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The French Institute Galway

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About the Institute...

The French Institute was founded by Mme Brigitte Demay O`Carroll, in 2005. Its location, on the second floor of the Bridge Mills, is traditionally associated with the teaching of French in Galway as it housed the Alliance Française de Galway Ltd until its closure.

The French Institute's mission is to offer the highest standards of French Courses and Services to its customers, and to promote the French language and culture in Ireland. 

 

Director - Elodie Ferry 

When Élodie Ferry and her husband Jessy booked a short trip to Dublin in December 2019, they only planned on spending a few days in the country. Neither had been to Ireland before and they were keen to make the most of their short break away. 

A few days before leaving, Jessy spotted an online advertisement for a French language school in Galway that was on the market. The couple googled the city of Galway, saw that it was beside the sea and decided to visit during their weekend trip. They also contacted the owner of the French Institute, Brigitte Demay O’Carroll, and arranged to stop by the school.“We liked Galway the moment we got off the bus,” recalls Elodie. “The music in the streets and all the shops, it was very lively. It was the idea we had of Ireland in our heads. Even the school building, it’s very historic and right beside the river. It looked like a picture from holidays.” 

Growing up in the French city of Toul, Elodie always loved languages and developed an appreciation for travel after spending a year of her university studies in Ghana. While English was her main focus, she also learned Spanish, Chinese and some Arabic. She started teaching French as a foreign language after graduating from university and then decided to move to London. 

She had only planned to spend one year abroad but extended her stay to study for a master’s in teaching French as a foreign language. In 2014, the couple got engaged and the following year Ferry moved back to France. She worked freelance as a teacher, travelling each day over the border into Luxembourg to give classes. 

When the couple decided to buy the French Institute in Galway, the coronavirus hit and their plans were put on hold. The couple knew the move had to wait until Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers from France was lifted. Meanwhile, Elodie held on to her job in administration and translation at a law firm, while her husband investigated opportunities with An Garda Síochána in Ireland. He eventually decided he would take over marketing and admin for the school rather than going straight back into policing in Ireland.

In August 2021, the couple eventually made it over to Ireland where they spent a week signing paperwork, trying to open a bank account and secure a PPS number. Elodie returned to Galway alone in September and moved into the rental house they had found during their summer visit. 

Elodie is very happy with the school and is looking forward to welcoming more students back for in-person classes when the final restrictions lift. She’s conscious some people might be worried about her ability to run a school as a 30-year-old. “I know they’ve questioned my skills a bit but they’ve also been really welcoming. I understand their concerns but I look forward to showing them what we can do.”

 - The Irish Times: "New to the Parish", October 26th 2021.

 

 

 
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