Molly and her delicious French Learning Journey

Molly and her delicious French Learning Journey

The one year learning French in Paris with Novexpat integrated Molly and her family into the true French culture of la joie de vivre.

Molly moved to Saint-Cloud Paris with her family in 2019 from Washington D.C - a true foodista, a well-loved food blogger of Vanilla Bean Cuisine. She was also a successful marketing executive of Apple in the US a few years back.

The French Learning Journey of Molly in Paris begins…

    with her delicious dream to expand her book of exquisite gourmets, and be inspired by the true French culture - a culture that takes every meal times as miracle moments of life. As we all know, the French focus on quality over quantity ;)

The one year learning French in Paris with Novexpat integrated Molly and her family into the true French culture of la joie de vivre. More importantly, it opened up her palette of richness to truly taste what it is like to be a real local parisienne..

Here is an interview she had with Carrie So, our storyteller of the Novexpat community:

Who's Molly?

Q: What do you do in life, Molly?

In life, my biggest passion is food. I am a happy recipe blogger. I come up with my own delicious and healthy recipes! And then I take mouth-watering food pictures and write about them for my website.

Q: What motivated you to learn French in Paris?

France has always been a country that I wanted to live in. For me, French is a beautiful language. I've always loved it. There was no doubt in my mind since I was 12 that I will one day speak French. Having the opportunity to move here in Paris with my husband motivated me to take up the challenge once again.

But what I have discovered about the language was far beyond what I could have imagined. I discovered the exquisite food culture through learning the beautiful language. For example, back home in the US, there is nothing sacred about meals: everyone eats at their own speed, depending on their appetite. Here in France, food is about sharing collective values and moments. Being in France was home-coming for me!

“Being in France was home-coming for me!”

Living in France for Molly...

Q: What do you love the most about living in France?

I would say the international community that I got to meet here. It has been a really enriching experience to get to know people from all over the world like me trying to learn French, and who have had similar experiences in this very particular foreign land. We were able to share different perspectives from our origins and culture. It challenges all of us, the way life has to be.

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“Being in France was home-coming for me”

Q: Did the experience of Paris change for you once you have mastered your French?

Yes, certainly. My experience in Paris has changed when I started to be treated NOT like a tourist. The more that I was at ease with the language, the more I felt that I belonged in the city! Finally, I could call it my home. I love the moments when I was finally able to comment about something that's happening in the news, or the bad weather and, most importantly, asking questions about where the food comes from in the market!

“My experience in Paris has changed when I started to be treated NOT like a tourist.”

Molly's Challenges Faced in Learning French

Q:What challenges have you faced in learning French?

It has been a struggle to be honest! In the beginning, due to my confidence level, when I tried to speak in French, everyone answered me back in English. The situation was absolutely disheartening! In fact, I was so uncomfortable with daily interactions in French that I could not even bring my dog to the dog groomer. I felt that I needed to chit-chat with the woman who works there in French, and I couldn't. Most of all, I was not able to ask questions about the vegetables in the market for my latest recipe!

The problem was that I could make sense of verb tenses, vocabulary and how different phrases could be put together in a sentence. But everything stayed in my head, and nothing came out from my month. I was blocked. I was so afraid to make mistakes. I always second guess myself in front of people. I tried some language programmes that allow you to listen to a certain phrase and then repeat it back out loud. It helped a little bit, but it was just unnatural and felt totally forced.

Q: What are some tools or programs that you used?

I used pimsleur, an online language learning programme. It was helpful in the beginning. However, I realised it's limitations when it comes to real life scenarios. I also took several classes with Alliance Française, which is a more traditional French language class. I did enjoy it but there were too many people in one single class to practice speaking. The experience overall did not integrate my learning to my everyday life in Paris unfortunately. I remained at the level of just understanding the language - in my head only.

“It seemed that I could make sense of verb tenses, vocabulary and how different phases could be put together in a sentence. But everything stayed in my head!”

