Valérie founded The Language Exchange in 1992 and has been its director since. She was born in France in a small town located between Annecy (Haute-Savoie) and Genève (Switzerland). She grew up in this French part of the Alps and lived there until 1986 when she began College at the Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III. She started a Master’s Degree in Business and Languages which she completed in the MBA program at SUNY Binghamton while on an exchange program. While at Binghamton, she started an interdisciplinary graduate program where she specialized in Social Sciences – adult development – and Translation, fields in which she had a keen interest.
Following her thesis, a translation of Joyce Carol Oates’ All The Good People I’ve Left Behind, she decided to move to Maine where she has lived ever since. It now feels like home to her although her heart and soul always seem to be rejuvenated when she has an opportunity to speak French and be around French people. Something with which most expatriates can identify. She goes to France every year, sometimes more than once, and receives the best of both worlds. Her travels have allowed her to see her country in a different light and in a way to keep a more objective opinion of the culture of which she is a product. As such, she has rediscovered Provence where she spent most of her summer vacations as a child – when not in Italy to visit her relatives – and continues to find it an idyllic place and hopes to be able to share this vision with you. As for Martinique, Dordogne, and wherever else her next immersion programs will take her, they are parts of France she first encountered through literature and later on explored and studied until it became impossible to not want to share all of their little secrets.
Valérie has taught children and adults alike for the past 30 years with the same passion and commitment to her students’ progress and enjoyment. She has been a Lecturer at Southern Maine Community College, the University of Southern Maine, and Bowdoin College. She also spent 10 years as a three-season track coach for young women at Cheverus high school in Portland. When a teacher, always a teacher. It doesn’t matter what you teach if it’s your life’s calling!