Ludo Expression : French language school in France
Student's comments 2011-2012
Japanese, Intensive course for 2 weeks in December 2012.
The style of teaching at Ludo expression which is based on conversations in a small group of students really made me enjoy the intensive 2 weeks of French immersion. When I started the course, all I had was what I had learned in a year of pedagogical course at a university in Japan almost 10 years ago. Although the knowledge was reviewed in 14 weekly lectures for beginners in 2011, I hadn't had any experience of practicing French. By the end of my time in Carcassonne, I was feeling quite comfortable about speaking in French at bakeries or stations.
I was in a class of two students in the morning and it was one-to-one in the afternoon, fortunately for my study. While the teachers can speak English, they make it a rule to stick to French unless absolutely necessary. They choose the words and structures that are easy to understand for beginners and pick up topics familiar to each student so that I was able to make sense of it despite the lack of vocabulary. The grammar already explained in the course is ruthlessly corrected during the conversations so that the students can consolidate it. They are also ﬂexible towards the requests made by students. Maybe the small class size made it possible, but they took us to an excursion to nearby villages by car. The progress I made was much more dramatic than I expected for this short period of time.
Carcassonne is an ancient city in Languedoc-Roussillon with a great view of the 12th century fortress across the river Aude which passes by the school. As it is a small town, people are very kind and it is less than an hour of train ride to Toulouse and Montpellier. The area is full of vineyards and beautiful small villages. I would highly recommend Ludo expression for those who would like to focus on French in a tranquil environment, and who want to practice their classroom French.
(Same comment but in japanese)
Ludo expressionでの授業は基本的に先生との対話形式で、生徒のレベルや趣向に合わせて色々な テーマを取り入れてくれるので、僕は２週間常に楽しくフランス語に取り組むことができました。始 めた当初は、１０年近く前に日本の大学の講義で学んだ文法の知識と週一回のフランス語初級コース を１４回受けて得た最低限の表現力だけの状態でした。まともにフランス語で会話をしたことは１度 もなかったのですが、２週間後には駅やパン屋ではほとんど不自由ないくらいまで聞いたり話したり できるようになりました。
幸運にも冬期で生徒が少なかったこともあり、午前は１対２、午後は１対１で徹底的にフランス語を 使いました。先生たちは英語もできますが、基本的には全てをフランス語で教えるスタイルです。初 級者にも理解しやすい単語、構文を使って、馴染みやすい内容を選んで話してくれるので僕にも容易 に聞き取ることができました。もちろん、必要に応じて文法の説明や、教材を使ったリスニングや読 解もありました。会話中には、過去に学んだ部分の間違いには容赦なく修正が入ります。人数が少な かったこともあったかもしれませんが、生徒の要求にも柔軟に対応してくれ、課外授業として近隣の 村々をドライブして巡ってくれたりもしました。休み時間中もコーヒーを片手に先生と雑談で、短期 間で期待していたよりも遥かに早く上達しました。
カルカッソンヌはローマ時代以来の歴史のあるLanguedoc-Roussillon地方の都市で、学校の側を流 れるAude川越しに眺める１２世紀の城塞はとても美しいです。小さい町ですが、その分誰もが親切 ですし、周りにはToulouseやMontpellierのような大きな町も、ワイン畑に囲まれた小さい村々も あって飽きることはありません。静かな環境で落ち着いてフランス語を勉強したい人、特に文法はあ る程度やったけど実際に使えるようになりたい、という人に強くおすすめします。
Spanish, One-to-one lessons in September 2012.
The best language experience I have ever had in my entire life, and I can guarantee that my experience with languages goes a very long way back.
For a starter, Ludo Expression, in particular Dominique, found me the best person in town to stay with. Literally at stone´s throw from the school building and the the most adorable person in town. Not only my French improved but also my knowledge of the culture and the traditional cuisine. I even had the chance to cook some of my typical dishes and learn how to get around in the kitchen in French.
Secondly and most importantly, I had the 121 classes for five wonderful days. Dominique cared for every detail for each and every class. My language objectives were met in full and I would assure anyone that they were also taken to the next level. I quite enjoyed our breaks during class where I had the chance to explain a handful of funny stories of my own. And all of that was carried in French. My errors always quickly spotted and correctly in a nanosecond.
