Here at the VICI Language Academy in Newbury it should come as no surprise that the French tipple of choice for special occasions was certainly flowing when we held a reception in honour of the French language and all our students.
Held at the Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham the Champagne reception brought together invited guests from alumni of the academy, current students, friends, supporters and suppliers the success of everyone’s favourite language learning location.
Founder Nathalie Danon-Kerr told an audience of over 50 people how she made a dream become reality and here are the highlights of her speech which demonstrated the very passion that inspires so many to learn a foreign language with VICI.
“About seven years ago, I had a dream that I could create a special place where people could come several times per week, learn several modern foreign languages, experience a level of immersion and adopt a language as a lifestyle and not just a school subject.
“I wanted it to be fun and focus on what truly works rather than sticking to tired recipe and follow some ancient text books. Inspiring people to see foreign languages as another natural method of communication was my goal.
She explained how the dream became a reality after meeting David Bonthuys, who became her mentor and naturally was among the invited guests.
“It has been a challenging journey, excruciating at times. But I had a dream… which I could not put on hold for a little thing called recession!
“And when I see you all here tonight, it is very humbling and a great success for language learning in the UK. As a matter of fact, our foreign secretary recently said in the press: “The lack of language skills is diminishing Britain’s voice in the world,”
“The current emphasis on the lack of language skills in the UK is becoming a handicap for the UK economic success; this makes us, at VICI feel that whilst we started our journey a while ago, we are now in the right place, at the right time.
“This had led us to recently support local and national businesses, such as the National Grid to enable bilingual training and enhance levels of communication.”
Nathalie Danon-Kerr then revealed the next phase of her dream was underway – VICI Language Dynamics aims to place language talents within organisations and is set to transform recruitment of language specialists.
She also paid tribute to her team, her husband Matt and not least her parents Martine and Christian who were responsible for the delicious French canapes on the night.
The reception also included a quiz – the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ was exclusively “for the ‘Roastbeefs’ and about the ‘frogs’.
There was also a presentation from Mlle Angéline Desain who talked about the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and how VICI can now cater for all different levels with over 10 hours of group sessions to choose from each week.
The Champagne Reception went on late into the evening and represents only a taster of what the VICI’s fifth anniversary celebrations will be with a ball planned for November.