How to learn French when you're crazy busy

a case study

In this case study, Sarah is sharing with us how her Roadmap to Fluency has helped her become fluent in French within less than a year, while she’s also so busy with full time work and full time master’s study.
Her story is so inspiring! What the video or read the take aways below.

Note: Your Roadmap to Fluency is a one on one signature service that I offer a few times a year (stay tuned for the next enrolment period!). However, every new coaching client I take on also starts with their Roadmap to Fluency. If you’d like to get the next available spot, please apply for it right here:

Prefer to read? Here are the main points in writing:

About Sarah


  • Works full time as a travel nurse, moving every 3 months across the US

  • Studies a master’s degree to be a midwife / nurse-midwife

  • Learns French and Spanish

  • Helps her sister who just had her 3rd baby

  • Her dream is to work for Médecins sans frontières, A French speaking NGO known in English as Doctors without borders.

What’s her secret to doing it all?

  • Routines that she can consistently do, even when traveling, like a morning routine that grounds her

  • She likes the Roadmap because can incorporate in a schedule that changes consistently

Her first steps with French

  • She went to France for a month for a program and that’s how she got a bases in French

  • She tried to keep up with it and keep progressing while back in the US & at work with busy schedule

  • She signed up for her Roadmap to Fluency in may 2018

After she received her Roadmap

  • She took a big break in the fall

  • In January 2019, she went back to the Roadmap and started using it again. She was surprised at how quickly her French skills came back and how much she enjoyed it

  • She is now using the Roadmap with 3 small children in the house and being in grad school.

  • She enjoys being able to use it when she has small bits of time, like a spare 10 minutes to review vocabulary or 15 minutes of downtime to watch a video in French.

How her French level evolves since the Roadmap

  • A year ago, French was very stressful because don’t understand most of it

  • Now: she can watch it and just enjoy it & not stress out about the bits that she doesn’t understand

  • Her comprehension has gotten a lot better

  • Her everyday French got better thanks to the different Youtube channels she watched thanks to the tailored resources + automatically finding ones that are related to that,  even if just for entertainment’s sake.

  • Her oral expression got better - she feels that she can speak about things that are applicable to her life (such as the challenges you deal with when flying frequently). These are conversations that she would actually have in real life.

  • She doesn’t feel like she’s studying

  • She received great feedback from French speakers who say that she’s definitely progressing

How to learn French fast when you’re crazy busy

How to learn French fast when you’re crazy busy

  • She feels confident that she will be at the level that she needs to be when she applies for Medecins sans Frontières, without living in French speaking countries (Note from Angel: my impression from her current level is that her French is already good enough to pass the application process already - but as she says, she’s her own worst critique)

How her study habits changed thanks to the Roadmap:

How to learn French fast when you’re crazy busy.

How to learn French fast when you’re crazy busy.

  • Before the Roadmap, she tried to book a lot of conversations per week.

  • Then she realized she doesn’t have to do that, she can get a conversation per week and then supplement with the habits from the Roadmap

This means that thanks to the Roadmap, she spends less time & money learning French, and makes more progress.

How is it to work with me (Angel)?

  • She is impressed at how intensely I listened to her & tailored the content to her interest and needs (since she obviously don’t have the same goal as anyone else - everyone’s goal is different!)

  • I found incredible resources that she hadn’t been able to access on her own

  • She loved the Roadmap when she got it, and she still does, even quite a year later and after a long break and then going back to it. It’s a good resource.

  • She really enjoy the classes because, as she says, I’m so encouraging, and she gets so much out of each class  

  • She said “You do such a good job at helping me express myself in French in a way that sounds French, much more fluent”

Her recommendations to future students:

  • If you are really serious about wanting to take their French to the next level, working with me would be a great resource for that.

  • You need to know that it can be an intense hour. Usually by the end, she’s like “I’ve spoken so much more French than I thought I was capable of and going to”

  • Also you must know that you I have a good balance of pushing students to express themselves in French but also I am not so intimidating that the student doesn’t want to show up for a lesson.

  • She said “You know what you’re doing, clearly, you’re a polyglot and you’ve coached a lot of students to fluency in French and I can see why. Clearly I’m still coming back for lessons.”

  • She recommends that people take lessons with me, but also you can honestly just have the Roadmap and have it still be valuable on its own. It’s also great to have conversations with other people, for example on the internet.

  • The roadmap does help with finding ways to speak French more often and knowing what to speak about

  • It gives her more vocabulary to have conversations in French that she would also have in English

  • When she used to schedule a conversation with someone, she didn’t always know what to talk about beyond the introduction. The roadmap helps get past this introduction and speak about a variety of topic: self-care, plant-based eating, paying off student loans & self-discipline (these are topics she enjoys, yours will be different) She can speak about all these topics easily if knows the vocab. And if she doesn’t, she can now easily work around by explaining what she means in French.

  • If you’re serious about learning French and breaking past the intermediate plateau that a lot of us get stuck at (not a beginner but not fluent yet), she would recommend this resource, because it’s helped her to stay motivated to keep learning French. She don’t have anyone close to her trying to learn French, so it can be isolating. So the Roadmap was really helpful to just keep going with it, and not give up because of the intermediate plateau.

  • It’s important to see some results and that you keep getting better. In the Roadmap, there is a grid to track your progress in different areas and that is helpful to be able to see that you are making progress as you go.

I hope you have found Sarah’s case study inspiring!
I sure did!

Update: The Roadmap to Fluency process is now available as a group program The French Fluency Accelerator. You can learn more about this program and join its global community of French learners here. Or you can still work with me one on one. Learn more and book a free call via this page.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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About the author

Angel Pretot is a French learning coach. He helps English speakers from all over the world learn French fast and become fluent. You can work with him one-on-one (online via skype or a similar software) or join a global community of French learners in his group program the French Fluency Accelerator.