May 30, 2024


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“A veritable linguistic bath”: these retirees take you to England… without leaving Occitania

“A veritable linguistic bath”: these retirees take you to England… without leaving Occitania

Rusheda and Thomas Savage, two British residents of Darn, welcome students of all ages to immersion courses in English language and culture. An economical solution… it reassures parents.

Who said you have to cross the Channel to immerse yourself in British culture? For more than seven years, Rusheda and Thomas Savage have been inviting young (and not so young) people into their English daily life in Montpinier, southeast of Lautrec. When this former secretary and this former university professor decided to leave England for France in 2006, it is at the heart of our department.

Tarne and the south-west in general had long been accepted lands for English expatriates. So, the couple's gaze turned southward, which was initially seaward regardless of the arrival of our department. “When we came to Lautrec, we said it would be,” Thomas says.

These eighteen years spent in Occitania did not acquire their accent. It's enough to immerse the audience in a “very British” atmosphere, where Shakespeare's language is clearer than Moliere's. A boon for young people who want to improve their English without being able to go abroad.

A language and culture bath

“A linguistic bath is actually created around the young person,” assures Myriam Védrine, Nacel's host family network facilitator. Based in Rodez, the organization specializes in language stays abroad, offering young people between the ages of 12 and 18 the chance to “break away”. [leur] One or two weeks in the native language”, without leaving France. Intimate and low-cost, immersion in Occitanie “reassures the parents of the boys”, explains Miriam Vetrin, who are mostly from the region. Durant Covit, these stay. It was also popular with students who could not go abroad “Before each visit we A test had to be done,” recalls Thomas.

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Every year, Rusheda and Thomas welcome eight to ten young people into their home. “I take care of the lessons and Thomas takes care of the cooking,” explains Rusheda. Each day, vacationers have two hours of classes that Rusheda tailors to their interests. When youngsters are interested in football, the week revolves around football. “All the lessons, all the tests, are about football,” laughs Rusheda again. “One day, I suggested they go to Montagne Noire and they told me, 'No, football,'” adds Thomas.

A cup of tea?

Because in addition to the two-hour lessons, Rusheda and Thomas offer many activities for their guests. The couple share British culture and lifestyle, so “Of course we have tea!” Thomas exclaims. “We have English breakfast, but only once a week,” says Rusheda. Welcoming students or adults in training and adapting to these different profiles. “Once, an Airbus engineer came in because he didn't understand his American colleague,” says Thomas. “A week ago, we only watched CNN to prepare.”

This couple has a head full of stories and memories. They describe Theo's accommodations with stars in his eyes as he “speaks English almost like a native” and keeps coming back to visit them. Or this shy girl who doesn't know what Rusheda likes at the weekend. Still, “the next week, her dad said he couldn't stop talking about us.” She smiled.

This constant discovery of new people, their own passion and their own story, inspires Rusheda and Thomas. “It's an exchange, it's very interesting,” assures the adopted Darnais. “I think that keeps us young.”

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