In 2008, I came to Paris from Asia. It was a big shock coming back to Europe, but also landing in Paris from Singapore: it was winter and it was cold. Our apartment was half the size of our one in Singapore. In Singapore I had a good job doing teacher training and working with adult learners at the British Council. Suddenly I was at home with a baby and no job. I could follow all my friends back in Singapore on Facebook partying, enjoying the sunshine and the good life.
It was depressing. Especially the grey skies.
However, I couldn't sit around feeling bad for long: I had to take action. I started working in a technology company, helping their employees and the executives improve their professional English. This led to other work with executives in different companies, and in some of the French grandes écoles. I also started to get sucked into the French administration system (and I am still drowning in it!) Navigating the formation continue (professional development) training system in France was, and still is, a BIG challenge.
Working in Asia meant I worked with a lot of Singaporeans, but also people from all over Asia, and all over the world. When I came to France, I was working with 95% French native-speakers and I started to notice that almost every person I worked with had the same issues: people had to use English for work, but especially if they were 30 years old or more, they had never really learnt how to speak English, or how to understand real spoken English.
I identified several areas of difficulty: comprehension on conference calls, being able to speak about work, but not about other topics (at lunch with clients for example), making presentations for an international audience, certain pronunciation and vocabulary issues specific to French-speakers.
From then on, I made it my mission to help French speakers with these problems in English so that they could feel more confident in their work.
You may have noticed that I’m no longer in Paris: I love Paris, I think it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but after 6 years of city life and grey skies, we decided to go in search of the sun. As I write this, I am looking out on a view of the blue sky, the hills, and in the distance, the Mediterranean. Life on the Cote d’Azur is pretty good and where could be better than the Capital of Perfume?
When I arrived here, I decided to set up my own business, and Aygen Training was born. With my new business, I started offering not only professional English programmes, but also short workshops on the areas I identified: conference calls, English presentation skills, socialising in English, working in international teams. Focussing on one issue intensively is the quickest and most efficient way to improve.
As we are in Grasse, my other teachers and I work a lot with companies in Flavours & Fragrances, and have developed some programmes specifically for that industry.
I love seeing the difference I can make to people’s work lives: if you are confident in your English, and using English takes less effort, you can focus less on your English, and more on performing well in your work. That's what everyone wants, right?
If you would love to be more confident in your professional English or you identify with one of those difficult areas, come and work with Aygen Training. We’re here to help you !