Testimonials of students at beginner level

Georgia Nicholson, Biomedical Engineer, Lausanne, Switzerland.

“I moved to Lausanne 3 years ago. I am English and have never succeeded at learning another language. I have tried group classes, tandems, 1:1s etc. and never stuck at it. I started lessons with Olivia 2 years ago and have had a weekly class ever since. Olivia tailors the lessons to suit me. Originally, we focused on speaking and listening to improve my confidence, whereas recently we have started to prepare for my B1 exam. I have a busy schedule but Olivia is always understanding and flexible, and adapts our lessons. Olivia is extremely patient and brilliant at explaining the concepts in a way that I understand, plus she always has relevant examples and materials to help me learn.”

Georgene Bonovich, retired IRS agent, Santa Rosa, USA.

“I began to take French lessons with Olivia two years ago, because I had been traveling a bit to France and was trying to use my very sketchy French without great success. I was extremely nervous about taking a class from a French person, and was happy to find that Olivia is warm, fun, and relaxed, in addition to being very professional and good at teaching French. She will fit the lesson to your skills and needs. I am seventy-five and don’t have a great memory, and I don’t have the opportunity to speak French other than in class, yet even under those circumstances Olivia has persevered and taught me a great deal. I highly recommend her course.”  

Penelope Umbrico. Artist/photographer and teacher. New York. USA

“A huge thanks to Olivia! I’ve been studying with her for three years and she is amazing. She is generous with her time and accommodating with my schedule, and she is very attentive to what I need.  Our sessions are relaxed and without pressure. She is a great teacher – growing up in Canada I had years of distressing French classes in grade school where I was always made to feel basically deficient in language acquisition. Olivia has wiped out all those years of anxiety around French: she is patient and understanding and she actually makes me feel good at it! – something I never dreamed I’d feel learning a language. She’s fun to converse with, which is a great motivator for me. She’s culturally and politically knowledgeable, so we can talk about what’s going on in the world, and she’s always interested in what I’m working on which makes our conversations relevant to my work and the things I’m thinking about. Though I don’t have any formal need to acquire French for my work, I do travel to France once a year, and since I’ve started working with Olivia, this yearly experience has become a marker that makes clear to me how much my French has improved! I highly recommend her!”

Vaiva Banyte, web administrator, Vilnius, Lithuania.

“Olivia’s lessons were a perfect choice. She gave me a good basis of French language and also shared interesting things about French culture, that helped living in France. French pronunciation seemed to be an impossible thing, however, when you have a good teacher, everything is possible :)) 

My French boyfriend once said regarding my French language: Olivia made a good job. 

So both of us recommend Olivia!”

Leesteffy Jenkins. Owner of Violette gluten free bakery. Boston. USA.

” I’ve taken numerous French courses in my life time, but have always struggled to be understood. No matter how much grammar I memorized, when I spoke French to native speakers, they couldn’t recognize it was French! Olivia changed all that for me. She quickly realized how frightened I was to speak because I couldn’t hear the French language properly. All the nuanced sounds ran together in my ear. Also, I was pronouncing French letters in an English manner, rather than really mastering the French sounds. Olivia worked first to improve my listening skills regarding French and then my pronunciation skills. Now, French people usually understand me, which makes me much more confident in my skills, and more likely to take a greater risk when communicating. I would highly recommend her. I continue to study with her because she is so good at teaching the French language in a way that works for me.“ 

Mads Gustavsen, electrical engineer, Copenhagen, Denmark.

“The French language is a difficult one to learn! I have been attending Olivia’s French course once a week for some years now. I enjoy the lessons, though I’m only progressing slowly. I have always excelled in math and science but not that much in learning foreign languages. In that way, I have challenged myself trying to master this beautiful language.

Olivia is an excellent teacher. First of all, she is very knowledgeable of the grammar and all other aspects, relevant for learning the French language. She is able to explain all the applicable rules, as well as the exceptions you have to be aware of. She plans the content of the lessons in a way that it matches my level very well, and I like that she also uses texts and examples from recent French media. She is very patient and don’t mind repeating stuff, that she taught some lessons ago. It’s really a joy.”

Testimonials of students at intermediate level

Susannah Fortlouis. Inventory Manager, Zurich. Switzerland.