Molly's Unique Experiences with novexpat

Q: Which program did you join at Novexpat?

I started off joining their 8-weeks FrenchBooster program in the fall of 2020. Afterward, I continued with their weekly online conversation classes to dive deep into specific topics and interesting life scenarios in France. What I enjoyed the most out of the full experience of FrenchBooster for example, was being coached by my professor one-to-one. She followed my progress and aspirations during the 8 weeks. My goal at the time was to sound natural in French! She put together a bunch of vocabulary expressions, articles about different concepts around healthy eating. It was so much fun to discover together with her!

Q: Great. Give us One Word to describe your experience with Novexpat?

I would say SUPPORTIVE. The professors in the school recognise every effort that you make in your learning journey. I found that it is such an encouraging environment to always try harder in French, and to get past fear of saying something wrong. Because no matter what I said during the class - right or wrong, local-sounding or not – the professor in the class was able to use what I said to give me timely, relevant and useful feedback to help me progress. For me, this is special.

“The professor in the class was able to use what I said to give me timely, relevant and useful feedback to help me progress. For me, this is special.”

Molly's Secret Recipe (tips) in learning French

Q: What advice can you give to our French learning community at Novexpat?

My advice would be to just speak with any native around you, and not be afraid to make mistakes. French people are actually very welcoming if you make an effort to interact with them. And if you're living in the city, it's pretty easy to find places to practice. For example, in your own quartier, begin by getting familiar with the same bakery and shops. Again, I would say: Start Small. If you can open up a tiny conversation on easy topics, such as weather or ask about how they're doing, you begin to develop relationships with the locals! Once the relationships are established, you feel more confident to express yourself naturally.

Bonus sharing from Molly 🙌

Q: Share with us two French phrases that you have adopted and started to use in your everyday life?

“Manger Sain”

As a food blogger, I ask what it means to buy organic food and eat healthy. In order to enrich my professional life in France, I dedicated my learning with my professor to discover different vocabulary around foods. This way, I can source all ingredients that I need. One word that I have learned is Manger Sain. It simply means to eat healthy. It helps me to advocate healthy eating, which is a must for me! Before, I didn't even know how to convey a simple concept as such.

“Le terroir”

Another French word that I have learned that has to do with food is the concept of Le terroir. In France, there are various regions where food or wine comes from, and the nature of the soil where things are grown actually makes the products different from one another. France really values the history and the different characters in their foods. Each part of France has certain properties that make their food or the wine interesting. Le terroir is a concept that inspired me hugely in the understanding of French's cuisines and its culture of quality living.

Carrie So

Storyteller At novexpat

Carrie is a passionate and talented expat entrepreneure and community driver. Carries' wonderful experience as a novexpat alumni convinced her to join the team and become our inspiring storyteller of the novexpat community.

Improving your French starts with an efficient learning plan.
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Allow you a free 20-minute call with Fabienne, our co-founder and French teaching lead at novexpat, to boost your learning plan. Her agenda is open to you right down below 👇

You can trust us. And check client word.

Review from Felicia-Claudia Cimpanu

Felicia-Claudia C.

  • 5.0

almost 3 years ago

I followed the FrenchUp program. The combination of online courses and face to face (on Zoom) teaching worked perfectly for me. Plus, the program was very flexible, and the teacher adapted the courses to my level. It was what I needed to build up confidence and upgrade my French knowledge.

Review from Wubke Willemsen

Wubke W.

  • 5.0

almost 5 years ago

Sign up for the FrenchBooster programme, I garantee you'll have a great experience! I loved my time with Novexpat as I feel comfortable now to speak french thanks to Fabiënne!

Review from merve alsan

merve a.

  • 5.0

over 1 year ago

I joined the French Booster program and it was really a rich learning experience! As I'm not a beginner it's not as easy to find courses or content that can help me get to that next level of living in France without stressing about French but I really improved a lot in 2 months. Even my friends and colleagues in France told me that they noticed a big difference. The Neo platform and the overall management of the course is super professional and well-prepared as well. Fabienne is always very kind and thoughtful. She goes above and beyond to make sure everyone gets the most from their time at the course. It was also very lovely to meet other students and find people that I can continue practicing together. I definitely recommend!

