We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachele DeMeo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachele, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After teaching elementary, middle school & high school and lastly 9 years at 3 different local colleges, I saw how the educational system didn’t always teach what students needed, but rather what the institution thought they should learn. Students weren’t getting real-life applications in all types of courses including the subject I’ve taught most of my life: my native French language. It was challenging for me to share ideas of how students could use and practice the language and the administration would shun my ideas. I lead my students on tours visiting France and other countries for 4 years while teaching at those colleges and that was just one of many other ways I pushed my students to speak and use the language. Seeing my frustration, my husband actually encouraged me to follow the entrepreneurial career. Outside of starting my own online school, Belle Terre Academy, I started regularly working on YouTube videos (I also use them within my online French courses). I had already created some videos for my students: lessons for learning French but also showing them everyday life in French-speaking places. The students loved the videos. After realizing I was getting some views and wasn’t monetizing my content, I was encouraged (by my husband) to become a YouTuber. It’s a commitment as you have to regularly post YouTube videos. It was (and still is) a learning curve but I do enjoy it. So a couple of years ago, I started posting 2-3 videos a week. Just last month, I reached over 1 million views and 10K subscribers. I receive a lot of great feedback (from around the world!) from individuals, teachers and entire schools now using my videos in their classes. It’s a lot of work as I usually spend 1-2 days creating 1-3 videos that last 5-10 minutes each. But I love being able to literally teach the world.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My YouTube videos are directly linked to the classes I teach at Belle Terre Academy–an online school I founded in 2019. What I have heard sets me apart from other French instructors (feedback from my courses and Rate My Professor), is the fact that I teach what is really used in French-speaking countries around the world. Instead of focusing on useless lingo that’s not even used (or outdated), I teach my students the words and phrases that are actually used and in the order they are the most commonly used. I teach slang right away and incorporate culture in my lessons. I also explain what’s a huge mistake versus what may not be a big mistake if pronounced wrong for instance. My YouTube videos also depict everyday life in France (and other places around the French-speaking world) showing culture and real-life scenarios. In terms of how I teach, outside of my education (two Master degrees), I really learned as I taught (by experience). For my YouTube videos, it definitely hasn’t been easy finding ideas, filming them and editing them. I’m still learning. I consecrate about 1-2 times a month to learn more how YouTube works about how to create YouTube videos, go over my analytics and statistics. I’m really passionate about teaching my native French language and culture. I’m equally passionate about helping other teachers and creating content they can easily use in their own classes. I regularly present at different conferences (such as San Diego State University) and share useful resources teachers can easily integrate in their classes.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have friends around the world so I’ll pick one of my best childhood friends who lives in France, where we both grew up. I’d definitely have to take some time off work (LOL). Possibly in the mornings, we’d take walks at Guajome Park and Elfin Forest. I cook daily so we’d eat a lot of my food (or cook together) while sipping California wine. But there are a few places I’d bring my friend to that I enjoy. While I eat mostly vegan / vegetarian, there are a few places most tourists who have come to visit us have enjoyed (and many offer plant-based alternatives): Rubio’s, Yellow Deli, Fred’s Mexican Restaurant, The Himalayan Indian Restaurant and In ‘N Out (at least for fries). My favorite place to have a drink and dance is Coyote’s. It’s literally my “hood” so you’ll find me there with a dozen friends dancing the night away. I’ve been going there for 15 years and am quite the regular. I always bring my friends who visit from out-of-town there for a fun time. I’m also in a rock band called Pariah so I’d bring my friend to band practice on Tuesday and possibly a show we’d perform at. I’d want to show any visiting friend my life in So Cal and what I love about this beautiful state. Places we’d visit would include: Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Oceanside Pier and Harbor, Downtown Carlsbad, La Jolla Shores, Downtown San Diego and Little Italy, Palm Springs and Coronado. Depending on the time of year, we’d figure out what we’d do. If it’s warm enough, the beaches, snorkeling, surfing and hiking. Or maybe we would snowboard Big Bear (even if it doesn’t compare to the French Alps), it’s lovely out there. Those are all fun and interesting things to do out here, in my experience and opinion.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to thank my husband, Jastin DeMeo, for really pushing me to become a YouTuber and teach me how to edit videos (he has a degree in photography / videography). I also am grateful my parents have given me great feedback on my videos, always telling me I’d be great on TV. I dedicate my YouTube videos to my past, present and future students. I’m grateful my college students told me how much they enjoyed my French lessons and how the videos were useful, in order to motivate me to keep working on them. I also dedicate my YouTube videos to teachers and entire institutions using them. Thank you for your support!

Website: www.RacheleDeMeo.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachele_demeo/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/racheledemeo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/racheledemeo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rachele-DeMeo-377698976409852

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/belle-terre-academy-oceanside

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfPphdKi30kYeHMTLhN3GRg

Other: Books: https://sites.google.com/view/racheledemeo/books-publications?authuser=0 Conferences: https://sites.google.com/view/racheledemeo/speaking?authuser=0 FLAM San Diego: https://www.flamsandiego.com/ AATF – San Diego: https://sites.google.com/site/aatfsandiego

Image Credits
Jastin DeMeo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.