As a final point, they have my trust and loyalty for any future language immersion weeks. I cannot now run the risk of going somewhere that may well let me down.
Just a secret, Carcassonne is THE best city in the south of France.
Irish, One-to-one lessons in August 2011 and in April 2012.
Le semaine dernier j'ai eu mes resultats du Leaving Cert et, grace a vous, j'ai obtenu plus de 90% dans mon examen francais! Le septembre je commencerai mes etudes dans l'Universite de Galway, j'etudierai le commerce et le francais.
J'espere que vous et votre famille allez bien,
Australian, Semi-intensive course for 4 weeks in April 2012.
Bonjour Dominique. Ici, c'est ma lettre de recommandation pour ton ecole -
My French has improved enormously as a result of the time I spent at Ludo Expression. Dominique is an excellent teacher and her expressive gestures and explanations ensure the lessons are fun as well as memorable. I stayed in Caunes Minervois, a little village about 25 minutes drive from Carcassonne, and would strongly recommend any of the 1, 2 or 3 bedroom houses owned by Ingrid Hudson (www.mysweetgite.com). Staying in a quiet medieval village and going to school in Carcassonne was perfect to experience a wonderful French way of life. Thank you (again) Dominique for taking me to a much higher level of French and, more particularly, thank you for your treasured friendship.
Bisous et bonjour a tous
Liz FULGHUM et Jason VANDERMARK
Americans, Intensive course for 1 week in December 2011.
The problem with most adult french classes (at least in the states) is that they are generally taught in english, and much of the emphasis is put on reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. All very important, yes, but when you are trying to order from a restaurant or figure out a transaction at la poste, it is suddenly very much secondary to actually being able to understand and speak the language.
I had taken french for a few years in school (starting when I was very young) and picked it up some 20 years later with my husband with weekly classes at the Alliance Francais in the US. We were learning, but after 3 trips to france over the course of as many years, we realized that we still had a huge problem with confidence and a bigger problem with actually talking (without preplanning every sentence) and understanding french spoken at a normal pace.
We found Ludo Expression via the web, and decided to give it a try the next time we were in France. We we planning to spend a month and so we selected the immersion course (plus private classes in the afternoon) and attended the first full week we were in the country to maximize our practice time when the class ended. We had no clue what to expect, but agreed that even if all we got out of it was more confidence in speaking our really bad french, it would have been a success.
So what to expect?
The class is all in French. But it's slow french, french that you can understand even if you are beginner. There may be lots of words and concepts that you can't understand, but what Dominique excels at is explaining those things (yes, sometimes their are hand gestures and pictures) in such a way that you will understand. The emphasis on conversation is apparent regardless of the package you choose, and it's one of the most exceptional things about this course.
Just taking one week of the class will not magically make you fluent (I suspect that if you took them for a month or so, you probably would get close), but for us, it was a huge step in the right direction. We learned a ton about the differences between spoken and written french, we're a little less shy when we attempt to conduct our daily business, and we can understand people a little bit better every day. In terms of truly being able to enjoy the country, it was one of our best investments yet.
Bulgarian, One-to-one lessons for 2 weeks in September 2011.
At Ludo Expression, I felt welcome and at ease and found myself quickly gaining confidence in my ability to communicate in French. My teacher, Dominique, inspired me with her enthusiasm and lovely sense of humour, and offered me exrecises well suited to my needs. I enjoyed most her idea to help me learn French language, life and culture through discussing modern French films. In just a couple of weeks, I was able to overcome my initial frustration when speaking French and felt much more confident. I am indeed thinking of taking some more refreshement one-to-one courses at LUDO EXPRESSION again.
British Teenager, One-to-One lessons for 1 week in August 2011, followed by weekly Skype Lessons.