Review from Emilie Hanlet

Emilie H.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

A fun and interactive way to learn or improve your French. I enjoyed taking the 8-week long intensive French Booster with it's online platform that has many exercises to review what you learned in class. I also enjoy the small things like the weekly email French Expresso. Thank you Fabienne for a wonderful experience and for all of the help and guidance you've provided.

Review from Saskia Nuschke

Saskia N.

  • 5.0

over 3 years ago

They are super nice and their concept works amazingly well. Fabienne completely understood my needs and I have progressed extremely well in the last three months - plus, it was fun! Can’t stress enough how highly I recommend them 😊

Review from Sierra Parker

Sierra P.

  • 5.0

over 1 year ago

This was a great experience for me. There are lots of things that can be tough when moving to a new country, and two of them are culture and language. This was a chance for me to learn about French culture while improving my language skills, while also learning with a patient and kind teacher.

Review from Holly Kuper

Holly K.

  • 5.0

about 4 years ago

I learned SO much. I have been studying for 3 years and this was the most useful for everyday life. I heard about Novexpat through a friend. The first day I was given words one could use when meeting someone new. I thought how silly. I've been meeting new people for 3 years. But these phrases and words were not how I had been introducing myself. What a difference this class made. I felt more french and more confident with each lesson. Each week I learned useful everyday words and expressions that I used the minute I left the class. Fabienne is patient and kind and the material is clear and interactive.

Review from Mina Ghent

Mina G.

  • 5.0

over 3 years ago

I participate in the French conversation classes which are an hour each for 2 days a week. You have the flexibility to choose Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri. Fabienne is a great teacher and hosts a class which has a good balance of structured learning in 'every day' French (focusing on a specific topic each time) and giving us all an opportunity to talk in class. All in all very enjoyable and practical. Highly recommended!

Review from Erin Odwyer

Erin O.

  • 5.0

about 1 year ago

This program is perfect for a beginner. The structure and the pace are wonderful. I was a complete beginner, and I have made lots of progress. Lily is an amazing teacher. I can't recommend this program enough.

Review from Helen Dole

Helen D.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

As a veteran teacher myself, I love how the lessons were structured in Novexpat. I always felt like the learning was focused on useful and relevant material. In addition, I'm a mom of two toddlers so the flexible scheduling of the courses (during naptime!) was super helpful. I have made a lot of progress in my French language skills and I'm excited to take another course with Novexpat.

Review from Marta March

Marta M.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

I absolutely recommend this program! - it is not only a French course, it is also a discovery trip to understand better French culture, you learn a lot of interesting things along the way! Fabienne is super energetic and generates a very positive vibe in the group! I did not find especially remarkable the tool while on the course, but once we finished, it has been great to be able to review the vocabulary, to go through the recommended material that I did not have the chance to explore then... Congrats Fabienne & Pierre for such a nice program!

Review from Chris Lyons

Chris L.

  • 5.0

over 4 years ago

I really can't say enough good things about Novexpat. Over my ~5 years in Paris, I studied at multiple schools, meetups, etc. Novexpat was the best by far! Everything I was taught was super relevant, practical, and immediately useful. My only regret is that I didn't start studying with them sooner! If you want to get results quickly, study with Novexpat!

Review from Oleksii Liakhovetskyi

Oleksii L.

  • 5.0

4 months ago

Great experience with Novexpat . Overall very professional organization, with the individual approach. Their FrenchUp course is tailor made and suits well my needs in terms of flexible scheduling as well as tailormade program. Also the support with DCL exam preparation was very helpful, and the result was better than I expected. I will continue with Novexpat next year

Review from Robyn Kaplan

Robyn K.

