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.”  

Stuart and Geeta McDonnell retired couple from England now living in a small village. France.

” We both loved French life and decided to buy a lovely small house in rural France. After spending our professional lives in England, we wanted to retire and enjoy the ‘good life’ here.  The only drawback: our rather basic French vocabulary!

We found Olivia through a Google search and we have now completed just over a year of French lessons with Olivia over Skype.

Olivia boosts our confidence and is very encouraging. She started at the very beginning by teaching us French vocabulary and progressed from there to grammar and sentence construction. Olivia pitches the lesson exactly to our level and helps us any time we are struggling.

Olivia never makes us feel inadequate, but always makes us feel that we are learning and progressing. She has a comprehensive lesson plan and challenges us, with an especial focus on pronouncing words correctly. Olivia makes every lesson enjoyable so they are something we look forward to.  Homework is set after each class which helps revise what we have learnt.

Olivia is an excellent teacher.  The one to one lessons online have taught us so much and boosted our confidence to speak in French. We are very thankful to have such a wonderful French tutor.”

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.“ 

Jeff Lukas. President and founder of Packaging resources. Chicago. USA.

“I have had several teachers over the years and I would get frustrated by the lack of progress in my French. Olivia is aware of the obstacles that I encounter in our lessons.  She listens and works with me to overcome the difficulty so I can progress in my learning of French.  I have more confidence in speaking and am willing to strike up conversations with French speakers.  I enjoy the pace of the lessons and Olivia keeps me challenged. The lessons are easy to understand and unique so I am never bored in working on the homework.  We have our lesson weekly on Skype and the lessons work well in this format.  I highly recommend Olivia for anyone learning French.  Her disposition and friendly nature is welcoming for a language that can seem difficult.  Learning French is enjoyable with Olivia!”

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

Tzuchien Chiu, Video Game Developer, Barcelona, Spain.

“Being multilingual and a computer engineer, I know very well how to acquire a new language systematically. Undoubtedly, a good teacher is an indispensable resource. Before knowing Olivia, I spent much time interviewing several other teachers, mostly on the online language-tutor platforms, but none of them met my standard. Being a native speaker doesn’t qualify someone automatically as a good teacher, who also needs the other capabilities: professional experience, responsibility, patience, coaching, etc. While many teachers can teach you whatever you want, only the good teachers know what you actually need. Olivia has been my lighthouse and guided me for years, helping me learn to speak French, even if I have never lived in France, but the language skill has saved me several times during my trips to France. I will definitely recommend Olivia to the students of all levels.”

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.”

Olga Kalinova, IT consultant, Belgium.

“My name is Olga, I’m Russian and I have been studying French with Olivia for about 2 years,  one private lesson per week via Skype. I find that it’s a perfect way to improve my level without spending too much time but doing it regulary. Such approach allows me to keep balance between  fulltime work and family and in the same time to achieve my goals in French.

Each lesson is very interesting and highly personalised.  Olivia is very flexible and can adapt her explanations or examples to all levels of students, if I know a subject, Olivia is able to switch to the next level  immediatly and vice versa, that allows us to keep each lesson very efficient.

Besides grammatical or vocabulary issues we have studied with Olivia French business culture adapted to my personal requirements: how to write a business letter, how to do a presentation in french for my topics, description of financial diagrams,  job interviews,  etc. I know that such information i couldn’t find in any french textbook.

Olivia is very positive, open-minded and enthusiastic person. I do believe that you will have a real pleasure if you choose her as your teacher.”

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.

Olivia’s support during that time has been integral to my progress. Olivia is very intuitive about what a student needs to move forward and guides/recalibrates her program with every lesson. She also does so in a very authentic, humorous and warm way, which makes spending an hour a week with her very pleasurable as well. She is also very knowledgeable about all aspects of French culture, and as I was preparing for my culinary endeavors, she was able to help me understand some of the intricacies of French cuisine that was very applicable to my progress in cooking school.

I have since graduated and am back in Switzerland. 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.”

Mette BOYSEN. Supply chain director. Copenhagen. Denmark.

“I have had lessons with Olivia for nearly a year. The lessons are personalized and take their starting point in where I am, what I need and what I am interested in. This way I have improved my French speaking and my grammar considerably, and I have definitely increased my vocabulary. Always fun and not even the grammar is boring.”

Kate PHILIP. Development Consultant. Johannesburg. South Africa.

” Skype lessons with Olivia are very effective. She plans the lessons in response to your own needs and level of proficiency, and builds your knowledge – and your confidence – from there. For me, an hour a week of interacting in French has hugely improved my ability to hold a conversation and to express my thoughts and ideas. And I love the fact that with skype, it’s as if I’m having my French lesson in France! “

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.”

Tim Adamson, Regulatory Adviser, FedEx EU, Belgium.

«Working in Brussels, I contacted Olivia to improve my French as part of my personal and professional development. Language skills are particularly valuable in the context of my work in EU affairs, and I was looking to improve on my intermediate level and build confidence in both personal and professional settings. From the beginning, she impressed me with her patience, skill and dedication, as well as her endless positivity. 

Olivia’s knowledge of French is exhaustive. Moreover, she is meticulous in her preparation and seeks to maximise the time both during and outside of the class itself, including by sharing varied, interactive materials for further reading and helping to keep the classes interesting and enjoyable. She was also extremely understanding about my own schedule, being flexible and understanding in the timing of our classes. 

Perhaps most importantly, Olivia is an inspiring teacher, always encouraging me and reassuring me about the progress that had been made and the path I was on. 

