Adrienne Kisson is a comedy writer, development manager at the LA Conservancy, and a fantastic French student with Strommen!
Our language students are the best and they deserve to be highlighted. In our new section, Strommen Student Spotlights, we will ask our best students a few fun questions and let them take it away from there. Thanks for letting us help you achieve your language goals and for sharing your story Adrienne Kisson!
Where are you from and where have you lived?
Adrienne Kisson – I’m from Connecticut. I’ve lived in Boston, London, Orlando, and, of course, Los Angeles.
How long have you been in LA?
Adrienne Kisson – 16 years.
Besides studying languages, what else do you do?
Adrienne Kisson – I love to write comedy and go to sketch shows, hike Griffith Park, travel (pretty much anywhere), and snuggle with my awesome cat, Schroeder.
What language are you learning and why did you start learning it?
Adrienne Kisson – French. I took Spanish in high school and college, but as an adult I’ve traveled more to French-speaking countries than Spanish ones. I would love to spend even more time in France (I love the Alps) and visit some countries I haven’t been to yet (hopefully Switzerland soon!) My dream is to one day be able to spend months at a time in France, and – in my experience – the further you get from Paris, the less the citizens speak English.
Any advice for other students new to the language?
Adrienne Kisson – Just jump in! Even if you’re starting without any experience at all, you’ll be amazed how quickly you learn.
What is your favorite word in the language you are studying and why?
Adrienne Kisson – Le vélo! I want nothing more than to take one of those vacations where you spend a week biking through the French countryside. Hopefully mostly downhill. 🙂 I also want to watch the Tour de France in person one day.
Who is your teacher?
Adrienne Kisson – Fabrice.
What has he/she helped you with the most?
Adrienne Kisson – Everything! He’s the best. An excellent teacher and fun to be around. He’s made learning a new language feel less daunting.
Have you almost reached your goals? Or do you still have a way to go?
Adrienne Kisson – I still have a way to go, because I’d love to be near-fluent. But I know that I can have meaningful conversations now, beyond “where is the bathroom?” and “I’d like a glass of red wine.”
What do you struggle with the most?
Adrienne Kisson – French has irregularities just like English, so it’s sometimes hard to keep those straight. And of course it has so many words! So, learning new vocabulary will be ongoing as long as I study French.
What part of the language are you the best at?
Adrienne Kisson – This changes all the time! But speaking the language is much easier than writing it.
What are your private / group classes like?
Adrienne Kisson – I take private classes with Fabrice. We usually sit in his cozy kitchen or outside on the patio. Honestly, it’s like hanging out with a friend for an hour, but instead of speaking English, we speak French!
Have you tried other methods for learning?
Adrienne Kisson – I tried some dvd’s and Duolingo (I still use Duolingo to refresh my memory on some things and learn new vocabulary). With Spanish, I had several years of school instruction and I feel far more proficient in French than I ever did in Spanish.
Has studying a language with Strommen helped you in life or work?
Adrienne Kisson – I always feel happier and more productive when I am learning something new. And learning a new language opens up the world a little bit.
Are you interested in any other languages, or do you speak any others already?
Adrienne Kisson – Not at this point. When I was a child, I spoke a bit of Polish, but when I used it in a class and the kids laughed at me I swore I’d never speak it again. I could be fluent in Polish if it weren’t for those rotten kids! 🙂
What was your favorite trip abroad (or in the US)?
Adrienne Kisson – That’s so hard to say. My trip to Annecy made me fall in love with the Alps. So much to do, yet so relaxing at the same time. It’s gorgeous there! And paragliding was nowhere near as scary as it looked – try it!
What is your favorite restaurant related to the language you are studying?
Adrienne Kisson – Figaro in Los Feliz. The servers speak French, so it’s a good opportunity to practice. Plus, their quiche is yummy. If you want the best croissant in Los Angeles, go to Cafe Los Feliz on Hillhurst – flaky and huge and so delicious.
Any funny/interesting stories about learning or speaking your language?
Adrienne Kisson – Anytime Fabrice asks me to describe one of my comedy sketches in French, it turns into a disaster. They often do not translate and the way I describe them in French makes me seem like the least funny person to ever walk the planet. I end up defending myself with, “la blague est drôle en anglais!!”