“The personalized subject matter, customized lessons, and flexible scheduling that Olivia offers stimulate in-depth and enjoyable learning. I have been able to learn with kids in the background, any time of day, and with poems, history, philosophy, and songs. Olivia always has extra suggestions, such as novels to read, lectures to watch online, and even encouraging and interesting anecdotes from her other students. She is very capable with grammatic structure, but also able to take the student’s lead and instantly develop an engaging tutorial each session. Learning French with Olivia exceeds a normal classroom experience, and is a worthwhile adding to one’s love affair with French culture and language.”

Heather Rychener, HR Director, Zurich, Switzerland.

“I am an American living in German-speaking Switzerland and I began my online lessons with Olivia about two years ago in preparation for a sabbatical from my corporate job to go to professional cooking school in Paris. When I started the course, I was a beginner and couldn’t do very much with French. Over time with regular lessons with Olivia as well an external intensive course and daily life in France, I have progressed to the Intermediate Level. I look forward to continuing my lessons with Olivia, as I know that she will help me to continue to develop my language skills in a way that is pleasurable and professional. I highly recommend lessons with Olivia for students at any level.”

Babette Bonnamy, Netherlands.

“Last year, for about 7 months, I followed Olivia’s french course on a weekly basis and I absolutely loved it.

Olivia is a very kind and friendly person, and an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. 
Her lessons are very clear and well prepared. She takes your french level into account and motivates you to get it to a higher level, and it did.

I particularly liked the fact that, besides improving my french, I also learned a lot more, f.e. new artists, new photographers, new authors since Olivia searches for subjects to talk about during classes that have your special interest. In my case we talked about culture and art a lot. This really added extra value to the lessons.

Due to personal circumstances I had to end the course but I still miss it and hope at one point to continue again.

I can definitively recommend Olivia if you like to learn or improve your French.”

Claudia Walker. Project Leader in a railway company. Bern. Switzerland.

“After having studied French eight years at school I had good basics but I couldn’t speak French fluently. Since you can choose the content, the speed and the methods of learning French with Olivia, I fastly made progress. As the course is online, you can arrange your lessons very flexibly which is a great advantage for business people with a varying calendar. Furthermore, I recommend the course for everyone who speaks Spanish. Since Olivia speaks Spanish as well, she immediately recognizes mistakes which originate from Spanish linguistics, which helped me a lot to improve my French level. I like that I can organize the course perfectly according to my needs – which is the great advantage of her course! Finally, the open-minded and interesting character of Olivia allows a lot of fun and good discussions during lessons. Merci!”

Juliana Schotte-Vilnius. Lithuania.

My adventure of learning French with Olivia started 2 years ago- and I can’t stop enjoying it! From a few basic words that I was armoured with, I gradually progressed to a conversational level on all possible topics. Olivia shares the qualities that I appreciate and value very much: she is very versatile, patient and competent. We persistently brush on grammar, exchange our views, talk about current affairs.. There is no same lesson twice. I find our rendez-vous efficient as well as delightful each time. 🙂

Aneta Tyszkiewicz, manager at the association of pharmaceutical companies, Belgium.

“I started as a beginner and my level gradually advanced to allow for fluent communication in daily life in a french speaking region of Belgium. It certainly would not have happened without Olivia’s professional approach to every lesson, useful hints about language application in different contexts, positive attitude and constant encouragement to continue speaking to challenge the ‘comfort zone’. I can strongly recommend Olivia’s lessons as it is not only a great way of learning but spending a nice time over chat on different topics with the benefit of improving communications skills in French.”


Testimonials of students at advanced level

Lynn Garric, retired educator, California, USA.

“I come from a French-American family and lived and worked in France many years ago, but I did not learn French as a child. Although I return annually to see my family, my French was rusty. I have spent a year working with Olivia to improve my French. She knows specifically how to teach French as a foreign language (and has precise knowledge of teaching French to English speakers). This is a dance in which Olivia both leads and follows: she identifies my most common errors and guides the instruction while also responding with a wide variety of topics suited to my interests. Sometimes this is intense and academic, and at other times it’s light and entertaining. The results for me are a more proficient French, increased confidence, and a broader scope of knowledge. It is not easy, but it’s exactly what I need. On my recent visit to France my French relatives commented on my improved skills.”

Clementine Fenton, Speech Therapist, Lille, France.

