Raymonde – Jeff review
Stayed in February 2019
What a wonderful experience! My summary: 5-star rating, far exceeded my expectations. I wish I had booked an immersion longer than one week and will absolutely come back to continue my French education!
Raymonde teaches with such energy and passion that it is impossible not to feel inspired. She artfully blends motivation with empathy, critique with praise, and structure with spontaneity.
She nudges you out of your comfort zone in a way that leaves you feeling supported, yet capable of managing similar French-speaking conversations later on your own.
I felt from the very beginning that Raymonde could read me and my learning style. Right away, we went for a walk where she started to lift the dormant French out of me. Excellent teachers know how to quickly develop trust with a student, to help them overcome the fear of speaking a new language, and to encourage them to go for it, even when they don’t know all the words at the start of a thought or sentence. And this is exactly what Raymonde accomplished with me stating early on Day 1.
Surprisingly to me, our morning “lessons” never really felt like lessons, in that I never felt a classroom pressure (or tedium), but rather felt that the structured learning time was a conversation in a low pressure setting for exploring vocabulary and grammar. This was the part of the experience that I worried would feel either frustrating or energy-draining, but neither was the case. Time flew by and I later looked back surprised at how much I learned and retained from these intensive morning lessons.
In Raymonde’s immersion course, the learning process happens all the time, not just in the established lesson times. You are learning at breakfast, on walks, on a bike, at the market, around the house, on excursions, throughout daily life, etc. This is a priceless part of a well-designed immersion course. Toward the end of the week, I even started to dream in French, which to me is epic productivity!
While this always-learning model can feel overwhelming at the beginning, it is such a differentiator from non-immersion learning. I remember around day 4 speaking a phrase I had heard in conversation, but never formally learned in a book or exercise. And with each day, this happened more and more. I love this style of learning, as it feels effortless!
As my French improved during the week, we were able to speak on a wide range of meaningful life topics. This opened the learning process to not only language, but also to life experiences, culture, music, and philosophy, topics I greatly valued reflecting on and discussing. I would often get so caught up in an interesting conversation that I would forget that we were having it in French!
Raymonde’s house is super comfortable, clean, well-designed, beautifully situated for sunlight, and full of positive energy. I slept very well and always felt at home. The meals were excellent, with her appreciation for quality evident. This was the best week of lunch dining I’ve had in years, perhaps ever!
The setting is wonderful, from the charming village of Gingins to the view from the terrace. Beautiful nature starts right at the front door, but not far away at all, it becomes a stunning example of the best Switzerland has to offer. Views of the Alps, the Jura, Lake Geneva … the vineyards in Lausanne. It’s breathtaking — and I say this as someone who has lived in Switzerland for 12+ years. I was blown away every time we left the house for an excursion.
A winter language immersion
For me, winter was the perfect time to visit. Not only did it suit my schedule, it’s also low season for tourists, so you feel like you have all the tourist attractions to yourself. It’s super calm, even at the major attractions, and this makes everything else feel calm, especially the part where you are speaking French MUCH MORE than you imagined!
We had an excellent bike tour as one excursion and a stunning tour of the vineyard region of Lavaux as another. I would have loved both excursions even if they weren’t simultaneous language lessons. Combined with the language learning, these experiences were a huge treat!
I studied French as a teenager in the US 30 years ago. We never really spoke the language though, so when it comes to speaking, I entered the course as a beginner. I live in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and wanted to learn French to teach yoga in French and to better connect with the French-speaking people in Switzerland and when traveling to France.
I loved this experience and learned much more than I thought I would. Raymonde is an excellent teacher, offering a very special immersion learning experience.