Chatterbox #24 – Cross-Cultural Relationships: An interview with Melanie

Please meet our friend Melanie! She is a native English speaker who learned French from a very young age. She traveled to Lyon, France where she met her partner Christophe, who is a native French speaker. In this episode, Maura and Melanie discuss the fun and the challenges of being in a relationship where the two people don’t speak the same language or come from the same culture!


Sample transcript

Melanie: Well, I was born and raised in Lindsay, Ontario a few hours north of
Maura: So how did you end up in Montreal then?
Melanie: Well after finishing high school in Lindsay, I moved out west to Kelowna,
British Columbia where I did a college diploma in aviation and I taught
flying around British Columbia for a few years before heading back to Ontario
to Ottawa to do a degree in language, French and English literature. That
took me to France on an exchange with the University of Ottawa, where I
met my partner Christophe. Living in France was an excellent experience, a
great way learn about the culture and practice the language but tough to get
visas sometimes so I had to come back to Canada. Christophe and I decided
to both come to Montreal where we can both work and live in our first
Maura: OK, cool. So what were you doing in France?
Melanie: I went originally on an exchange with the university. So I took classes at one
of the universities in Lyon, France. There I studied with native speakers in
the literature classes there and I also at the same time taught English in a
high school.
Maura: Oh, that’s pretty cool. So how did you learn French? Just at university?
Melanie: No, in Lindsay, where I’m from. It’s funny, it’s a small town, no native French
speakers, and yet there’s a French immersion program. It started the year
before I went into school, luckily, so when I started kindergarten at the age of
5, I started in French immersion, where I spoke only French from the first day
of school. So we were all native English speakers but learning French
Maura: That’s pretty cool. I’m always jealous of people who have that experience
because for me growing up, I was surrounding by people speaking English
and I went to English school and I took some French classes because no
matter, really, where you are in English-speaking Canada you have to take
French classes but it’s not an immersion program so I didn’t really learn as
Melanie: Yeah, it was a really great program. We learned French from native French
speakers that came to the town to teach. We learned a lot about the
language and the French culture as well, which is really great ‘cause the
small town wasn’t very diverse. We spoke only French from kindergarten all
the way up until grade 4, was the first time we learned English. We had
about 45 minutes a day in English and then it progressed. Every year we
added a little bit more English until high school we had about 3 classes in
French, 3 classes in English.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips