in English as well).
Ultimately, the goal of French Today is to prepare you for natural, spontaneous French conversation. The learning process is highly student-focused and flexible. You and your tutor will work together to develop a study plan based on your learning style and needs.
Courses cost 50 euros (approximately $60) per hour-long lesson.
My Lingo Trip
Generally speaking, My Lingo Trip’s prices are lower than the other services. For example, the 20-lesson package of beginner courses costs 13 euros per lesson (approximately $15) and the hours also never expire.
The structure is also slightly different in that you choose your desired level first and then later interact with your tutor, instead of the other way around. All tutors go through a vigorous evaluation process to ensure you have the best experience possible, but you can also change your tutor. Not that this is something you should expect, but there are also replacement teachers in case your tutor is sick or otherwise unavailable.
The lessons are an hour long and include all of the required learning materials. If you don’t want to pay in bulk, My Lingo Trip offers a pay-as-you-go system, which can also be used to discuss one-time, very specific scenarios in which you’ll use French, such as a job interview.
As with the other Skype tutoring services, you can have a free trial. If you take the free trial but have a less-than-satisfactory experience during a lesson, My Lingo Trip also provides a seven day money-back guarantee. The service also stresses that you’ll receive enough help to pass certifications.
If you ever lose the motivation to keep learning, just remember that all you need to do is log on to Skype, sit back and talk away. Before you know it, you might be eating a baguette in Paris or even taking lessons in other languages.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.