About the editorial staff
Who are we ? - Qui sommes-nous ?
Céline, a French native, who, after spending several years teaching French for various private language schools, started the long-distance language programme, "Learn French at Home". She understands what it takes to settle and adapt in a new country, since she has herself travelled in various countries in Asia, America and Europe and has lived in the United States for 12 years. She recalls the challenges she faced in learning the English language as well as getting comfortable with everyday life in American society. She remembers how, in 1979, she felt like a real alien when she first entered a public school in New Jersey, USA, dressed like a typical French school girl with a straight skirt and a plain coloured blouse, comfortable flat-soled leather shoes, straight hair without any hair spray or gel and carrying her books in a black leather briefcase-like schoolbag. What a clash with the other girls!! Her classmates were wearing tight, fashionable "Bonjour" jeans with colourful designer blouses that revealed their girlish proportions, carrying books close to their chests and wearing make up! They were only 12 years old! Céline had experienced her first cultural shock and thought: “I could never look like them and speak like them!!” But as time passed, she gradually began to resemble and speak like her classmates.
Today, when Céline teaches French, she's able to put herself in her students' shoes and share their moments of joy as their language comprehension and expression improves as well as their moments of frustration. Céline constantly tries to find innovative ways to continuously help the expatriates in France to adapt better to their new home as well as help them achieve a better comfort level with the language.
Vincent – A communications specialist, French professor and an itinerant globetrotter! Vincent is originally from the French Alps. He has travelled in many countries and besides France has lived in England, Canada and the USA . He worked for many years in the hospitality and travel business and later in the communication and education fields. He has a true passion for travelling and discovering new countries and cultures and has thrived on his experiences of living in different foreign lands. He understands perfectly well the difficulties and frustrations you can encounter when you start a new life in a foreign country. He remembers when he first moved to London knowing just a little bit of English. He was working as a cook in a busy restaurant in the City with only English speaking people in the kitchen and had to try to understand what they were telling him to do during the stressful lunchtime rush. It was a difficult – a veritable baptism by fire – but very efficient way to learn the language quickly! Because of his many and varied experiences, he is more than happy to help people to adapt and settle in their new country. One particularly amusing anecdote he recalls is when he was having diner with some friends in California and one of them who was French introduce himself to somebody by saying: “I'm a friend from Florence” instead of saying “of Florence” because he was talking about a French girl. And the other one answered “Oh, Florence, a beautiful city!” We all had a good laugh!
Annick – A French journalist for 30 years, more than 15 of which with the United Nations as the Editor of a bilingual magazine, Refugees, which, for the most part, dealt with helping refugees and emigrants settle in and adapt to a new country. In this capacity, she travelled to many refugee camps worldwide and conducted hundreds of heart-wrenching interviews that made her very concerned about the trauma of exile. She also lived in several countries in America , Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe for a total of more than 8 years, and in each case she experienced first hand the many difficulties of suddenly finding oneself someplace where everyone speaks a different language. Among the various experiences she remembers very well was when she had to get a driver's licence in India , or to rent a home and buy a car in the US . Dealing with a used car dealer is among the most tricky when you don't fully master the language. And then, when you finally get into your new home and start breathing, you panic when in the middle of the night your toilet has flooded the bathroom! Annick has recently joined the team of French teachers of Learn French at Home to give lessons based on her experiences, with the intention of helping those who are faced with the same problems in their new country, providing tips for a better understanding of grammar, vocabulary building, and enabling her students to become more comfortable expressing themselves in French. Annick's website
Roger – A professor of French language and literature in the United States for 30 years with six years of experience in directing study-abroad programmes in France. He is now an expatriate himself and lives in the Haute Savoie region of France with his wife Annick. Even though he has spent over 15 years of his life in France, many of which were involved in helping others adapt to living in a new culture, and feels more French than anything else, he still experiences those moments of feeling very much like an outsider in the land and culture he has chosen to adopt as his own. “I will never forget an experience when I first served as resident director of an American study-abroad programme in Poitiers . One evening we had invited my assistant and her husband to dinner and we were discussing some of the basic differences between American and French life. I explained to them that I loved the bread in France because in America most of the bread one found at the supermarket was soft and squishy, had no real crust and was full of ‘ préservatifs.' I didn't realize at the time that the word meant ‘condom' in French, but their amused reply ( Ah, bon !) was a clear signal that I had made a serious blunder!”