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I just spent some wonderful days with Raymonde in April, totally in French ! This was my first immersion experience and I loved it.

Other friends spend time at language schools, but I wanted to spend time with French speakers, not French students, and I’m so glad I did.

Everyone has a different history, language level and reason for spending both time and money on developing their French and this can definitely be done best in a one-on-one situation. It was certainly personalised, with Raymonde immediately interested in what things I like to do, talk about and eat as well as what would help me most with improving my French. She was a wonderful host and an amazing cook and I felt very comfortable in her beautiful home.

I rented a car during my stay because I had too much luggage to be able to manage on the train. I didn’t really need the car, but it meant that I could explore a little further on my own, including a circuit up into the Jura mountains and along the lake to Lausanne to the Olympic Museum, as well as discovering the tricks with parking and getting proficient at asking for help.

It was a real delight to be able to spend time talking with Raymonde, as well as with her family and friends, while enjoying delicious meals, doing everyday activities like food shopping, walking in the countryside around the beautiful village, watching some very funny amateur theatre, driving right around Lac Leman and into a chalet in the Alps to eat with more friends, doing some sensory sampling in a perfume exhibition in Lausanne followed by delicious sarrasin crepes and cider, sharing an impromptu dinner with another friend, exploring the Wood Museum at the Arboretum, the Tulip festival in Morges and much, much more.

I don’t know which parts of all this were lessons, which were excursions and which were just life with Raymonde, but it was all great fun. I became aware of particular areas where I need to focus, but more importantly for me, I overcame my fear of sounding stupid while trying to express myself in a foreign language. I am now on holiday in France and thanks to my time with Raymonde I am now able to confidently speak with whoever I meet.

I would love to return and do it all again, building on what I am practising now, maybe even in the winter to take advantage of all there is still to see and do in the area. Thanks Raymonde.

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