Struggling to have conversations with fast-talking native speakers? Trying to use your love of movies and TV shows to help you, but it’s harder than you thought?

Photo of Cara Leopold

Hi there, I’m Cara and I help intrepid travellers and adventurous expats improve their English listening skills so they can better understand and better connect with fast-talking native speakers through their love of films. 

Because nobody deserves to only be able to work in English. Because you deserve to have a life, with friends and evenings out with colleagues. Have deep conversations over stuff you really care about…like movies. And you deserve to feel like part of a community. 

I show you how to use subtitles with my own proven and unique method that lets you really improve your English listening skills. But also keeps you motivated, because you’re doing what you love. That way, you can better connect with English-speaking locals in conversation and fit in better when living abroad or on your travels.

Oh and did I mention, I also like to organise watch parties for the people in my Movie Club…and free film lover events for, well, people like you. Because for me, the entire point of learning English is to connect with others – whether it’s in a club or where you live.

Ok, have you sensed that I’m sort of “On a Mission” with this? As in, I’m really serious about it and think about it a lot? How does someone come to know and care about learning a language and fitting into a culture through film so passionately?

In the words of the great Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride,
“Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up…”

My story looks like yours…

I moved abroad in 2007, at the age of 22 to improve my French. And I still remember when I arrived here. It was a shock.

I discovered that, as an expat, you can quickly find yourself able to work. Able to do the bare minimum to kind of survive…but without ever really fitting in – understanding native speakers, getting the jokes. I discovered what it was like to stand there listening to real French speakers, with a look of wonder and shock on my face. And I learned all about the temptation to hide out with a group of other expats…just ask my flatmates!

And never learn to fit in, always feel like a foreigner. An outsider. Sort of waiting for your life to start…

I know what it feels like to KNOW that you can use your passion for films and movies to fix that and to

  • rent a stack of cassettes (yep, I remember that)
  • watch them all alone hoping they will hold the clue to having actual conversations in French!!
  • watch with subtitles…and feel frustrated about it
  • hope something would change
  • want to give up
  • wonder why it wasn’t working.

So what did I do?

I struggled and struggled through lots of uncomfortable and unhelpful situations, even though I have a degree in linguistics! I became a language teacher with my TESOL and CELTA certificates…but I had to become a listening expert on my own.

I created a new method for learning to understand so you can have real conversations that actually works. (And that I wish I had had when I was trying to listen and understand in French–and failing)

It’s a method that lets you:

  • take all those mysterious, tricky sounds and helps you recognize them so you can finally understand what you’re watching
  • use short, targeted, and super-efficient listening exercises to help you improve faster so you can get on with your life and your conversations
  • stay motivated with the simple joy of watching TV shows and series without subtitles so that you never want to stop improving your listening skills

And I even built a community around all that, the Leo Listening Movie Club, to help people like you (and me). Because when your goal is to connect with others, well, it sometimes helps to start doing that in a safe (and fun!) place.

My story has a happy ending. And I hope yours does too. 

Since I first arrived in France I’ve worked, studied, changed careers, started a business, fallen in love, bought an apartment…You name it, I’ve done it in French! I’ve made close friends and strong ties with my community through climate activism.

Nowadays, I help my clients prepare for moving abroad or for travelling to English-speaking countries by helping them understand what they watch in English without the subtitles and realize they can have great conversations about things they care about. With native speakers where they live and work, or movie fans from around the world.

Living abroad is one of the best things you can do with your life. It has certainly added meaning and purpose to mine. Good listening skills are the key to belonging in your new life. The better you can understand fast-speaking locals in conversation, the faster you can sound more like them and fit with them.

Cara Leopold online English listening teacher

How to understand fast-talking native speakers through movies

This guide is the best introduction to my teaching methods. We’ll go through an example clip from my favourite movie and you’ll do various listening exercises, including dictations, to help you understand it.

After, I’ll break down all the hard to catch sounds and words so that you understand why you missed them.

This is the added value in working with a qualified listening teacher. You can do dictations on your own. But who is going to help you understand and master the missing words and sounds?

Only a listening teacher can break down the fast English you couldn’t catch and help you understand it. And help you pronounce it the right way so you can use it in your own speech to sound more like a native speaker. 

Download your copy of the Understand Movies in English guide by clicking here.

Useless Yet Must-Know Facts About Me

  • I’m 5’9’’ or around 1m 75 cm which makes me the average height (if not taller) of a man in many countries. I also have broad shoulders and huge hands. If I was any good at team sports, I probably could have become a champion female basketball player.
  • I have a small immediate family (1 brother) but a huge extended family of 23 first cousins. Yes, first cousins!

  • I’m Scottish. People either figure it out straight away or gradually realise this is the case as they hear me speak.

  • I have very dark hair but very pale and freckly skin. I think this is some kind of mixture of Celtic, Roman and Viking heritage.

  • When I’m not working, I love to be outside (yes, despite my pale skin). You can find me walking around the hills of the obscure French city where I live. Or cycling/running along the Véloroute.

  • I sometimes get really nice compliments about my French from French people, including positive comments about my accent. This makes me happy.

  • Oh and I hate the TV series Friends. And the musical Grease. – please don’t send me hate mail.

 

Client Case Studies

Discover the stories of my amazing clients. Just click on an image below to find out more.

get rid of the subtitles with movie club
how to communicate confidently in English thanks to community
Rosa interview movie club
Barbara interview movie club

There’s Something Familiar About You…

I get around a lot on the internet. Here’s where you might have seen me before…

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