Portrait : Alberto Holgueras


 « "Challenges help us better ourselves" »

With his natural enthusiasm and a certain imperviousness to failure, Alberto Holgueras thought he was ready for any curveball life had in store for him. What this professional dancer turned tourism expert hadn’t anticipated was how hard it would be to move to Paris without knowing the language. He almost stumbled, but has since landed on both feet. 

Before arriving in Paris, Alberto Holgueras had already lived two full lives. The first one began in Madrid, the city where he would take his first steps. Both literally and figuratively, since after studying ballet at the conservatory, he decided to pursue a career on stage. 

‘’At 17, I left Spain. Musicals, cruises around the world, theaters, casinos, I went from project to project. And from country to country. But after 15 years of this life, a certain loneliness crept up on me. Because yes, you travel, you meet tons of different people, but in the end, comes the evening, you are always alone in your room, in yet another hotel".

Time to start a ‘normal life’

At that time, Alberto had been in Japan for a few years already. And he started to wonder: if he were to stop dancing, what could he do? What other skills could he put forward? "The answer came all by itself: what I knew more than anything else, outside the artistic world, was the hotel business, the tourism industry! ».

Determined to change his life, Alberto Holgueras resumed his studies. And a few months later, he returned to Madrid with a new diploma in his pocket. And a new career in the luxury hotel business. ‘’From that moment on, I lived a life I had never known before: I had a job, free time my hands, I could go out for a drink with my friends in the evening, be around my family whenever I wanted... The normal life, at last! »

A decisive encounter

Two years stretched out peacefully. Alberto began to think he had finally settled down, when a new element suddenly knocked at the door: love. "I met my partner in Madrid, where he was on a mission for his job, as he works in finance. After a few months of a love story like I had always dreamed of, he had to go back to Paris. And he asked if I would like to go and live with him’’.  

Of course, Alberto Holgueras packed his bags again and headed for the French capital. "Can you imagine? I speak Spanish, English, a little Portuguese, a little Italian, a little Japanese, but not a word of French! It sounded crazy, but I'm one of those who think that challenges help us better ourselves. So, I looked for a language school, but couldn’t find one I liked. Until I came across the Alliance française de Paris and their workshops in French through theater. Really, it was made for me! »

The Lost In Translation effect

But before getting back on stage, Alberto had to learn the basics. ‘’People skills is not just a line on my resume ; it’s what I am passionate about. And in Paris I got so frustrated. I was unable to communicate with people, who I found distant and indifferent, specially after my Japanese experience. And then it hit me : it was all for a lack of understanding’’.

To counter this Lost In Translation effect, Alberto Holgueras works twice as hard at the Alliance Française, taking one intensive course after the other.A1, A2, B1... « Unlike Japanese, you cannot lear French phonetically. The pronunciation is very different from what is written! Luckily, thanks to the Alliance's teachers, I soon made impressive progress".  

Still not enough for a perfectionist such as Alberto. "I started a group on WhatsApp with the other students, so we could continue the discussions outside of the classroom, to maintain that connection. Because that's what the Alliance Française is all about, people from all over the world with whom you can exchange, and not only on grammar issues!’’.

Chapter 3 : the Parisian life

Day after day, Alberto Holgueras learns to master the language. So much so that he allows himself to bring French into his private sphere. "With my partner, we used to communicate in English. Then, we started to speak one hour a day entirely in French. And now, it’s French only at home we speak only in French. Except in case of emergency, when I really can't express myself’’. 

And it seems that this is just the motivation he needed, since Alberto's progress has been much faster since then... This is why today, he finally feels ready to face his new life. His third life. His Parisian life.