In a matter of months, I was able to make significant strides in all aspects of my language development. I would recommend Olivia to any student looking to elevate their French language expertise, regardless of their level. »

Testimonials of students at advanced level

Antonio D.M. Locally-recruited United Nations staff member. Italy.

“I am a locally-recruited United Nations staff member in Italy and I needed to improve my French in order to improve my career prospects. After a year of self-study, I decided to register for the UNLPE, the official UN language proficiency examination, but I needed someone who, in a very short amount of time, might help me to improve my speaking fluency and my writing style. I have to say that Olivia’s lessons have been extremely useful: even though I still make a few mistakes and I go on mispronouncing a few words, after her lessons I am dramatically more proficient than before: I can speak French in a confident and relaxed manner, and I have passed the exams with excellent results! Last but not least, Olivia is a very nice person, with a real passion for her job and a great sense of humour. In short, having her as a teacher has been an honour and a privilege.”

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!”

Gary Strickland, anatomopathologist, California, USA.

” I have had an interest in France for over 10 years, and began my online lessons with Olivia almost two years ago. Her lessons have greatly improved my speaking ability, and on our last trip to France I was able to manage most casual encounters with confidence, and I was able to have simple conversations for the first time. The strength of Olivia’s lessons lies not only in her secure knowledge of french grammar, but also in her recognition of the importance of learning about French culture. She is enthusiastic about developing lessons around french cultural themes such as painting, gastronomy, or french humor, providing a natural way of expanding vocabulary and speaking ability. Olivia also understands the difficulties of english speakers learning french, and quickly identifies the particular problems we have as english-speaking students. And Olivia’s personal qualities of patience, humor, generosity, and interest in my progress have always impressed me and made me feel welcome. In sum, I highly recommend Olivia’s lessons for their elevated level of professionalism, strong appreciation of cultural relevance, and sincere interest in her students. “

S. D. Linney, Translator, United Nations, Geneva.

“I started having online classes with Olivia because I wanted to develop greater fluency and accuracy in spoken French. As my main interest is in practising conversation, the first thing I would say is that Olivia is an excellent conversationalist with interesting things to say about a wide range of subjects. She also has an in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the French language and is skilled at explaining where and how you can improve. As a teacher, she has a wide range of strategies at her disposal to help you identify, analyse and iron out your mistakes. Her passionate commitment to teaching is inspiring and gives you the confidence to feel that you really can achieve the goals you have set yourself. On a personal level, she is warm, engaging, encouraging and such a pleasure to talk to that the lesson always seems to be over much too quickly. I thoroughly recommend Olivia’s classes to anyone who loves speaking French and wants to enrich their knowledge of this beautiful language.”

Laura Fau, P.R manager, Paris, France.

« If you want to improve your French fast, I highly recommend Olivia. She tailors her lessons exactly to your needs so you can quickly make progress and provides clear explanations of even the most complicated grammar points. A true professional and good value for money. »

Testimonials of physicians - Medical French

Anne Donnelly, family medicine physician and clinical professor, Philadelphia, USA.

“I am a family medicine physician working in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. My practice cares for many patients from other countries, many of whom do not speak English. I have come to realize many of them come from countries where French is often their second language. Having studied French throughout college (over 35 years ago), I have often regretted that I did not keep up with my French because I could use it to better communicate with these patients. It is easy to find a Medical Spanish course but after searching for some time for a Medical French course and not finding one, I found Olivia’s website and reached out to her to see if she could help me. 

I was very nervous for our first meeting but she put me at ease right away. She was able to assess my current level and came up with a proposed curriculum to help me meet the goals that we developed together after discussing what I wanted to accomplish.

Olivia is an amazing teacher! She is warm, friendly and encouraging, which was very important to me because I felt so insecure in my French (especially speaking). She knows just how to challenge me to continue my progression toward the successful achievement of my goals. She also has a clear understanding of what skills are needed to be able to communicate in a medical setting. She has produced creative exercises that serve to improve my grammar and my medical vocabulary. 

We meet weekly for an hour and start each session just talking to practice French conversation and improve my general vocabulary. We then progress to the material for that class. She will give me things to work on over the week between classes. It could be reviewing something that I need to work on or preparing something new for the next class. She is always available by email for questions. While we have a set day and time for our class, she is flexible and if I have work responsibilities that come up we will adjust the date or time. 

I honestly cannot believe how far I have come since starting to work with her less than a year ago. I will be very sad when our time together ends. She has helped me rediscover my love for the French language. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

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.”

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.”

Amanda Hanson, emergency physician, Canada.

“I’m an emergency physician in a busy tertiary care emergency department in Canada. I started studying medical French for when I have Francophone patients in the Emergency Department and for when I eventually make the transition to doing international work later in my career.

I found Olivia’s online Medical French courses after looking for an in-person course for years, with little luck.  There are very few instructors with an adequate level of medical knowledge to teach what you need to know to interact both with patients and other physicians in a clinical setting.

I have been studying French off and on both in person and online for about 13 years.  I have been working with Olivia for almost a year now. I have had many excellent teachers over the years, but Olivia is by far one of the best.   

She is professional, organised, flexible and obviously has a great deal of experience in her field.  The courses are high yield and allow me to focus on clinical scenarios and medical vocabulary that I encounter most frequently.  At the same time, we work on general French grammar that is useful in a clinical setting but also allows me to improve my overall use of the language.  I notice that each time I have the opportunity to work with a Francophone patient, my comfort and ability to communicate and understand has improved.

But most of all the courses are fun!  If you are working full time and studying on your few free days, it is nice to be able to look forward to the classes – which I certainly do.  

Thanks Olivia!!”

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!”