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Nick SageFrench in London
“My Listen & Learn tutor, Yann, made a huge effort to help me understand how the grammar works, and how to say things properly – these aren’t things you can learn from a book”
Nick Sage, a man who had previously travelled the world as a major in the army, decided to take some time off work to enjoy a ski season in France. He tells us how the desire for a return trip inspired him to learn a new language.
Listen & Learn: Hi Nick, how are you?
Nick: Great thanks!
Listen & Learn: Could you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from, what’s your story?
Nick: Well, I’m originally from Coventry, Britain, and managed to see quite a bit of the world when I was in the army. My last job was working for the London Olympics, where I now live, and I took what was supposed to be a few months off for the ski season in France.
Listen & Learn: This is what made you decide to study French?
Nick: Actually, having returned from France and wanting to go back again is what made me want to study the language. In a ski resort town, where everyone speaks passable English it’s hard to practice your French. As soon as they see you’re struggling, they switch to English. And it isn’t really their job to teach you. It’s my goal to go back and be able to communicate – be able to make some French friends, conduct normal daily business…
Listen & Learn: And you decided to choose Listen & Learn to teach you. Why?
Nick: I did some research online, found a couple of companies, but I liked what Listen & Learn looked like, and I liked the answers I received after making queries.
Listen & Learn: So when did you start? And have you been happy thus far?
Nick: I started about a month ago – I’ve had only 24 hours of lessons! I’m extremely happy. I’m partially deaf, and being able to have classes at home, at my convenience and in a quiet environment with a tutor like Yann (who has so much patience) has been great.
Listen & Learn: You’ve been taking classes for such a short time – have you found Listen & Learn helpful?
Nick: Very much so. I was a complete beginner when I started. I studied German at school, and needless to say, my biggest problem with French was the pronunciation. I’d been learning as much as I could from books and podcasts, but I had no one to tell me the exact pronunciation, and how I was doing it wrong.
Listen & Learn: Would you recommend Listen & Learn?
Nick: Yes. I’ve improved so much from last year – I used to walk around reluctant to try words because they might be wrong. I have more confidence in the language now. My Listen & Learn tutor, Yann, made a huge effort to help me understand how the grammar works, and how to say things properly – these aren’t things you can learn from a book. Now the basics are there. When I come back, I’ll be signing up for another course.
Listen & Learn: That’s great! On a final note, what’s your favourite saying in French, now that you know more than one or two?
Nick: (laughs) My favourite saying is “Bonjour, un demi bier avec picon, s'il vous plait” which results in me asking for a small beer with a traditional Algerian fruit spirit added – not your usual foreign language phrase!