Interlangues Language School - Christiane & Barbara
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
C: I am from France, came to Canada for one year to teach at Carleton, loved it, and 44 years later I am still in Ottawa! I have a daughter, Barbara, who now works with and a son, Kofi-David, who teaches English in Budapest and an adorable grand-daughter. My husband is a retired family doctor.
B: I was born in France, grew up in Ottawa, moved abroad to study and then worked at Club Med, Stanford University, NBC, MTV, and as a Production Freelancer. I was excited to rebrand Interlangues’ International Student Program when I moved back to Ottawa in 2011.
How was Interlangues founded?
C: In 1976 I decided to start my own language school with small groups : I loved Carleton University but I had 25 students per group and would see them only 3 times a week for 55 minutes. Not enough to do a meaningful job as a language teacher.
B: I remember my mom writing out her plans in our kitchen when I was 4. Interlangues has always been a part of my family life. It is pretty cool to be able to work for a business that means so much to me.
What inspired you to teach English?
C: Since age 5 I wanted to be a teacher and I have always be fascinated by languages. The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the American Blues singers made English irresistible in the 60s!
B: Luckily for the students, I don’t teach! J I was an international student in Mexico and in Spain, so I understand what our students go through when they arrive here.
What part of Interlangues Language School inspires you?
C: The diversity! My colleagues and students in official languages, in foreign languages and my International Students are all so interesting! I am very privileged to work in such an inspiring and stimulating environment.
B: I absolutely love to see the international friendships develop. I am also very proud to see the students get more confident as their English improves.
As a business owner what keeps you up at night?
C: Requests for Proposal…
B: Innovation and staying on top of the next big thing. Ideas! I have notebooks next to my bed, beside my couch, in my kitchen, I get ideas all the time.
Your space is full of bright colours with a warm atmosphere.
C: Thanks to Barbara‘s ideas to decorate the campus my students are learning in a fun, vibrant and welcoming environment. When you are happy you learn much better!
B: We want to make sure that as soon as people walk in, they feel welcome and comfortable. You can definitely put your feet up here.
What is the learning environment like for your students?
B:Small classes with lots of friendly, engaged staff to help them along on their Canadian adventure.
Environment and sustainability is a theme at Interlangues Language School why is this important to you?
C: Because the big picture re. the environment is not too good, and we all have to do our part by choosing sustainability and promoting it as well. Last Tuesday my students and one of the teachers went to the Public Library to listen to Dr Blum talk about toxicity and its impact on our lives and on our environment.
B: It should be important to all of us! We try to choose local and green supplies for our campus and encourage our International Students to recycle and be environmentally conscious on weekly activities. My mother has always been an environmentalist. I’ve grown up with a feeling of responsibility towards the planet. I am super excited to see that more Ottawa businesses are putting focus on sustainability-every little bit counts.
When you aren't running the school, what do you do for fun?
C: I read, go to the National Arts Center, talk to my friends and eat sushi, and best of all, do some fun activity with my grand-daughter, Anais. She is beating me at chess now! And I volunteer with the charity my husband founded: The Black Canadian Scholarship Fund
B: I like to listen to my music, travel, chill with friends, read, and nap in the sun.
Why does Ottawa bring to Interlangues Language School?
C: Interlangues is the capital of the country, is very welcoming with an intense and diverse cultural life, history, festivals and outdoors activities. Great place!
B: Ottawa is a great city for International Students-easy to get around, beautiful outdoor spaces, tourist friendly, safe, and not oversaturated with other International Students.
Thank you for the amazing t-shirts with your logo. Can you tell us a little bit about the "I Love Ottawa" logo?
C: This was Barbara’s design. It shows our love for Ottawa and Canada. I am a proud emigrant and love the logo!
B: So happy your like them! :) I created the logo in 2011 to connect the City to our International Student Program. Most international students that I met when travelling for work wanted to go to Toronto or Vancouver to study. Ottawa wasn’t really on their map, so I had to find a way to put it there. It has become a pretty popular logo!
How does Interlangues work with other Ottawa businesses?
C: I am a member of the Rendez-vous des gens d’affaires and this gives me the opportunity to meet other business leaders.
B: As a kid, I was often my mother’s plus one at embassy galas and local events. I saw how my mother made connections with people for her business. I have tried to make similar connections with local businesses via social media. Everyone wins when you support fellow local companies.
You get to meet people from all over the world. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
B: I’ll go to Peru with my mom!