'Action-oriented' is the magic phrase at CeFoLiAc, which is run by Stefanie Brandt and Simona Ruggia. The German and Italian women, who got to know each other during their PhD studies at the University of Nice, know from personal learning experiences how to teach a foreign language in the most appealing way: by immersing students completely in language and culture, preferably with fun-filled activities such as sailing, a cooking class or a visit to a market or museum. Excursions are, therefore, an integral part of the programme for this language centre in Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
“When you are active instead of just looking at a book, you learn best!” explains Stefanie when we talk of the duo’s ‘active’ approach. Initially specialised in teaching French as a foreign language, the two founders extended the language centre’s offer in 2011 to include other languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
Today, CeFoLiAc is based on three pillars: private language courses for adults; classes for businesses and corporations; and children’s classes. The latter are referred to as stages pédagogiques and the French teachers are most often from abroad, but trained locally. Regardless of which path a student follows, the teaching approach at CeFoLiAc always remains the same!
“We value quality, not quantity,” she emphasises. “The theory must be there too!”
Private language courses in small groups are offered year-round in Eze, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu and can range from a one-week intensive course to a year-round weekly meeting. Also popular are individual courses or the formule famille, which are delivered at the students’ home on request. “If, for example, a family with children from abroad moves to the Côte d'Azur, we offer this option,” explains Stefanie. “An intensive course, for example, during the summer holidays is a possibility.”
Subject to students’ preference, language courses can also be paired with activities such as sport, a cooking class or an excursion.
The teaching staff at CeFoLiAc also offer language courses to companies anywhere between Menton and Toulon. For example, if staff members wish to polish up their English or require a basic knowledge of German for a special project, the language centre is on hand.
“Regarding French companies, some further education is supported by the state,” says Stefanie, adding that several renowned companies in the region are today part of the student body at CeFoLiAc.
For about a year now, the centre has also welcomed foreign French teachers. “They come to France to refresh their own language skills and to get to know our teaching methods,” she explains. “Last summer, for example, a group of 20 Indians came to visit us, who took the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the region and visiting many places on the Côte d'Azur. We organised their entire stay and developed an educational programme for them.”