  • 5.0

2 months ago

The experience has been perfect. Great one-on-one instruction paired with just the right amount of challenging material. Not too easy and not too difficult. The instructor (Guilia: aka the best!) ensures slowing or picking up the pace where ever it's needed. I highly recommend.

Review from Justina Forest

Justina F.

  • 5.0

over 3 years ago

I really enjoyed learning french with Fabienne (Novexpat)! The conversation courses, they provide, are very well structured, topics explained in an easy way! Learning new phrases and taking them into a practise directly during the course made them to sit in my head:). Friendly and enjoyable learning with a great teacher! Courses were even more effective thanks to the teachers skills to master “zoom”and their interactive french learning web (Novexpat) for practicing learned topics afterwards. Great job for the teacher and the students! Hope to see you in 2021! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year🎅🏻🎅🏻🎅🏻

Review from Rachel Toaff-Rosenstein

Rachel T.

  • 5.0

over 2 years ago

I am very pleased that I took the 8 week French Booster course with Novexpat. I really enjoyed the structure of the small-group participatory lessons, the accompanying website and homework, my classmates, Fabienne (the teacher) and of course the results: greater confidence not only in written and spoken French but also tips and tricks for fitting in to life in Paris.

Review from Phoebe Lau

Phoebe L.

  • 5.0

3 months ago

I really enjoy Novexpat's French classes. From the first 20-minutes meeting up until completing the first 30h FrenchUp course, my French teacher, Fabienne, a co-founder of Novexpat, encouraged me so much in terms of learning French. She made me not to be afraid of expressing myself in French. The vocabularies of each topics are super useful and practical in daily life. I am much more confident in speaking French.

Review from Kelley Patten

Kelley P.

  • 5.0

over 2 years ago

Fabienne and the Novexpat program are absolutely phenomenal! I came into the program as a complete beginner speaking no French at all, and even after 6 months I was able to go to Paris and communicate in shops, restaurants, etc. Having taken other more traditional (i.e. book-based) courses with other languages, I have to say my comprehension and ability to speak has progressed much more rapidly that I could have hoped. Also, Fabienne is a join to work with and learn from. Highly recommend taking any of the courses available!

Review from Andrea Davis

Andrea D.

  • 5.0

over 5 years ago

Learning French turns out to be a travel adventure. Fabienne’s classes are shaped with a definite structure that covers all the relevant subjects I want to be able to communicate about, but she makes it feel flexible, and adapted to those of us in the room. It’s been really fun, and funny to be there—lots of humor and popular culture and learning about French movies and Parisienne mindset. It’s the kind of class you go to, and then want to keep studying with her. She’s always in good spirits and very encouraging.

Review from Francis Tseng

Francis T.

  • 5.0

6 days ago

I found the program to be fun and engaging. I especially enjoyed the discussion we had, being able to ask questions, and the subjects the course covered. In general it was good practice for speaking; I recommend it if you want to have a bit of routine practice and expand your vocabulary.

Review from Joni L Middleton

Joni M.

  • 5.0

about 4 years ago

"5/5. Incredible! Very practical and helpful. My French friends have commented on my increased language confidence."

Review from Simone Slifman

Simone S.

  • 5.0

over 3 years ago

Fabienne's lunchtime online conversation course is a great way to build upon and challenge your existing skills. The small group, friendly atmosphere, and online review tools are really helpful. Fabienne is extremely patient and well-prepared, and knows how to keep things on track to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate. I highly recommend Novexpat!

Review from Janet Ma

Janet M.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

I really loved my French course. It was useful and fun with a structured approach where I actually felt like I learned something every class. I was also able to put it to use immediately and I also recognized the phrases in every day life immediately as well. I could relate to my colleagues at work better and gave me more confidence to speak. Highly recommend!

Review from Roberto M

Roberto M.

  • 5.0

almost 2 years ago

I took the eight-week french booster course with Fabienne - a very positive and helpful experience all around for an immigrant trying to make his way in France, and, particularly, Paris.

