I am a 49-year old English woman who came to live in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, with my husband, Trevor.
I have a 2:1 in International Relations with French and Italian from Sussex University, and take a keen interest in global affairs. I graduated in 1996, and moved to France.
We renovated our farmhouse accommodation to provide all up-to-date conveniences, whilst maintaining the traditional characteristics of wood-burning central-heating, terracotta-tiled floors and exposed oak beams.
We would welcome the opportunity to invite people to our beautiful part of the world, to be able to give immersion English-language courses within the context of the peace and tranquility of the countryside.
I love languages, and have studied 5 languages other than my own (English). Although only fluent in French, I believe my efforts to study other languages give me unique insight into how a learner feels, and hopefully this understanding is transmitted to my teaching.
We also run a small organic fruit and vegetable farm, and we are very interested in the environment, ecology, geology and agriculture.
We have a wide circle of friends locally, who speak both English and French, and who come from various backgrounds, including UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, etc.
I started teaching English in 1992, to Italian college students in Brighton, UK. Since then I have built up an incredible amount of experience, but never cease to be interested and stimulated by meeting people from all walks of life.
I have taught English in the UK, France (where I live), Italy, Tanzania and Palestine. In the first three countries I worked in Language Schools, where we taught English to groups of people, whether children, adolescents or adults, often using text books such as Oxford University Press 'Headway' series, or McMillan's 'Straightforward' set of books. I have also coached students through Cambridge exams and particularly enjoy deconstructing English grammar!
In Tanzania and Palestine I worked for local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as a volunteer English Teacher, and gave lessons in such diverse places as orphanages, refugee camps, women's centres, schools, with blind people, at NGO offices and even outside under a tree, on Pemba. These courses did not follow a strict curriculum, nor did we have many materials to work with, but I devised the lessons myself and we used what we had around us. This experience has given me a huge degree of flexibility and versatility when it comes to increasing the fluency of my students.
THE SOCIAL PROGRAMME
The area where we live is full of things to do. From visiting various other organic farms, to day trips to the Medieval city of Toulouse, there should be something for everyone.
Locally we have pre-historic cave paintings, dating back 12,000 years, as well as castles built by the Cathars, with a rich and fascinating history of intrigue and betrayal.
There are local market towns, the Meditteranean is only three hours away, with the wine-growing Corbiere country a couple of hours. Andorra is also two hours away, with the Atlantic Ocean a four-hour drive.
Afternoons can be spent walking with us in the forests, taking in the spectacular Pyrenean mountain range, or mushroom-hunting in our local woods.
Evenings can be spent browsing our extensive selection of English-language books, surfing the Internet, or watching one of a number of DVDs. Alternately, we can sit around the warmth of a wood-burning stove and have a good old-fashioned chat.
We aim to provide the maximum of our food from either our own farm or a neighbour's. We have been organic producers since 1998, and we provide a wide range of vegetarian dishes.
We grind our own local wheat and make bread daily (lessons available!) as well as making our own tofu, soya milk, jams, chutneys, soups and sauces.
The produce is as fresh as it can be, with vegetables often harvested immediately prior to the evening meal. Meals could include: broccoli lasagne; tofu and spinach quiche; mushroom and red-pepper turnover; ratatouille; various curries and a wide variety of salads. All washed down with locally-sourced organic wine.
GUIDEDHILL-WALKINGORMOUNTAIN-CLIMBING (THEHIGHESTPEAKINTHEAREAIS MONT VALIER, AT 2880M, ANALL-DAYCLIMB)
Our nearest train station is Foix, an easy hour away from the city of Toulouse, with its international connections.
Locally we have the lively market-town of St Girons, which comes alive on a Saturday morning. Here there is also a bus service connecting to Toulouse.
We have a local camp-site where bicycle-hire is available, but for those lovers of walking you need nothing more than a good pair of boots.
We have a good stock of local maps, and Trevor's extensive experience of tramping these hills will ensure you have a stimulating time.
THE TEACHER’S HOMEANDTHE STUDENT ACCOMODATION
We live in a very rural location, on a small lane. The nearest village, with its one shop, is 4kms away, whilst the nearest town of 10,000 people is a fifteen-minute drive away.
The area is fantastic for those people who are looking for a rural retreat with plenty of walks and wildlife, including deer and wild boar, butterflies and lizards, as well as buzzards, kites and other birds of prey.
We have two large bedrooms, each with it's own bathroom. In each rooms there is a single and double bed, plus desk and chairs, wardrobe and chest-of-drawers.
We also have a large bedroom in the house, where the student would share the bathroom with us. This room also has two beds, a desk and various chairs.
All three bedrooms have views over the peaceful valley, and separate doors leading to the exterior.