Christiane Millet-Alexis, photographed downtown on Sparks Street Mall.
Christiane Millet-Alexis is an Ottawa businesswoman who, with her contagious and positive energy, spreads enthusiasm to anyone she comes across. Christiane is the founder and director of Interlangues, one of Ottawa’s oldest language schools.
Interlangues has been providing official and foreign language training to thousands of government, federal and city employees, as well as private clients, for almost four decades. The school also offers a wide range of French and English language programs for foreigners, bringing in students of all ages and nationalities year-round. We caught up with Christiane, who is French-born, a few weeks back on Sparks Street Mall, juggling her always very busy travel schedule, and sharing how passionate she is about Ottawa!
© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project
When did you arrive in Ottawa and why did you choose to live here?
“I arrived in Ottawa on September 12th, 1974. I had just accepted a sessional lecturer position at Carleton University. I loved Carleton, my students, all of the infrastructure that was presented to me as an educator and the richness of character of my new co-workers, whom I fondly remember (Alvina, Jean-Jacques, Pat and, of course, Steffi!). My daughter, Barbara, was two years old, and we were so well received. Having come from a small Southern French town, I instantly fell in love with Canada’s capital and its diversity. I felt I had the world at my fingertips!”
How has it changed since you arrived?
“Ottawa has lost some of its green spaces downtown but it is now more vibrant: “terrasses” on the sidewalks, nice restaurants and clubs, festivals, shopping centers. It is no longer the quiet capital where I arrived 40 years ago! And I love it!”
Do you feel Ottawa is a good place to do business in? Is it more than just a government town in your industry?
“Yes, Ottawa is more than a government town and there is a dynamic business community. There are vibrant, renowned universities, associations, sports events, and you can work and have fun in both our official languages! It is a great place for language schools like Interlangues to welcome international students, who thrive in Ottawa for many reasons: the quality of the academic community, the great variety of activities the city offers year round, the fun places to visit, the social life and the numerous opportunities to volunteer and to be a part of the community. It’s a fantastic place to practice your language skills. And, of course, the relatively small number of international students in the city guarantees a faster integration and a real immersion in both languages.”
What do you like the most about Ottawa? What are your favourite restaurants, places to go?
“Being a theatre and music lover, of course I will put the National Arts Center as my number one choice, followed by Blues Fest, the Jazz Festival and the Ottawa Little Theater. And since I love seafood, “terrasses” and “ambiance”, Le Métropolitain is my favorite restaurant! If I want a great sushi, Kiko Sushi Bar is my place!”
Thanks so much Christiane for sharing what you love about Ottawa! For more information about Interlangues and the great work that Christiane and her team are doing, please take a look at their site: www.interlangues.ca