Interested in sharing your story? 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.
"I love meeting like-minded, cultured, and multicultural people who love France and the Francophone world as much as I do."
What is your connection to the French language and/or francophone culture?I started learning French through the French Cultural Center and the Alliance Française when I was just six years old, and from then on I was hooked! My parents were always internationally-minded, and they often attended events in Boston that related to world affairs. I believe they actually initially discovered the French Cultural Center and the Alliance Française through the Boston Athenæum. My father speaks German and at one point was fluent in Russian and quite strong in French as well. My mother comes from a family of Albanian immigrants, so she has always been European in mindset. She has also always loved Jackie Kennedy for her style, grace, intellect - and her fluency in French and love of French fashion. So when I was young, my mom was very keen on me learning French, while my dad was partial to German but really open to me learning whichever language I liked best. Knowing that it was best for children to start learning other languages early, my parents first presented me with Muzzy language-learning tapes for kids in both German and French. While I thoroughly enjoyed both, I naturally gravitated towards French. My parents were happy, since French is spoken all over the world, and it had been the language of diplomacy. I had no idea at the time that my learning French would end up blending perfectly with a love of French fashion and culture that I would later develop. When I was six years old, my parents hoped that I would be able to learn French in the classroom; however, at the time, my school did not offer French classes in early grades. This is when my parents sought out a French teacher through the Alliance Française and the French Cultural Center to give me lessons. My parents actually communicated with the parents of a few of my friends, and they all agreed that my friends and I would learn French together in a small group outside of school. I still remember repeating basic greetings and the songs we would sing as we learned the colors and the days of the week in French. Our teacher, who was from France, was just lovely, and we always looked forward to lessons with her. And, of course, there was always gâteau au chocolat. I studied French all through school and ended up majoring in French and Economics in college. I even taught French for a few years before starting my French-inspired fashion and lifestyle site, Paris, Meet Boston, in 2016.
Why did you decide to become a member of the French Cultural Center?I started my French journey with the French Cultural Center, so once I moved back to the Boston area as an adult, having been away for a while, I had to join!
How long have you been a member here?I have been a member for the past few years, though my parents got me involved with the French Cultural Center when I was very young.
What do you like about being a member at the Center? Do you have any favorite classes or events that you have participated in?I love meeting like-minded, cultured, and multicultural people who love France and the Francophone world as much as I do. I absolutely love the fashion and art events at the Center, as well as food, wine, and literature events, and I am excited about getting into some of the French conversation socials as well. Every year Le Bal and Bastille Day are of course fabulous and can’t be missed.
If you could travel to any francophone country, what would it be and why?I would head back to France, which feels like home away from home! My husband and I try to get to Paris as often as possible, usually at least once a year. I have also always wanted to visit Morocco. And there are many more on my list.
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