"I have always enjoyed the conversation classes, I like the free-flow of conversation on topics of interest, getting to know my fellow classmates, and everyone’s story about their connection to French. I love that we speak only French, and that students are encouraged to find ways to express themselves in the language, even when vocabulary words fail to materialize. "
What is your connection to the French language and/or francophone culture?At age 15, I went to France with my high school for a 2-week exchange trip. We stayed with French families & attended the local school. The trip opened my eyes (not only to France, but to the broader world), and upon my return, my interest in learning French burned bright and I have been involved with the country and the language ever since.
On that first trip to France, I remember being “appointed” by my fellow students to order for them in French at restaurants because I was not afraid to try the language, to make mistakes. The experience built my confidence to use French and that has stayed with me ever since. My love of languages in general expanded, and I have studied German, Spanish and Dutch as well.
In 1987-88, as a student at Northeastern University, I took an intern position in Nanterre, France with a French computer company. There was also an English-speaking position available at IBM-France; tempting as it was to work for IBM, I didn’t want to move to Paris and speak English.
How long have you been a member here?I have been a member since the fall of 2015.
Why did you decide to become a member of the French Cultural Center?From 2000 to 2015 I ran an international logistics company with a partner originally from Senegal, and we spoke French with each other most every day. When the business closed in 2015, I wanted to keep using French as much as possible, so I reached out to the FCC almost immediately. I also ended up becoming a middle school French teacher which was not in my original plans.
My early-career introduction to a niche part of global logistics was brought forth by a relationship developed with a Frenchman in Silicon Valley in 1991. We spoke French with each other on first contact (after I detected his accent) and this opened up the door to amazing professional opportunities and the eventual start of my own business.
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 have always enjoyed the conversation classes, I like the free-flow of conversation on topics of interest, getting to know my fellow classmates, and everyone’s story about their connection to French. I love that we speak only French, and that students are encouraged to find ways to express themselves in the language, even when vocabulary words fail to materialize. I love when the teachers have a sense of humor and when French slang is used.
After I became a French teacher (teaching advanced French to high school students for a few months as a fill-in), I took a grammar course at FCC which proved to be most helpful. The teacher was exceptional, his ability to explain grammar rules in French was phenomenal.
If you could travel to any Francophone country, what would it be and why?France of course, because I really only know Paris and the south of the country. There are so many other parts of France that I would like to explore, such as Bretagne, Normandy, Alsace, Lorraine, the Alps. I would also like to go back to Senegal and to visit Mali as well. I am very interested in French-speaking Africa.
Interested in sharing your story or becoming a member?Contact our Membership Manager, Natalie Collet, at email@example.com or call (617) 912-0400.
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