Review from Sarah Rossiter

Sarah R.

  • 5.0

5 months ago

I loved my tutor and my French improved quickly. I highly recommend this program if you are an expat moving to France at any level of French. I worked only online and loved the flexibility but you can meet in person too.

Review from Holly Stiener

Holly S.

  • 5.0

over 3 years ago

I have been taking the course for several weeks and it is helping me improve my French so much. The online classes are small and the structure allows for you to practice what you are learning conversationally. For reference I am level B1. Fabienne is very patient and really knows how to teach! Highly recommend!!!

Review from Molly Pisula

Molly P.

  • 5.0

almost 4 years ago

Highly recommend the Novexpat FrenchBooster class! Fabienne is knowledgeable and so supportive, and the small class size is ideal for learning and practicing conversation. The online component is also very useful and well done. Excellent class!

Review from Anna Esquivel

Anna E.

  • 5.0

10 days ago

I highly recommend Novexpat! Cecile, my French teacher, was very patient and supportive. She explained things clearly and had a gentle teaching style, which was especially helpful for someone who struggles with languages. I also appreciated learning French in cafes instead of classrooms. Also, the co-founders did an excellent job with my course and exam registration and follow-up. All around a pleasant experience!

Review from Pierre Canel

Pierre C.

  • 5.0

about 1 year ago

(Translated by Google) Great site to learn French. The method, the enthusiasm of the teachers, the novelty... everything is there to create the perfect atmosphere to be motivated and progress in learning the language. We love it 🥰 (Original) Súper site pour apprendre le français. La méthode, l’enthousiasme des profs, la nouveauté… tout est là pour créer une ambiance parfaite pour être motivé et progresser dans l’apprentissage de la langue. On adore 🥰

Review from Pallavi Choudhury

Pallavi C.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

A great 8 weeks of improving French! Lessons and resources are simply amazing! Fabienne is amazing with tons of experience and thought given to imparting the lessons!

Review from Kyoko Yamashita

Kyoko Y.

  • 5.0

almost 4 years ago

I recommend Novexpat for those who want to learn living French! Fabienne taught us not only grammar but also many expressions that are frequently used on a daily basis among French. This helped me a lot and boosted my French level a lot :) Worth trying!

Review from Dhruv Kumar

Dhruv K.

  • 5.0

5 months ago

I had a great experience with Novexpat as they helped me prepare for my DCL exam! In a nutshell, it was amazing, timely, comprehensive, personal! Big kudos to the team - Fabienne, Pierre-Yves, and most importantly Cécile, my teacher - for their professionalism and flexibility given my complicated agendas. 10/10 recommend their services for anyone wanting to improve their French! 🙂

Review from Adrienne Dunn

Adrienne D.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

I cannot recommend Fabienne's class more! She is a true delight. Moreover, the webapp NEO is useful and attractive with exercises you can do and do again, and again. Because of the pandemic, I took the course online, but have no regrets. I feel as though I received the full learning experience. Trust me, I have taken many French classes (in 3 different countries and 4 cities), and this is the only class I recommend. Enroll and Enjoy.

Review from Haley Sorensen

Haley S.

  • 5.0

over 5 years ago

I have loved my one-on-one classes with Novexpat! I feel like Fabienne really understands my level and with one-on-one classes she really takes the time to make sure I understand the new material before moving on, or if I already know a part of the lesson we are able to move along faster than if in a classroom environment with many other students. She is extremely patient and allows me to ask as many questions as I wish and also makes me feel extremely comfortable and confident. The learning style behind Novexpat is very practical as the material you learn caters to everyday life and phrases/concepts you can put to use immediately. I also really enjoy the online app and learning platform to help study, it’s very convenient that it is specified to each individual lesson. I am so grateful that I discovered Novexpat!

Review from Yamelis Hosein

Yamelis H.

