LESS THAN TWO HOURS DRIVE FROM CANBERRA AND WEST OF THE COAST, KANGAROO VALLEY IS…
We’re calling it: the allure of Paris has never been so intense.
It’s partially because of the travel ban (we all want what we can’t have, right?) but also the perfectly timed arrival of a particular Netflix sensation where the city of lights practically has a starring role.
While Emily in Paris’ representation of French culture and Parisians may be rife with cliches, you can’t deny that the show captured the city itself in all it’s dreamy, romantic glory.
The unfortunate truth is that, given the current climate of uncertainty and level of risk, planning your Parisian getaway is nigh impossible—but that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare.
What better way to ready yourself for your French getaway than by learning the language?
“That’s one thing my students are saying—‘we have this year to consolidate our French or learn French, and then when the borders open, we can go and use our French correctly,’” says Nabila Aliane Mazouzi, Director of the Canberra French Language Institute.
Nabila started the Institute from her shed two years ago, and in that time has gained not only a loyal following of students but a brand new location in Kingston.
Her background far exceeds what you’d expect of a traditional language tutor. Nabila has a Masters of Education Studies from the University of Canberra, as well as over 25 years of teaching experience, including teaching students at the ANU and diplomats working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Nabila’s approach to teaching French is a welcome departure from the traditional textbook approach. Rather than rigorously following a set formula, she works with her small classes to understand their targets and timeframes, and adaps the class to suit their abilities and interests.
“It’s not just from the books,” she says. “We go online, we bring in French articles from the newspaper that are about daily life. We discuss the article and compare it to Australia — we compare both cultures just to use French language”.
Nabila is more than happy to adapt a lesson to accommodate a student who’s struggling with a particular part of the language, or to suit the mood of the group.
“Say I’ve prepared my lesson and during the class my students are tired and have had a long day. I have to be able to change the lesson to make my students happy by the time that they leave the class. That’s the most important thing — that people are enjoying themselves and they’re not as stressed as they were when they came in”.
This fun, organic approach is one of the reasons that Nabila has built such a following. Her students are just as likely to praise her for “joyful” classes that are “full of laughter” as they are for their results in learning French.
“At Canberra French Language Institute, we take into account our students way of learning, their daily activities, and the amount of time they might be able to dedicate to their langauge learning, which helps us shape the course.”
One of the things that sets Nabila apart is the fact that she understands how intimidating it can be to learn a language — particularly French.
“Sometimes learning a language can be scary!” she says. “Some people start in private lessons because they don’t want to feel embarassed making mistakes. I tell them ‘let’s just join a group class. If you’re not happy, we’ll continue private tuition.’ Then they find that we’re actually having fun making mistakes together.”
“Our students are in charge of their learning process. Our teachers are facilitators, they provide an enjoyable learning experience.”
The Canberra French Language Institute works with students of all different levels. The first step is to meet with Nabila so that she can assess your familiarity with French and suggest a course for you.
Lessons are ongoing, so you can join at anytime. There are two-hour small group classes that run throughout the week, as well options for private lessons, French for Professionals, Discussion Courses, and more. Nabila teaches of all ages and abilities and for all purposes.
She says the first step is to overcome the intimidation and book in for a lesson.
“We are just teachers, that’s very important to know. We’re just adding some skills to your professional life. It’s just one skill to the big list of skills that you already have.”
If you need any further incentive, just picture yourself confidently ordering a pain au chocolat from the local boulangerie, asking for directions to the Champs-Élysées or perhaps even chatting up a handsome Parisian.
Sold? We thought so.