"At the Alliance we have the French language in common".


If the learning of a language is sometimes a necessity, for some, it borders on passion. A passion that is well worth sacrificing one's vacations, and even one's morning sleep- ins! Here is the example of Rachel Bucasio, logging in each week from Brazil.

Growing up, Rachel Bucasio had little interaction with France or its language. True, there would be the occasional words, "croissant", "baguette" and even "abat-jour", which, like a modern-day Monsieur Jourdain, she pronounced without necessarily knowing that they were French. But neither her family nor her close relatives spoke the language.

"I first took an interest in it during history classes’’ she remembers now. ‘’I remember studying the French Revolution, civilization and culture. I was very intrigued, so a little later I took the French language option. But after three years, I had to choose: English or French. English being more widespread, I made a rational choice’’.

Learning to learn, again

But then, years later, Rachel and the French language met again, somewhere alongside her career path. "I work for the National Institute of Industrial Property in Rio de Janei- ro, and we regularly use French at work. And, every year, we are offered the possibility to go to Strasbourg for a three-month course, but my French is not good enough, I  need to improve it. I mean, whenever possible, I travel to France, the last time it was with my husband and our daughter, and for that I manage, but spending three months and attending classes is something else".

With this goal in mind, Rachel Bucasio naturally turned to the Alliance française in Rio, "the reference for learning French", and was quickly hooked up again. "It's such a pleasure to learn!’’.

No holidays for French

But then came the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on everyone’s lives.
’’t was the summer holidays, which to us in Brazil is in December and January. I couldn’t travel to improve my French, nor could I benefit from the courses of the Rio Alliance, which does not offer conversation workshops during the vacations’’. But it takes more to stop Rachel Bucasio once her mind is made up. Everything has to be done remotely? Then there must be a way to join in a distance learning course. That is how she found the online workshops given by the Alliance française de Paris. An so what if that means getting up at 5 a.m. during her vacations!

‘’In the end, the health restrictions have given way to new possibilities, since once a week I connect with France, and I can practice my oral skills. What I find particularly interesting with these workshops at the Alliance française de Paris is that it allows me to exchange with people from different cultures, to make contact with people of different nationalities that I would never have met otherwise. But there, what we have in common is French’’.

Longing to rediscover the Louvre and the streets of Paris

A French that Rachel Bucasio continues to explore on a daily basis by watching the international French-language channel TV5 Monde, or the series on Netflix. "When no one around you speaks French, you have to make an effort, don't you?’’.

These efforts will perhaps one day allow her to come back and follow the professional seminar in Strasbourg she has her heart set on. In the meantime, Rachel dreams of the day when she can once again take her daughter for a walk in the streets of Paris that she loves so much. And perhaps return to the Louvre, "because last time, for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, there were really too many people!’’.