Four Tongues Teresa Garcia-Barker

         Teresa Garcia Barker

The Early Years
Maria Teresa Garcia Sanchez was born and raised in Colmar, France. In the early ‘60s, Teresa's parents made a difficult and life-changing decision to leave behind their native country, Spain, under the dictator, Francisco Franco. Teresa’s parents didn’t speak a word of French at the time, but they wanted to find meaningful work, save for the future, and give their kids more opportunities than Spain could provide under Franco. As a result, Teresa was raised bilingual and bicultural, spending her childhood between summers in Salamanca, Spain and the rest of the year in France. 

The School Years
Teresa went to the U.S. equivalent of elementary school, middle school, high school, and college in France. Teresa received both an undergraduate degree and a Masters degree in Applied Foreign Languages from the University of Strasbourg.  Located in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, the city of Strasbourg is the capital of the region and home to the European Parliament. The University of Strasbourg is the largest university in France and is renowned for its language programs, preparing students for such prestigious roles as a United Nations or UN Interpreter, considered by many to be the pinnacle of roles in foreign languages.      

The Traveling Years
Teresa loves to travel. Her Master's program at the University of Strasbourg enabled her to pursue a few of her life's great passions, namely, learning new languages and meeting new people by traveling the world. Teresa essentially spent her early 20s on one giant road trip learning new languages and seeing new countries. Over the course of about 5 years, Teresa lived in five different countries:  Italy, England, France, Spain, and the United States!  She came out of this period of her life fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and English. Interestingly, Teresa grew up not more than 5 minutes from the German border in a region of France that is still heavily influenced by German culture and history (more than once the region was annexed by Germany depending on who won what war), but she never wanted to learn German.     

The Working Years
Teresa's entire career has involved applying her skills in foreign languages. She has done simultaneous and consecutive interpretations in both the medical and legal industries (most interpreters are content to master just one industry vernacular, but Teresa learned two very different industries). She has also provided professional translation services (translations involve written documents; interpretations involve the spoken word).  

One of the highlights of Teresa's career in languages was working for the United States Olympic Committee or the USOC as the official interpreter for the athletes during the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France and then later that same year during the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. She lived in the Olympic village with all the athletes, and suffice it to say she had a good time!   ;-)   

The Teaching Years
Teresa had a dream one night while living and working in Madrid, Spain. She dreamed that she was running across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, so naturally she bought a plane ticket to San Francisco. We won't bore you with all the gory details, but at some point in her late 20s Teresa met some Yank, got married, had two kids, and started to dedicate herself to private language instruction. With a couple of kids in diapers, it made a lot of sense for Teresa to work part time and have students come to her. She has been in the SF Bay Area since 1995 teaching kids and adults Spanish, French, Italian, and English. 

The Piedmont Years
Teresa and her "charming" husband and "adorable" kids moved into a humble little home in Piedmont, CA in 2002 where they can see the outfield fence of Piedmont High School's baseball field from their front porch. Teresa continues to travel, spending her summers visiting her parents in Salamanca, Spain and her brother and sister and their families in France. 


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