VICI Programme: Group Coaching
Professional MC, entrepreneur and networking influencer Julian Lewis explains why he is studying French, why he chose the VICI Language Academy in Newbury, and just how much fun he is having!

Why did you come to VICI Language Dynamics?

“There are two reasons why I’m at VICI. One, I see it as a challenge; when I was at school I never thought I’d be able speak another language; so there’s a personal achievement side of it. Secondly, me and my partner Linda are looking to spend more time in France. Linda’s sister lives in France, we might live in France at some stage in the future. It’s obviously so much nicer to be there and be able to speak the local language and I’ve known about VICI for a long time, through the local business community.

What triggered it was really all to do with seeing Jack Canfield and his “Set yourself 100 goals – make them big”. And one of those on my goal list was to be fluent in French. So I decided that I wanted to become fluent in French and that was one of my 100 goals, so once I made that decision there was only one place for me to go really, and that’s was VICI.”


How would you describe your experience with VICI so far?

“I started back in April 2015 and well, my first day, I was terrified before I went in. And that’s exactly the right word to use. I just found it one of the most scariest things I’ve ever had to do really! However, right from the moment we actually got underway, I just found it really good. I found it really good fun, good class, the lessons are varied, interesting, never made to feel inadequate or foolish.

It was nothing like learning French at school; the teachers understand what it’s like to learn a language and the fact that we’re not going to be fluent overnight. And they encourage you all the way. So even if you’re not actually that correct in your French, as long as they can understand you, they give you a lot of credit for that. So they will say things like, “Yes, I can understand what you’re saying”, even though it might not be grammatically correct. So that’s really good.

I’ve got to the point now where I look forward to the lessons. That doesn’t mean to say they’re easy, because they need to challenge you obviously for you to learn. But I am definitely making progress at the kind of pace I expected: slowly, but progress is being made.”


How do you feel about the progress you’ve made so far?

“Recently we had an assessment. Mainly written but some oral too. I just gave it a go, I guess I was just surprised how much I knew, because if you really ask me how much French I know, I would have said not a lot, but I need to think back to what I was like when I first walked in, which was knowing pretty much nothing.

Because I did French at school a long time ago. And yeah, OK, I’ve got some basic phrases that most people have got who go on holiday. But for instance, right now I feel very confident in a restaurant, that wouldn’t be a problem, with most things. So really moving beyond tourist French, which I think I can cope with, more towards proper conversational French, which is obviously a massive difference. That’s the journey I’m on.”


Do you think VICI can help you even more in the future?

“I will also be able to use it speaking with people in business as well. So, yeah, looking forward to getting to that stage. But it’s two or three years away. Then I will be able to go networking, I could go along to a BNI meeting in France and not just be able to understand, but also be understood, to do my presentation or even to do some training or something would be really cool.”

They find the right spot for you. If someone is really studying, they’re really putting full effort into it as it were, they’re doing lots of homework; they could quite easily progress on to the next group and leave the rest of us behind! Or we all progress at the same kind of pace and we become a more advanced class, VICI will support us as individuals within the class.”


So, would you recommend VICI?

“Obviously I recommend VICI, but why? Because it’s fun learning, therefore, it ticks all the boxes really, because you do have to put a lot of time into it, so you’re not going to put a lot of time into it and be humiliated every week, so it’s because it’s a fun way to learn French so therefore it’s a great pastime, it’s a great hobby. In a way, it’s not much more than to me really, because it’s not gonna change my life learning French – at the moment at least – but it’s a great, fun thing to do and they make it so and it’s great.

We’re all impatient. I want to get to the point where I can actually impress people with my French and say, “Look, I’ve really done this”. But it will happen and Nathalie tells me it will happen and I believe her. Actually, it is more than that, you see people that were absolute beginners three years ago and their French is very good, so they have the proof as well. VICI really works.”