  • 5.0

over 2 years ago

The french booster program with NovExpat was excellent. During the duration of the course we were taught lots of French idiomatic expression used in daily life for different topics, which not only helps to communicate better, but to understand as well. The Neo platform is the best, as you can learn and practice at your own. The classes are very dynamic. The groups are small. Thank you Fabienne and keep up the amazing work!

Review from Rebeca Ruano Acosta

Rebeca A.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

Very positive experience. The course is really well structured. My main objective was to improve my oral French in normal day to day situations. This was extremely well covered. The classes are divided by subject which makes them very interesting and immediately useful. I could feel my confidence to speak French increase with every lesson. The teacher, Fabienne, is amazing and the duration of the lessons is perfect with a short break and lots of practice time. The platform Neo is also full of resources and available during and after the course. Extremely happy!

Review from Yasemin Sahiner

Yasemin S.

  • 5.0

about 3 years ago

'Classes with Fabienne are incredibly useful and pleasant at the same time. Weekly conversation classes give just the right amount of push to help even the people on busy schedules to gain confidence. Through-out the well structured lessons one has the occasion to put French into practice and hold conversations of various lengths and complexities with like-minded people. Novexpat founders and their team are very open and warm. The diligent and vibrant team, while putting relentless effort in always keeping-up with the innovative methods to cater for the enthusiasts of French culture, gives precious cultural insights for a swift and smooth integration.

Review from Naheed

Naheed N.

  • 5.0

almost 2 years ago

I really enjoyed my Novexpat program and found it invaluable! With my very motivated teacher, we followed a program mixed with discussion & formal courseware on their custom platform. The courses cover vocabulary, grammar, verbs & conjugation (in a fun way!) and also include day to day jargon as well as cultural soundbites on films, music etc to help you not only learn the language, but the culture too. :)

Review from Brian Gifford

Brian G.

  • 5.0

2 months ago

Our instructor Giulia helped us quickly improve our written and spoken French, and also teaches us how to use local and common idioms and mistakes to avoid. The in-person lessons are very thorough and useful, but taught in a way that is patient, friendly, engaging and fun.

Review from Michele Silvestri

Michele S.

  • 5.0

about 2 years ago

Extremely happy with the program! Very practical and able to use the skills immediately.

Review from Jonas Wenke

Jonas W.

  • 5.0

over 1 year ago

Took a beginner conversational class and had a great time learning with you guys. Lily did a great job making me speak a lot and helping me improve along the way. Can recommend!

Review from Heather Jacobs

Heather J.

  • 5.0

over 5 years ago

Fabienne and the NovExpat team are changing the way people learn French. Her methods go far beyond teaching grammar and conjugations; they teach you the living language - that which is most relevant to adapting and integrating into the French culture. I can’t say enough about how much and how quickly I learned - and how enjoyable the lessons have been! I see Fabienne for private lessons now but the French Booster course was so good, I plan to take it a second time!

Review from Sara Picon Camacho

Sara C.

  • 5.0

10 months ago

I had a great experience with Novexpat and I highly recommened. The teacher and the staff are all very nice and helpful making the experience of learning french really enjoyable and efficient. Xhat I like the most is the way the lessons are organised in different sections that are interconnected to ech other, really helping to fix and retain the grammar and vocabulary. I feel that I have really improved my French thanks to Novexpat and I feel more confident! Many thanks!

Review from Dmitry Ponomarenko

Dmitry P.

  • 5.0

4 months ago

Great courses for enhancing your Française! Dedicated team of language coaches. Good spirit and nice location next to Les Halles.

Review from Lili Pencheva

Lili P.

  • 5.0

over 1 year ago

"Novexpat can offer French courses to suit all levels and they are led by very enthusiastic tutors. The learning methods can be tailored to suit individual learning objectives and include a wide range of sources. Whether you are looking for a structured or a more informal means of improving your proficiency in the French language, I would have no hesitation in recommending Novexpat. I have made a lot of progress, and highly increased my confidence. She is highly professional and has very thorough knowledge of French language."

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