Blind dates are intimidating on their own, but imagine having to get through a blind date in a foreign language. It’s not easy! Then again, getting out of your comfort zone is often the best way to practice new language skills and to make sure you can actually speak the language in a conversational setting.
With that in mind, we selected two lucky English-speaking participants to study French for two weeks using the Babbel app. Then we found two fluent French speakers to set them up with. You can watch the video above (or click here) to see how the French dates went, and whether our participants managed to have a conversation in a brand new language.
But first, let’s meet our couples.
Ryan and William: Using Babbel As A Total Newbie
Before this challenge, 23-year-old Ryan had never learned a word of French. He started with Babbel’s beginner French courses and worked his way through as much material as possible in the two weeks leading up to the date. It ended up being a fairly impressive amount.
“It was only two weeks that I had practiced on the app, but I definitely learned a lot of vocabulary,” Ryan told us.
His date was fluent French speaker William, also 23, who said he didn’t know what to expect going in. The guys both seemed a little nervous at the beginning, but they quickly warmed up — both to each other, and to their conversations in French.
Gigi and Jean-Luc: Using Babbel To Refresh Your Memory
25-year-old Gigi studied French a little bit in school, but it had been several years since she’d practiced it. This tends to be a common theme for Americans: learning parts of a language in class and forgetting it immediately after graduation.
When Gigi began studying with Babbel, she made a beeline straight for the French refresher courses, which allowed her to review the grammar and vocab she already knew, while simultaneously learning how to have more complex conversations.
“What I was doing with the Babbel app was refreshing my knowledge, getting used to speaking again,” Gigi said. “The app was very, very, very helpful.”
Gigi’s date was 24-year-old Jean-Luc, a fluent French speaker. He seemed pretty relaxed at the start of the date, but Gigi was somewhat nervous.
“A blind date is a terrifying way to practice your French!” she told us before the date began.
The Location: Le District
The setting for the French dates was Le District, a French marketplace in New York City. The couples were seated in the elegant sit-down restaurant of the store beneath a lighted sign that read “Le Bar.” In other words, we made sure they felt as classy as possible.
Then there was the delicious food. We surprised our couples with a variety of foods, some more French than others. Escargot, anyone? Spoiler alert: it’s not easy to eat for those not used to it.
How Did The Dates Go?
Nice try. We’re not going to give anything away. But we will say this: the French dates were awkward, funny and sweet. So be sure to check out the video.
In regard to Gigi and Ryan’s French skills, we were impressed. As you would expect from a total beginner, Ryan sometimes struggled for the right word or the best way to express himself throughout the date. But overall, he did a great job and proved he was able to have a conversation in French.
Gigi showed an incredible ability to speak French with ease. Even Jean-Luc was dazzled. It’s clear that using Babbel’s refresher courses really helped her nail pronunciation, while also enhancing her grammar and vocabulary.