How I became a French language coach in Montreal

A long and winding road to become a French language coach in Montreal

I started my career change when I was 35 to become a French language coach in Montreal. I love traveling and meeting people from different backgrounds, my clients are actually all around the world.

The sum of my past experiences made me realize 2 things. I’m curious about everything and I want to help others grow.

Cathy Intro, French language coach Montreal
During my pastry chef phase in my own pâtisserie in Vancouver

I had never thought about teaching before and I still don’t see myself as a teacher. A coach doesn’t teach, he/she guides and shares tools for the other person to find their own way to success. My only goal is that you become comfortable with your French, whatever this means to you.

An unusual and varied professional life

A classic beginning for a French girl

I was born and raised in a small town in France. Diversity wasn’t part of my daily life but I would dream about faraway places while looking at maps. I imagined foreign friends as I devoured books.

I love learning and my studies led me to graduate with a Master’s degree in Communications and Political Science from one of the best schools in Paris (Sciences Po). My childhood dream of discovering the world and of being able to speak many languages never disappeared. 

My year as an exchange student in Ireland was the highlight of my university years. Then I worked for 3 years as a project manager in a small events agency in Paris but that wasn’t enough to make me happy.

In 2008, I finally decided it was time to make my dreams of living abroad come true.

Cathy, French language coach in Montreal

How a trip to India led me to move to Vancouver, Canada

The fact that my life had to change became clear after a 4-weeks trip to India (so cliché, I know!) with my future husband. Upon our return my body had a hard time re-adapting to the Parisian life (after having an equally hard time adjusting to life in India…). However my mind never fully recovered. I had caught the travel bug and had to satisfy my wanderlust, I needed the sensations and challenges that come with travelling and living in a foreign country.

I crafted a masterplan I called Changer de vie: to do list (New beginnings: to do list. The blog posts are in French) to make this move happen. I started by convincing my parnter to follow me to Canada in 2009. We didn’t go straight there though, we took our sweet time and embarked on a 3-months road trip from Montreal to the Pacific Northwest via Louisiana and Route 66. We mostly used the platform Couchsurfing to meet locals and ask them about life in North America.

Fast forward 2 years: owner of a French pastry shop

In 2011, my husband and I decided to embark on another journey and to make another dream come true. We opened our own French pastry shop in Vancouver, French Made Baking. That was the second “Changer de vie/New beginnings” moment, live the American (/Canadian) Dream.

I was always so tired from the long hours at that time!

For 6 years, we gave our “baby” all our time and energy, more often than not on the verge of burning out but we loved every minute of it. In 2017, although we were among the best bakeries in town, we needed to take a break and sold the pastry shop to focus on other personal projects.

Language coach in Montreal and around the world

I loved learning how to bake and become a “macaron master”. I also enjoyed working with my team and I tried to help everyone grow. However, baking wasn’t my passion. So I decided to follow my heart and go back to my childhood passion: languages and travel.

In my small business owner days, I made mistakes and I learned a lot. About me and about what people need to thrive: a positive environment, encouragements and trust.

All this will foster motivation, which is key to learning. Being a pastry chef also taught me discipline and creativity, also important factors in a successful learning journey.

Learning a language is like opening a door to another culture. It’s a key to understanding “others” and the world needs more of that right now. We’re so interconnected through globalization, we need to know some cultural background if we want to collaborate successfully.

The process will also allow to know yourself better. You’ll be challenged and you’ll learn how to overcome difficulties and mental blocks. You’ll gain new perspectives and revisit what you’ve been taught from a young age.

In this world where English has become the dominant language, mastering French will expose you to a different perspective.

Imagine you could speak French confidently… Which new perspectives would this open up for you?

If you want to live in a francophone country or even just pass a French exam, you need to be familiar with the cultural context.

To be able to do that in French, there are a certain amount of tools you need and it goes beyond vocabulary and grammar although these are very useful. A language coach can help you with that more than a teacher. A coach help you become an independent learner and supports you along the way.

Start today on the road to expressing yourself in French with confidence!

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Read also: tips to increase your self-confidence in French