You are unable to decide how long you should attend a French immersion program? The short answer is at least one week, if you want to learn and assimilate something!
1-Questions to be asked
To tell the truth, learning a language is a long, complex and continuous process. You need to have realistic expectations and patience. And, most importantly, devote time, energy and some money to learn, take classes and achieve a certain level of mastery. Participating in a French immersion program can sky rocket your level of mastery.
So to figure out for how long you should attend a French immersion program you need to ask yourself questions such as: What is the level of fluency you want to achieve? What is your budget?
What is the level of fluency you want to achieve ?
If you are just a beginner student of French, then you need at least one or two months of French immersion to at least achieve some conversational mastery. If you are an intermediate student of French, then two weeks of French immersion is good enough. If you are an advanced student of French then a week might do. This is pure speculation to give you some perspective. It all depends on where you are and where you want to reach!
In case you want to achieve near native fluency then you need to stay for many months in France. Or maybe a year. If you want to get fluent enough for ordering your meals, shopping or making small talk then one week of a French immersion homestay might do. Again, this will depend on your prior knowledge of French before arriving in France.
One thing is certain, on top of your effort and determination; the surroundings can definitely affect how long it takes for you to master a language.
What is your budget ?
Apart from the level of fluency you are seeking, your budget will impact the length of your French immersion program. The longer the French immersion program, the more you will pay and the more you will spend. The financial aspects can be critical for some participants.
So in case you have limited budget, then one week French immersion homestay will do. Something is better than nothing. Also, if you don’t have time and you already have some knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary, for example, if you have learnt them at school, then one week of French immersion homestay with a French family will be good enough. After one week you can be confident enough to get by, order meals, ask for directions or make some friends. Even it is for a week, you will be thrilled to do it and feel proud of yourself. But if you have two weeks to spare for a French immersion program then it will be fantastic. The linguistic rewards will be huge.
A full immersion environment can help speed up your language learning process, but remember, any language is like an ocean, and it can take a life time to explore and master it!