All posts by Simon Riquelme

French- Spanish fifth meeting : History

Today we talked about national history. To present it as a game, we used online quizzes, which has the advantage of not requiring preparation time beforehand and is very easy to share on Zoom.

Here is the link for the Spanish Quiz :

The link for the french Quiz :

We were pairing as teams and the goal was to get as many good answers as possible. It was great for all of us because one never knows too much about his own country’s history and it was an awesome way to make it discover to foreigners.

This was not a particularly funny meeting but very educative and productive. We learned that our countries share some common history and it served the purpose of this class to create international connections

I think it is a great exercise, easy to reproduce, if you are running short of ideas for your meeting !

French – Spanish fourth meeting : Cuisine

Yesterday’s meeting was dedicated to something that gathers everyone : food.

The idea was to agree on a recipe that we could do while talking about food habits and culture. We picked crepes for the first session, which is probably the most international French dish. Since we are on zoom, we all took time to get the ingredients beforehand and we called while preparing the batter.

It was a lot of fun to try to explain in a different language a recipe by video call. It lead to several misunderstandings and laughs but I believe in the end we all had good crepes.

Holding these meetings online is sometimes not easy, but making the same food at the same time was a good solution to feel more “connected”. I am eager to try a Spanish recipe during another food session, as I discovered a lot about tortillas, tapas, magdalenas,…

Good work to my Spanish Chefs !

French-Spanish third meeting : Movies

Today’s discussion was about movies. We decided to choose a movie from our native country and explain the plot in the other language. This was a great way to achieve two goals : practice the vocabulary relating to a specific area, and also discover the culture through a form of art.

It was a difficult exercise as explaining a movie requires a lot of vocabulary from subjects we are not used to discuss. I tried to describe the French movie “Ce que le jour doit à la nuit”, which relates to the french history as it is about the Algerian war. Also, it is based on a novel. I recommend any reader to watch this movie, which combines perfectly youth and growing up process with identity construction and national independance.

I got to learn about the movie Amores Perros, which I never heard about before. It shows how accidents can change a life. I will definitely check it after this discussion. 

It was a good session and fulfilled what this course is all about : discovering completely new materials and improving language and communication !

French-Spanish second meeting : vacations

For our second meeting, we decided to train ourselves on speaking about the past, using past tense to describe vacations we went on.

This is a difficult exercise because it is a form of conjugation less used than the present one. Therefore, it requires more thinking beforehand and adaptation.

However, it is really pleasant to learn about a language by talking about our own experience. This way, the teaching is targeted to what matters to us, to our hobbies and what we like. It feels more important. Of course it is important to learn about general vocabulary, but using our own experience makes the learning playful and it feels like a game. The attention is increased and I believe it is more efficient.

It was also a great way to get to know each other even more, and to get ideas for future vacations !

We also discussed about a case going on in Spain concerning a rapper who is being imprisoned for things he said. I had heard about it on social medias, but having Spanish people to go over this with is really pleasant as they can explain the situation.

I once again had a good time with Ernest and Carlos

French-Spanish first meeting : Sunbathing

Simon’s Report :  


Today was our first meeting. We started by introducing ourselves in a few words. Everyone introduced themselves in the language they are interested in learning: Carlos and Ernest spoke French and I spoke Spanish. It was a good way to start using the language and get comfortable speaking it, because speaking a foreign language to a native speaker can be quite intimidating sometimes. Also, it was a good way to know where everyone stands and what level we all have.


Then, we went over the preliminary plan to make sure our expectations were concordant and to clarify a few points.

After that, we took some time in English to get to know each other a little more. Although it was not a learning time, it makes the experience nicer and we discovered some similarities that we can explore further in next meetings (Carlos plays tennis and Ernest plays water-polo, two sports I also practiced).

Next, we decided to pick every-day life sentences in English and to translate them in French and Spanish. Some of them were basic ones like “Can I have the bill please”, but some were non-academic: “What tobacco brand do you smoke?”. This experience is a great way to discover vocabulary and all sorts of things that are not taught in schools. It enables to learn not only the formal way, but also the daily way of talking, and to get comfortable expressing ourselves.

Indeed, I have almost spoken more Spanish during this hour with Carlos and Ernest than during my five years of Spanish study in France. Although I realized my level was okay and good enough to complete this exercise, it was much more interesting than the way it is taught in France because I felt involved and I played a role in the learning process.

Teaching French makes me realize how difficult this language can be, and I think my partners are really brave to want to know more about it. Even I can learn about my own language during our sessions because I must explain rules I never thought about before!


This was a pleasant experience and a promising meeting.