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Member Spotlight: Christine Bilange, Founder of French LSA

The spotlight for the month of June highlights the journey of an inspirational woman - Christine Bilange, the founder of French LSA, a French Language Tutor and Teacher, providing AP French Exam Preparatory Services and board member of RMFACC Arizona.


Who is Christine Bilange? How would you define yourself?


I am a citizen of the Atlantic: physically in the US with my heart in France. I am a passionate educator, entrepreneur, and cultural ambassador. I define myself as a dynamic individual who bridges the gap between technology and education, combining my love for French language and culture with a strong background in business and technology. 


Could you share about your background and career?

Born and raised in the French Alps, I set out on an adventure that led me from the tranquil surroundings of my hometown to the vibrant city of Paris, and ultimately across the Atlantic to the USA with my family.My professional life began with driving computer sales across the Alps area, which led me to a significant role in launching Itineris, the first GSM network launched by France Télécom Mobile (now Orange S.A.) in France. It became one of the leading mobile phone service providers in the country. 


When did you move to the USA and what initially inspired you to cross the Atlantic?

I moved to the USA 24 years ago, while my two children were very young, and I was seeking a new adventure. The inspiration to cross the Atlantic stemmed from a desire to explore new opportunities, both personally and professionally, and to share my passion for the French language and culture in a new setting.

This new chapter started in California, where I embraced being a mom and ventured into teaching French, especially at UCSD, culminating in the establishment of my business, French LSA. I lived in California for over 22 years, and it was always essential to me to nurture a bicultural experience for both my daughters and for myself.


What motivated you to move to Arizona?

With my kids being adults, I made the decision to relocate to Scottsdale in 2023, inspired by one of my daughters who lived in Arizona. The climate here is notably hotter than California, a preference I appreciate. As an avid athlete, I take full advantage of Arizona’s natural beauty, particularly its trails. Additionally, I continue to pursue my passion for teaching, and through the RMFACC, I contribute to fostering economic collaboration between France and Arizona—an endeavor close to my heart.


What drove your decision to teach the French language in the USA? Were you already a teacher before moving to the USA?

My motivation to teach French in the USA was driven by my passion for the language and culture, coupled with a desire to make a meaningful impact through education. While I was not formally a teacher before moving to the USA, my entrepreneurial and professional experiences in France equipped me with the skills and knowledge to excel in this new venture. However, becoming a teacher does not require only a desire, it also demands significant efforts and a hard work. I have completed various French language studies and certifications.




How has living and working in the USA influenced your personal growth and perspectives?

Living and working in the USA has broadened my horizons and enriched my personal growth. It has provided me with diverse cultural experiences and perspectives, enhancing my ability to connect with individuals from various backgrounds. The experience has also reinforced the importance of adaptability, resilience, and lifelong learning in both personal and professional settings.


Can you describe a particularly memorable moment or achievement in your teaching career?

There are several memorable moments in my teaching career: when one of my students, initially struggling with the French language, achieved top marks in her French exams. Another example is witnessing the growth of a 17-year-old who 10 years later is living and working in France, after a major in French. Knowing that I played a part in her success is incredibly rewarding and reaffirmed my passion for teaching.


What do you enjoy the most in your work?

My interactions with students are incredibly enriching. Hailing from diverse cultures and countries, they contribute to our mutual growth. While I guide them to success in their French studies, they, on their end, enlighten me about their cultures, values, and achievements. This is an inspiring exchange. Some of these relationships endure a lifetime.

Another important thing that motivates me, and would like to highlight, is a student exchange program between France and Arizona. I will be taking high school students from Arizona to France at the end of June until mid-July. I will be their guide, and their safety net on-site, and I am particularly excited about this opportunity. 


What are some unique methods or techniques that you use to teach French?

I incorporate a variety of interactive and immersive techniques in my teaching, including role-playing, multimedia resources, and cultural immersion activities. By creating a dynamic and engaging learning environment, I help students connect with the language on a deeper level and develop a genuine appreciation for French culture. Additionally, I have to say that my double culture - French American is the gem of my uniqueness. 


Why should people choose you?

People should select me because of my unique blend of professional experience, cultural insights, and dedication to student success. My approach to teaching goes beyond traditional methods, offering a personalized and enriching educational experience that prepares students not only for academic success but also for real-world applications of the French language. I’ve been helping French students for nearly 20 years, and I know exactly how to identify and address areas where students need improvement in their language skills.


Do you have any French habits you will never change?

One French habit I will never change is enjoying a leisurely meal with family and friends. The French tradition of savoring good food and engaging in meaningful conversation is something I hold dear and continue to practice, no matter where I am.  Another habit that I will not develop deeply here is my love for French cheese.  

My heart will forever remain French, and I am extremely inspired sharing my love for France with others. This is something that will never change.


What advice would you give to someone from France considering a similar career to yours in the USA?

My advice to someone from France considering a similar career in the USA would be to embrace the journey with an open mind and a resilient spirit. Leverage your unique cultural background and professional experiences to create a niche for yourself.

Stay adaptable, build strong networks, and most importantly, remain passionate about your work. The US offers vast opportunities for those willing to explore and innovate.


What is your moto?

The saying I love is: “What does not kill you makes you stronger”. I have another one more professional : “If it is obvious, just state it.”

 

How can people reach out to you?

People can contact me through my website: French LSA, www.frenchlsa.com, or email me at christine@FrenchLSA.com.I’ll soon be expanding my presence on social media, an area I haven’t previously focused on.

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