Emilie – Elizabeth & Rick review
Stayed in September 2019
I don’t know where to begin in summarizing our week with Emilie. I will simply say that my wife and I had high expectations and every one of our expectations were surpassed. I recommend this immersion week in the strongest possible terms.
I can begin by noting that our experience with Emilie could be described as learning all day long. Her house and her family are wonderful, for all the reasons that you can see when you read the other reviews. But you will come away from this immersion experience learning more French than you ever imagined possible. And you’ll also have lots of fun and have time to relax when you wish.
To say that the immersion with Emilie is learning all day long understates the crucial role that Emilie herself plays in this process. I know this because my wife and I are both retired educators and I myself have taught English as a second language and I speak several languages, as Emily does herself. She approaches the process of teaching in a way that seems informal, but actually reflects constant attention to all the details of practice. She understands grammar and theoretical linguistic issues at a very high-level.
Obviously this remarkable power that she has as a teacher shows itself in the morning lessons that we had. They went by very very quickly but were quite intense.
Describing the week’s immersion experience this way makes it sound as if it’s all work and no play. Quite the opposite is true. There are great local places to see in Aurignac and nearby— so many that we didn’t even get to see them all. But we did have a visit to a pottery specialist and to a tile museum. We also attended a jazz concert and walked to buy bread from a Château. We watched a soapbox derby put on by the town and were amazed at the vibrant civic life and shared happiness we saw all around us. Emilie naturally and easily connects with people in the neighborhood, and that means that even a chance encounter can turn out to be a learning experience.
One that stands out in my mind is the time that we ran into a shepherd in a butcher shop. I can honestly say that I have never before this met a shepherd. But I will never forget this experience and the things that I learned, not to mention the French I learned in this encounter.
In other reviews you will find comments about the beautiful setting, the landscape views and the wonderful food prepared by Emilie and David. It’s all true, and the room that we stayed in was extremely comfortable. Their daughter Myrtille was also a vibrant part of the experience.
My wife and I spent a week in Toulouse and many weeks traveling around France. Wherever we went our goal was to be connected with the local people and we had good experiences. But none were as powerful as our week with Emilie. In addition to French we learn an enormous amount about French culture, education and politics.
Each person’s experience of this immersion week will be different. One reason for this is that Emilie responds to the needs of each student, just as she changes the program each day depending on what is happening and what’s available. She has prepared a detailed program well in advance, but she’s able to throw it away at a moment’s notice. This is the mark of a master teacher.