My name is Géraldine and I am part of the Coffee Break French crew for Radio Lingua. I have been working with the team since October 2013 when I was living in Glasgow. Initially, I started recording for Coffee Break French Season 4 and since then I’ve had the chance to work on many more projects with Coffee Break French!
For a long time I wanted to learn English to understand the songs on the radio and to hear the real voices (not dubbed ones) of my favourite actors. So, after an HND in Business Studies, I decided to go back to university to study English and Spanish in Applied Modern Languages. It’s only later – after a year in the USA working a teaching assistant – that I discovered a passion for languages. Once back home in Brittany, I combined my love for languages with one for travelling by completing a Masters in French as a Foreign Language. At the age of 25, I left home to work in Australia and, since then, I have flown back and forth to the four corners of the earth to teach my mother tongue. Seven years and 5 countries later, I am now living in Germany where I continue to teach and challenge myself to learn a fourth language.
What is your role in Coffee Break?
I regularly contribute to Facebook posts and give feedback to CBF learners who post their comments on the page. The Masterclass is something in which I am greatly involved. I give feedback to learners as well take part in the live Facebook sessions with Mark. I’ve written many newsletter articles in my time with Radio Lingua so it’s nice to think CBF learners read a little of what I write every month. Together with Mark I help create content for lessons and I love doing recordings in Scotland, on location, or sometimes remotely. As a native French speaker, transcribing episodes is part of my remit too.
Géraldine and Mark introducing the Masterclass
What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?
I didn’t always love learning languages, but I quickly realised it was a master key to travelling – which I absolutely love doing. So, after a diploma in Business Studies, I decided to start another University program in Applied Modern Languages. Soon after I obtained my degree, I left for the United States to improve my English and become fluent. Nine years later, I’ve had the chance to live in seven different countries and I am learning my fourth language at the moment: German.
What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?
Working with the Coffee Break team is always fun. There are so many different things to do which means I am never bored. However, I particularly enjoyed recording for Coffee Break French Season 4 when I started.
Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom?
It would have to be a tea break for me as I don’t drink coffee! I’ll take mine after a long walk outside, in front of a fire with a blanket on my lap and a good book in my hands!
What’s your best language-learning tip?
Study every day for ten to fifteen minutes! I’ve tried many things myself, but I have never learned faster nor better than by studying a little every day. You don’t even have to do a whole unit of the book or learn something new every day, but forcing your mind to see, hear and pronounce another language every day makes it a lot easier to remember.
I also try talking to myself in another language when I am alone. That way, I don’t feel pressure to pronounce everything correctly. Of course, I make mistakes, but this forces me to improve vocabulary and make sure my grammar is correct. I practise saying sentences I could use with other people, for example, when I am shopping.
- Favourite language: It’s hard to pick only one! English I guess, because it’s the first language I wanted to learn.
- Favourite word/phrase in the language: Cushion! It’s such a funny word to pronounce for a French person
- Favourite film / TV show / Book / singer: The Goonies / any books by Robin Hobb
- Favourite destination: Japan, for its very aesthetic and elegant way of life. New Zealand, for the beauty of its nature. La Bretagne, in France, for its delicious crêpes. Rome, for its history and sun. And Scotland, for its underrated tourist sites.
Do you have a message for the Coffee Break community?
Whether you are doing it for fun, travel or work, learning a new language is always useful! It opens up so many doors in life, helps crossing borders and making new friends, but above all, it makes people understand aspects of their own language they never thought of before. Although it can be very frustrating too, and seem like an impossible goal to reach, it’s important to remember two things: motivation is the key to success, and you are utterly entitled to make mistakes! So go out there and speak!