The last time he was in France, Charlie Feigenoff said he felt like a deer in the headlights. “Someone would ask me a question, and I would freeze,” he recalls. “My French simply didn’t arrive on command.” Feigenoff had several years of high school French, reinforced by a refresher course at Piedmont Virginia Community College a decade ago, but, at the age of 61, he sensed it was time to recommit before it slipped away entirely.
“I really wanted to start at the beginning, restore my fundamentals and work on my accent,” he says. “And I wanted to do so in a rigorous way.” A friend had taken a series of on-Grounds studio art classes as a Community Scholar—and inspired by his example, Feigenoff signed up for “French 1010”, though not without some trepidation.
Now after two semesters, Feigenoff feels his French beginning to come back—and so has his confidence. “I initially felt self-conscious about being in a classroom with people a third of my age,” he says. “The turning point for me was when I began to recover my old study habits—and learn new material. At that point, I started to relax and really have fun.”