January 10, 2020

As we begin this new year, we are both in quite a reflective mood as we are celebrating a DECADE here in Switzerland. In some ways, it seems unreal that ten years have passed. It’s as if we’ve always lived here: as if Lausanne, and Switzerland as a whole, have been intertwined in our stories from the beginning. But in other ways it doesn’t seem that long ago when we first set foot here in Lausanne; the challenges we experienced as newly transplanted expats aren’t easily forgotten. A new country, new jobs, new friends, and perhaps the most daunting: a brand-new language.

This is why as we begin 2020, we are extremely excited to introduce a new sponsor here at The Lausanne Guide. Ladies and gentlemen, and especially those of you who wouldn’t mind learning or brushing up on your French while you’re here, please give a warm welcome to Prêt-à-Parler.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a group language class. Think back to those sessions. How much time did you spend with formalities at the beginning of the class? Grabbing a coffee, people chatting about what they did over the weekend, the teacher engaging in small talk about something significant (or not) in their own lives? Then you took out your workbooks and started a group exercise where you had to read a dull story about basket weaving (true story) and take turns answering questions about the subject—sometimes not even having a turn to respond because your neighbor took up a good chunk of the time?

Ok, perhaps we’re getting too specific. And perhaps this experience varied for you and was actually a great way to build confidence and establish a sense of community in your new life here. But then maybe you’ve found yourself many years later wondering why you can’t fully communicate with your child’s teacher. Or you’re applying for your new permit and you’re not sure whether you will be able to pass the new language requirements? If any of this rings true to you, then keep reading.

Prêt-à-Parler is not your average language school. A small business started by Isabelle Nicolas, a Canadian born now living in Switzerland with a European francophone background. From a young age Isabelle knew she loved languages—growing up in Quebec, she was raised bilingual, and her love of language took her to school to study opera. She was fascinated by diction, and much to her surprise she found that her favorite class ended up being a French diction class taught by an English teacher.  At first, she was skeptical, but soon she realized what a gift it was to have a teacher who had the bilingual perspective—someone who understood the nuances of a certain mother-tongue and the best practices to learn a new language. And many years later, Isabelle found herself with a growing passion for language and knew that this was what she wanted to do.

Isabelle understands the pains of learning a new language, especially when you find yourself in a busy season of life or pressed for time. That’s why Prêt-à-Parler uses a methodology that is more effective and efficient than those you’ll find in a traditional language school. One 60-minute online Pret-à-Parler lesson is equivalent to a 120-minute face-to-face lesson.

The fact that it’s completely online and one-on-one means no more wasting time commuting, small-talking, or group exercising. Prêt-à-Parler uses online digital communications software called Zoom, which has features that mimic and even surpass the experience of a physical classroom. Lessons are recorded so the student can save and re-play each session, listen to themselves speak, and read the side-bar chatbox which is used during each lesson by the teacher to annotate without interrupting. Each student gains access to a digital interface that has supplementary exercises and even free tools to help with language exams. All Prêt-à-Parler teachers are bilingual, so they understand what it feels like to have to learn a second language—they are positive, encouraging, and share a common goal with you: to get you speaking confidently and able to fully engage in your life here in Switzerland.

Vous êtes prêts? If you want to take your language skills to the next level, Prêt-à-Parler is offering an exclusive 15% discount to all TLG readers if you book a language program of 20 lessons or more with them before 15 February 2020 (just mention this article when you book!).

Vous n’êtes pas encore sûr? Why not try Prêt-à-Parler’s 30-day French challenge where you can receive daily tips and mini-challenges to keep your motivation high! It’s the best way to kickstart the new year en français et… c’est gratuit!

There are also several FREE resources on their website, including the FIDE exam preparation webinar, which could be very useful with the new language requirements in effect for non-native permit holders here in Switzerland.

So if you’re ready to dive in the deep-end and take your French to the next level, Prêt-à-Parler is your answer. Click here to take advantage of the exclusive TLG discount or discover more about Prêt-à-Parler.


Out of Office

Lakeside Bars in & around Lausanne


Along the River – Biking the Rhone

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