Magda Alexander


Magda was born in Bordeaux, France from Spanish parents, refugees from the Civil War in Spain. She grew up speaking Spanish at home and French outside and was bilingual at a young age. Her family moved later on to the Basque Country near Biarritz where she graduated from a business school.

After living and working 3 years in Paris, she decided to “conquer” America and started in Boston where she had a French girlfriend from her childhood. She obtained a working visa through the Boston College where she worked a couple of years in the French Department.

Then she got married to Joseph Alexander, an American Italian from Boston and they both decided that Massachusetts was too cold for them so they took a long road trip moving West and eventually landed in Hawaii. It was love at first sight and they decided to settle in Honolulu in 1970.

Magda called the Alliance Fran├žaise the second day in Hawaii asking for a position as a French teacher and by pure luck they were looking for one at that particular time…So she started teaching several levels of French classes for the next 3 years.

After that, Magda and Joseph decided to open their own school which they called “Academia Language School” near Ala Moana with day and evening classes for adults. Magda taught all the French and Spanish classes but they offered many other European and Asian languages like German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog as well as ESL for foreigners. They also provided classes in any other language that the clients desire as they had teachers on call. Aside from the classes, they also did lots of translations of documents and provided interpreters for conferences, court cases, etc the whole Pacific area.

They had a very successful run for 40 years in spite of Magda and Joseph divorcing in the early years, but they collaborated and worked together all along and are still best friends (and family) at this time.  

They eventually sold the school and retired in 2007.

Magda is still very busy socially and one her favorite pastimes is recording all the events she attends to by taking pictures and making albums of the gatherings.

She belongs to all the major European Clubs like the French, Spanish, Italian, Swiss and Austrian Clubs as well as the Adventurer’s Club and the Rotary Club.

She also enjoys swimming and going to plays and movies, especially Foreign movies and loves to travel the world.

She has visited more than 70 countries and likes to add a couple of more each year if possible…but usually goes to France and Spain once a year to visit family and friends.

In closing, Magda will always be very grateful to the Alliance Fran├žaise of Hawaii who gave her her first opportunity and job in the islands and she has remained a faithful member of the association all these years and is now a Regent.

Alliance Francaise of Hawaii is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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