“I contacted Olivia to discuss French lessons for my profession, as I was working towards getting my diploma recognised to practice as a Speech Therapist in France. My case was a bit particular, but Olivia adapted quickly to my needs and was also able to offer a lot of support regarding specific terms used by the profession in France, which typically would have taken me a lot of time to research. We often practised real therapist-patient roleplays, which greatly helped me improve my confidence and professional reflexes in spoken French, as well as improving my written French by writing up medical notes afterwards. 

Olivia is a talented teacher and my lessons also helped me improve my daily conversations in an environment where I was not always linguistically stimulated. Her qualities include patience, agility, and a profound understanding of both French and English grammar, which is so helpful when you need help rationalising equivalent structures in both languages. Perhaps her greatest strength is the ability to tailor your lessons to very specific, and sometimes unconventional needs. 

Thank you, Olivia!”

Testimonials of physicians - Medical French

Mihaita Averitei, occupational doctor, Paris, France.

“I’m from Romania and I live in France since 2015.

Working at full time, while trying to adapt as fast as possible to a new system and to a new country, doesn’t let you enough time to follow a regular course in foreign language. You definitely need a custom course and I found the online course with Olivia to be a perfect fit for my busy schedule.

She was able to tailor the lessons to meet my needs, always adapting and addressing the biggest problems first, in what I consider to be a very efficient course.

Although I still have a long way to go, I’m very happy with the French that I learned in a little more than one year, doing only one hour a week course.”

Dan Haenke, anaesthetist, Gold Coast, Australia.

“I contacted Olivia prior to starting a role in anaesthetics in a children’s hospital in France.  I have done many years of French lessons however had never done any language courses in my field of work.  She was very well prepared and created a number of scenarios for me to practice interacting with parents and their children (very convincing!).  She also found a number of really useful resources for me.  I would thoroughly recommend her lessons.”

Mahmoud El Horany, physician, Cairo, Egypt.

“I am an Egyptian physician who moved to France to pursue my doctoral thesis in Interventional Neuroradiology at the Sorbonne University. Learning French helped me a lot in my everyday practice with French patients, and I got more involved in and adapted with the hospital system. Prof. Olivia began working with me from the beginners’ level and created a tailored teaching plan for me based on my needs. Thankfully, I passed the Delf B2 exam. I am recommending Prof. Olivia in high terms, and at the same time, I am appreciative of her efforts with me.”

Brandon Katz, family medicine physician, Quebec, Canada.

“After having spent the majority of my professional training in an English environment, the thought of returning to a French speaking demographic to practice family medicine seemed daunting. 
Reluctantly, I reached out to a stranger in the hopes that someone might be able to assist. Olivia was happy to oblige, and help me on my quest to bilingual medical proficiency. She was quick to tailor the course to my needs, all the while accomodating my hectic work schedule. She is patient, understanding, and very knowledgable. 
Our lessons have consisted of time spent reviewing French grammar and practicing medical scenarios centered around acquiring the necessary vocabulary, verb tenses and idioms that have allowed for a more natural and fluid day to day experience. 
I am extremely grateful for all of her help, and can confidently say that I am on my way to fulfilling my dream of caring for patients in a bilingual environment.
A heartfelt thank you.”

Annette Linz, pediatrist, Stuttgart, Germany.

“I have been studying French online with Olivia for about a year. I am a medical doctor and my goal is to communicate better with French-speaking patients. Olivia tailors the lessons 100 percent to specific needs: we do role-play and repeat vocabulary and grammar as needed. Due to the very interactive character of the medical french lessons it is much more effective than doing self study with a book. Olivia has a lot of helpful material especially for medical French. The lessons are very individual and very well structured. It is a great enrichment to work with Olivia. The lessons turned out to be highly effective. She is very flexible, reliable and structured. My long-term goal is to reach a professional level (C1) in this beautiful language. It is a pleasure to study with Olivia, I am happy that I found her.”

Zainab M., resident in digestive surgery, France.

“Olivia’s manner of teaching is so refreshing. She definitely has an incredible gift for teaching! She is patient and supportive, and she always keeps the lessons fun and engaging through a variety of activities that improve speaking, writing, and reading skills in medical French. I have learned a lot of medical terminology thanks to her. I honestly would have never lasted in France or improved my French if it was not for her help!”