About SuzanneSuzanne’s ideals. At a very young age she was already connected with nature. Once convinced of something, nobody could change her mind. She was fond of seals and at the age of six, she founded “The Seal Club”, with two of her friends. A club that set out to protect these animals against hunters who wanted to sell their skins for fur.
Suzanne’s love and talent for languages was already obvious from a young age. At fourteen she was standing on the beach in Spain with a dictionary in her hand, talking to the Spanish youth who were hanging on her every word. She was a natural. She very quickly started making jokes in Spanish and got everyone laughing. It was surprising how quickly she picked up and remembered each and every word.
Her love for the Spanish language remained and after secondary school she went on to the University of Leiden to study Languages and Cultures of Latin America (LCLA). It couldn’t have been anything else. She immersed herself in speaking and reading Spanish and her pronunciation came with hardly any accent. She finished her studies with a beautiful thesis titled “Aquel nińo que ve”, a study in Spanish/Cuban literature about life viewed through a child’s eyes.
During her studies, while staying in Spain with an ‘Erasmus Scholarship’ at the University of Alicante, she met Cris, the love of her life. A Spaniard and Englishman. With him she travelled extensively and on their travels to Latin and South America, she returned promising herself to make an effort to increase the educational possibilities for children who had grown up less fortunate than herself. Upon completing her studies in Leiden, she went off to live in England with Cris, his homeland.
In England, Suzanne soon found a job at the Cactus Language Institute in Brighton. Here she was able to really develop herself and put her knowledge and love of languages into practice. Also English, real English, which she was soon able to master. Of course, English is now widely spoken by a lot of people in the World. How-ever, Suzanne succeeded in writing stories, some of which were published, in perfect almost native style English. Through Cactus, she was also in contact with the Guardian newspaper which interviewed her on more than one occasion about her view on the importance of language education. ‘Lost in Translation,’ an essay that Suzanne wrote, is also published on this site as an example of her work.
In cooperation with her manager Rich Ambler (who is now one of our ambassadors), Suzanne set up the TEFL department in the Cactus Language Institute. TEFL is an abbreviation of ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’, for which there are courses in different schools throughout the world. Once you have successfully completed a language course of this type, you obtain a certificate that allows you to teach the English language to non-native speakers of English all over the world. The SFF aims to hold an annual competition for anyone who has the ambition of becoming a TEFL teacher.
We lost Suzanne on May 22nd in a tragic traffic accident. The SFF was founded to honour and continue Suzanne’s dreams and ideals.