During our summer holiday to France I had 5 two hour one-to-one lessons with Dominque, which I found extremely beneficial and tailored to my ability. The lessons covered various topics such as grammar, vocabulary and reading, with the main benefit being a newfound confidence in conversing. The classes inspired me to continue learning the language and have certainly helped with my French GCSE, which is why I then asked my parents to arrange Skype lessons. After a successful trial run, I asked to book the block of six lessons and now have a video skype call scheduled once a week after school. The lessons are 30 minutes long, but this gives plenty of time to improve my conversation skills, ask questions about grammar and receive support for work I have carried out in class. The lessons are always varied and cover different topics, for example at the moment I am reading extracts from 'L'Étranger' by Albert Camus. This allows me to improve my accent and pronunciation, at the same time interacting with Dominique through questions she asks me about the plot. Skype to be a fantastic way of developing and maintaining the progress I made in the original lessons and there have been no issues on the technological side of things. I definitely intend to continue the skype classes, as they are a unique opportunity to learn, communicate and recieve support from a teacher who is friendly, encouraging and efficient.
Dutchwoman, Intensive course for 2 weeks in August 2011.
Beste Luc en Dominique,
Daar ging ik dan. Het vliegtuig in naar Carcassonne. In Carcassonne werd ik opgehaald door Luc en Dominique. Het bordje met mijn naam er op was gemakkelijk te vinden. Gelijk begon het Frans. Hoe was je vlucht? Het is warm hier he?
Uhm ja wat zeg ik nu, met mijn gebrekkige frans kwam ik niet erg ver. Gelukkig waren ze heel geduldig met me en maakte ze zinnen met woorden die ik wel al begreep.
Eenmaal bij hun aangekomen kreeg ik een mooie slaapkamer en badkamer voor mezelf. Er werd me verteld dat we maandag om 9uur zouden starten. De weg naar de school werd me duidelijk uitgelegd en die avond heb ik nog rustig aan kunnen doen.
Ik had 5 dagen van de week les, 5 uur per dag. 3 uur in groepsverband en 2 uur privé. Aan het einde van de eerste dag was ik helemaal gaar. Er werd me verteld dat dit normaal was, op donderdag zou het over zijn. De eerste 3 dagen zijn gewoon het moeilijkst.
Daar bleken ze gelijk in te hebben. De eerste paar dagen vertelde ik nauwelijks wat aan tafel. Door al die informatie deed mijn hoofd pijn en was ik moe.
Maar op donderdag strak ik vrolijk mee aan tafel en vertelde ik wat ik overal van vond en wat ik nog gedaan had tussen de lessen door.
Aan het einde van de week was ik al een heel eind vooruit.
De tweede week ging super voor mij, ik kreeg de taal echt onder de knie. De lessen hielpen echt en ook 's avonds aan tafel had ik steeds meer met ze te bespreken.
Nu zit ik weer op school en ik kan eindelijk de les zonder problemen volgen. Ik hoef de lerares niet eens te vragen of ze langzamer wil praten.
(Same comment but in english)
Dear Luc and Dominique,
There I went. On the airplane to Carcassonne. Luc and Dominique picked me up at the airport. The card with my name on it was easy to find. The French talking started immediately. How was your flight? It is warm here isn't it? Uhm yes what do I say now, with my French I couldn't come that far. Lucky for me, they where very patient and made sentences with words I did understood.
When we arrived at there house she showed me my room. I had a beautiful bedroom and bathroom just for me. After that she told me that we would start at 09:00 on Monday, she showed me the road to school and the rest of the evening I could take it easy.
I had 5 days lessons, 5 hours a day. 3 hours with a group, and 2 hours private. At the end of the day I was exhausted. They told me it was normal, on Thursday it would be better. And they were right. The first days were the most difficult. I was tired and had a headache. At the diner table I hardly told anything. But on Thursday I talked. I talked about how I thought about things and what I did in my spare-time. At the end of the week, I had improved a lot. In the second week it even went better. I had a lot to talk about, and I had learned so much.
Now I'm at school again, and finally I can understand my teacher. I don't have to ask her if she can speak a bit more slowly, I just understand her.
Icelander, Semi-intensive course for 2 weeks in Juin 2011.
L’été 2011 j’ai eu l’occasion d’apprendre la langue française à Ludo Expression. Le programme me a plu beaucoup et chaque jour le temps dans la classe a passé vite. Les leçons ont été très bien organisées, informatives et assaisonnées avec un humour subtil.
