Eugenie is one of the many faces of the school. She is in the main office, and is in charge of helping our students with anything they need before, during and even after their stay at IEF. If you have any doubts, anything, go find her, and she, always with a smile, will help you with whatever is necessary. In addition, Eugenie is in charge of finding the perfect accommodations for our students and, if as that was not enough, it is she who prepares the aperitif every Monday to receive them. We wanted to ask her what she enjoys about her work, and her past experiences at IEF.
What do you like about working at IEF?
I love the daily exchange with students; it is something I enjoy very much. Also, I like it because it is a dynamic work, although it may seem quite the opposite. I have six years with IEF, and although the basis of my days may be similar, it always changes, because each student is totally different. When I started at IEF, I only took care of making the accommodations for the students. But now I help them with any kind of information, and any questions they may have. Also with IEF, I have had the opportunity to attend international study salons where I have had the chance to represent the school; I have always enjoyed it. We have a pleasant and familiar work environment, and I feel good about my work.
Is there anything in particular you enjoy in your relationships with the students?
It is interesting to learn about so many cultures; every student has so many things to tell. It seems incredible to me to share with so many people, who are so different and so unique. Sometimes there are people who share a lot with us, and others who initially find it difficult to talk. I like to help those people adapt to the environment, to share, and to feel at home. I also really enjoy sharing phrases with the students that are part of the most intimate and familiar French language, those words you use when you are with close friends and family. And, of course, I love that they teach me those words or phrases in their own languages.
Any particular story you can tell us?
Once, a Turkish student arrived late on a Friday afternoon. He had planned to start the course on Monday, and had rented an apartment directly over the internet and not through us. When he arrived in the city, the person from the apartment didn’t appear, so he came to school. He knew very little French, had no one in the city, and had very little money. We quickly took care of the situation and found a host family who could receive him that same day. The family ended up having a very good relationship with the student; so much so, he came back to visit them. These things teach you it is important to be flexible and open. I like to help people to be happy, and many of the students end up forming great bonds of friendship with us.
What is the importance of good accommodations?
The accommodations, together with the language courses, are the fundamental and most important basis of a language stay. Being in a place where you feel comfortable and that suits your needs is essential. I take care of calmly seeking the best accommodation for each of our students, whether in a host family, or in a shared apartment. I always try to make sure the needs and the profile of the student are in line with those of the host or room companions. And sometimes, as can happen with anything else, even if you make the best placement, there may be things that become problematic. This is why I always tell students it is important to talk; if there is something not right where they are hosted, they must come and tell me. We will always seek to improve the experience, and do everything necessary to make them have a satisfactory accommodation.
What have you personally learned working at IEF?
Working here has provided me great personal enrichment. You learn new things every day, about cultures, languages, gastronomy and much more. Daily interaction with so many different people broadens your desire to share with others, and makes you want to visit other places– to travel and learn more first-hand. It is wonderful to know that anywhere in the world there will surely be some students to visit, and that they’ll want to show me their culture. The students come here to learn, but they teach us a lot more! That’s why I always want to improve myself day by day, to help make their experiences unique, and to always have more and more interesting people attending IEF.