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Testimonials from Clients - the importance of learning a foreign language

Nicholas Tatham - Master of Wine & Wine Buyer

Nicholas Tatham

For my part, I learnt French to assist me in my job as French wine buyer when I was at Sainsbury’s…I had done it at school to A level but was not very good . I found it incredibly useful so that I could discuss business in the language of the country and both gain respect and have a better understanding of the culture . It also was immensely useful in negotiations , reading French language marketing material , understanding menus , going on holidays and feeling comfortable in a foreign country.

Richard Guy – Managing Director

 richard guy

Why learn a foreign language? They all speak English, don’t they?

Maybe. But to gain the most from visiting the country involved and, even more importantly to trade with them, it is essential to learn the language. And French and Spanish are spoken in so many places.

With some understanding of French and Spanish, you can communicate with nearly a quarter of the world’s population. The whole of Latin America except Brazil, Vietnam, Laos, Morocco, Quebec.

Don’t miss out. Learn the language!

Jon Moffatt - Site Continuous Improvement Leader at GKN Aerospace

jon moffatt

I learned French for GCSE, later I was able to study abroad in France whilst studying engineering, and later work there. Learning a foreign language has meant a great deal to me, it has opened my eyes to other cultures in a way you just can't get as an English speaking tourist. I think it is important to remember you can combine language with other subjects, to keep learning fun and immersive (internet radio, movies etc helps) and make an effort to get experience in the culture as soon as possible. The best part of living abroad and speaking another language has been the amazing people you meet and the lifelong friendships you make.


Ben Bodman – Chef in French Restaurant


When I was in school, I didn’t take French lessons very seriously. I didn’t think I would need to learn French for my life outside of school. It was my lowest grade by two grades when I received my GCSE results and for a while I didn’t think much of it; that was until I decided I wanted to work in the French Alps doing a ski season. I found myself unable to hold a basic conversation with bar staff, shop assistants, pisteurs and a lot of people I met snow-boarding on the mountains. I ended up visiting friends in the South of France after the season and working for a client in mid-France during the summer and found my lack of French infuriating. I’ve just come back from a second winter season in Méribel and have started French lessons which I know are going to come in useful in the future.

Thomas Webber – Head of Purchasing at B&Q

 tom webber

I am Head of Purchasing at B&Q and languages have helped to get me where I am today. I studied a number of foreign languages at GCSE level and then continued with French and German (along with Business Studies) for my A Levels. For my degree I continued on the same path and studied Management and French. Being able to use languages has enabled me to spend time abroad, meeting lots of different people and gaining an appreciation for other cultures. As part of this I worked in France for a number of summers during my studies, a very enjoyable experience that helped me grow as an individual. Speaking the language was vital to living and working in France properly. More recently, languages have helped me to develop an interesting career working for large international companies.

Ben Slater - Development Manager - Bouygues UK

 ben slater

“I have been learning French with Karine for a year. I studied GCSE French some years ago but decided to learn the language again in order to hopefully live in France one day. I work for a French company and learning the language has been invaluable even though I'm now in my 30's. I also hope to own a vineyard in France in the future; and I have quickly learnt that being able to speak the language is essential.

I only wish I had spent more time learning the language when I left school!!”

John Edmunds – Retired Businessman


Why do I recommend that you learn a foreign language e.g French or Spanish or both

•      Secondary Education

–     When I was at Grammar School in Bristol it was compulsory to learn a foreign language. Indeed, I studied French and Latin until I was 16. I did not realise the future benefits of foreign languages when I was at school. If I knew what was going to happen for the next 50 years in my life I would have studied French or Spanish up to A level.

–     Benefits to the English Language – Understanding the English language is made easier as many English words are derived from French, Spanish and Latin

–     I did pass my examination in French and certainly felt that I obtained a basic understanding which was extremely valuable to myself in later life.

•      When I left school I studied further and took up a career in Food Product Development which was based on my science Degree. Why would I need French for this career?

–     I found myself making many visits to France and other European countries to further my knowledge of the Dairy Industry. It was essential at this stage to have a working knowledge of the French Language.

–      Importing French yogurt for the UK Market – my excursions into France intensified as I was given responsibility for importing yogurt into the UK. This involved close communications with Senior French speaking technologists. I would have been unable to achieve my objectives if I had no understanding of French.

•      Camping with the family – in order to provide my young family with adequate summer holidays we invested in a trailer tent. Every summer we travelled further into France and saw almost all regions from the North to South Coast. It made it much easier to enjoy the holiday on a daily basis being able to communicate with the locals.

•      2 French homes – After the camping finished we invested in 2 small properties in France. This involved meetings with French Estate Agents, Solicitors and builders and required a full understanding of French Property Law. Once again the foundations that had been laid in earlier lifer were extremely beneficial.

•      Other countries using French and Spanish as main language – we have family and friends who have worked in many other countries. One of our relatives works in Venezuela and uses his Spanish to good avail. Two close friends worked in Switzerland for 6 years and found their French knowledge extremely important in their daily life.

•      Current objectives – I am now keen to become fluent in French and now spend at least one hour per day listening to French on my I Pod.

CONCLUSION   -   You never know what the future holds. Broaden your opportunities by learning a foreign language. It will pay you a handsome reward in the long term.