Nous étions trois femmes dans la classe, deux Islandaises et une Australienne. Notre professeur, Dominique, trouvait toujours des sujets intéressants et elle a pris soin que tout le monde était impliqué dans la conversation. Nous avons vécu ensemble dans une petite maison près de l’école, un excellent arrangement.
Je recommande Ludo expression pour ceux qui veulent apprendre le français dans un environnement calme.
Canadians, Semi-intensive course in their home for 3 weeks in May 2011.
Ma famille et moi avons pris les cours de Francais avec Dominique Bouriez, notre professeur. Elle m'a demandee de vous raconter notre experience - en particulier, ce que nous avons pense d'avoir un professeur venant chez nous (ou nous sommes restees a la Domaine de la Prade), au lieu de conduire a l'ecole chaque matin. Il faut que je vous dise que c'etait absolument parfait, notre arrangement! Tout le monde l'a bien aimee parce que ca nous a permis de rester chez nous, sans etre oblige de conduire tous les matins. C'etait aussi la rangement la plus logique, car il y avais deux groups entre nous (la groupe debutante, et la groupe plus avancee) - ca serait ete dificile d'organiser ces deux groups (deux voitures, deux rendez-vous differents, etc) pour aller a une ecole. Par contre, dans notre cas, c'etait tres facile de nous organiser les matins. Des fois c'etait necessaire que les etudiants d'une groupe puissent parler avec ceux de l'autre, et c'etait tres facile de le faire chez nous. Comme nous etions en vacances, c'etait aussi tres important que tout le monde soit a l'aise, relache -- et c'etait le cas avec notre arrangement. Je crois que certains d'entre nous n'auraient pas participe si ce n'etait pas possible de rester chez nous. Dans un mot, je n'hesiterais pas de recommander cette arrangement pour ceux qui le veulent. Merci beaucoup pour cette experience genial! De plus, Dominique etait une professeur super!! Elle est bien informee, gentille, intelligente, et prete a repondre a toutes les questions! Elle nous a enseigner non seulement la langue Francaise, mais aussi sa culture. Elle a cree une experience inoubliable pour nous, et, si nous avons l'opportunite de revenir, nous n'hesiterons pas de lui demander si elle pouvait nous enseigner a nouveau! Nous la remercions beaucoup pour tout.
German from Munich. One-to-one lessons for 2 weeks in May 2011.
I had a wonderful time in Villegailhenc and really enjoyed the lessons which I had every afternoon with Dominique. She is a great teacher, she explains very well and communcation is a main part of the lessons. I learned a lot in these two weeks. The school has a very good atmoshpere and the village is nice and quiet. My family host Jeannette was very nice too. The area is great for walking, the vineyards are all around the village and a lot of other activities are possible in this beautiful region. I would love to come back!
Australian, Intensive course for 4 weeks in April 2011.
I have just returned to Australia after spending 4 weeks at Ludo Expression and I am pleased to find how much my understanding of French has improved. I spent 3 hours each morning with Dominique and another student as well as 2 hours each afternoon by myself with Dominique (coming from so far away I thought I should make the most of the opportunity). It was intense and extremely tiring but the effort has paid off. I am more fluent and consequently more at ease in the language.
I learned French many years ago when the emphasis was on reading and writing rather than on speaking and understanding so I wanted to improve my oral-aural skills in particular. The combination of doing the intensive course with Dominique and living in the village with a kind and helpful French woman who knew no English has had the desired effect. I improved because there was no English anywhere- pas d'echappatoire.
For 3 weeks the other student in my morning class was an American woman who had lived locally for several years. Her comprehension was excellent and she spoke fluently. I was in the fortunate position of listening to Dominique and this student conversing fluently and I could join in and also ask questions as often as I liked. Many of these questions concerned the differences between written, familiar and vulgar expressions. I discovered that I was frequently using written rather than spoken constructions because that was the way I had learnt. This was all very helpful for me.
I was also helped by Dominique's attention to my habitual errors. I appreciated having my attention drawn to these and over the 4 weeks tried to correct them. This is no easy task. I've discovered how persistent are certain habits of speech. En fait, there are more faux amis than I had ever dreamed of.
I've returned to Australia with my carnet full of new words and expressions some of which are also in my head. My one regret is that I don't have more opportunity to practice them. More visits to France are definitely called for.