Interested in being featured? Let us know! Interested in being a member and all the fun perks that come with membership? We would love to have you! Contact Membership Manager Natalie Collet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-912-0400.
What is your French/francophone connection?It’s been a substantial one. French is a pars pro toto for the connections I’ve been lucky to form with people all over the world. I began to learn the language at a young age and was helped early on by some amazing teachers at the French Cultural Center as well as my cabinmates at a French-Canadian summer camp (who saw me as just a part of the cohort, and who taught me a lot a very Québécois slang). I’ve since studied in France and Morocco, living with French-speaking families in both places. Whatever francophone culture I’ve been immersed in, French is the catalyst that has allowed me to experience friendship, laughter, joy, bewilderment, and pain, and to express myself with honesty and emotion.
Why did you become a member of the French Cultural Center?My parents, who aren’t bilingual, wanted me to be able to speak a second language. Since my father is of French-Canadian descent and has always been proud of his heritage, they thought, why not French? I started taking private lessons before classes for kids were offered and have continued on that path, with just a few breaks, until today.
How long have you been a member here?I have been a member on and off since I was 5, so nearly 19 years. I was actually a member of the Alliance Française before it became part of the French Cultural Center. I feel a bit old saying that!
What do you like about membership? What has been your favorite experience?One of my favorite memories is being allowed as an 8-year-old to “host” a face-painting booth at the Bastille Day celebration on Marlborough Street along with my teacher, Béatrice. My specialty was the French flag because that was the only thing I could credibly draw. I kept having to repeat in my head, “bleu, blanc, et rouge,” so I didn’t accidentally color it backwards on someone! Over many years, I’ve been fortunate to meet and learn from several wonderful teachers at the Center, including Béa, who now lives in Montréal and is a lifelong family friend. I’ve been taking lessons with Julien for the past three years and have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations, which encompass history, politics, culture, and even sports. Julien is currently helping me study for my DALF exam.
If you could travel to any francophone country, where would you go and why?An excellent question! I lived in Paris in 2015, in Morocco in 2012, and long before that spent nine summers at the French-Canadian camp in Maine. I’ve visited Québec numerous times. So, I’ve been able to experience three different cultures and continents through the French language. I would like to travel someday to Madagascar because I love animals, and it is one one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, with the highest number of endemic species.
And finally: croissant ou pain au chocolat?A hot, buttery croissant with Nutella!
From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and the language and culture entranced her through her student years. She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities, quality programming, and a community through French!See All Natalie's Posts