Mary is originally from North Carolina, USA. Mary has over 30 years’ personal experience in learning and using foreign languages. She lives in Charleston with her husband and two wonderful children. They enjoy spending time on the water, riding bicycles, horseback riding and travel.
The inspiration for starting Bridges Language School in May 2009 came from a desire to ensure foreign language classes for her own children. She states, “..young children are perfect for foreign language study because they just want to have fun – language is a tool, just like any “toy” that allows their creative minds to explore all possibilities. ” She continues, “Our goal is to plant the seeds early so that all our students will know, like my children, that speaking foreign languages and interacting with people from other cultures can be as normal as going to the grocery store.”
Mary developed her love of travel as a child and her life-changing desire to communicate with people in their own language as a high school JYA Exchange Student to Couvin, Belgium. She was a college JYA student at the Université de Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. She was then an au pair in France where she says that she truly learned to speak French while chasing after two very active boys. Just before finishing college, Mary spent 3 months in Guadalajara, Mexico with a study program through the University of Arizona. She started teaching her first ELS classes as a college student, taught English as a Foreign Language overseas, and raised two children in foreign countries. She has traveled around the world and lived in five foreign countries. She has learned three foreign languages: French, Spanish, and German. Mary will tell you that, “.. language is simply a tool to be used to communicate with the world around you. It’s as much about understanding the cultural nuances as it is about using the correct grammar and pronunciation. That’s why we use all native speakers to teach BLS classes.”
Mary enjoys building bridges between people and cultures. She enjoys teaching, encouraging foreign language learners and helping people discover other cultures. Mary earned a BA in French, Spanish and History at Queens College, Charlotte, NC, and an MA in International Relations at the University of Chicago. She has a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from Cambridge University, England.