Grandmother Uses Viki to Learn French and Help the World

Viki fan Lois Friel with one of her six grandchildren, Maddox

Lois Friel couldn’t have imagined — when she stumbled on Viki five years ago — that she would find such an enjoyable way to learn French or have her eyes opened to different avenues of philanthropy.

Friel, 61, who splits her time between Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and Jupiter, Florida, works part-time as a referral agent for a real estate company, but she says she’s “mostly retired” and likes to paint watercolors, go biking and spend time with her six grandchildren. But she happily spends her free time on Viki, having discovered it by chance when she was searching for something to watch on TV and came across a Korean drama. She then became an avid Viki user when she started watching on-air Korean dramas.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly the new episodes were subbed!” Friel says.

Friel loves watching romance and dramas with a “slice-of-life” theme but has watched everything from movies and variety shows to travel shows on Viki. She spends “too much” time on Viki, in her own opinion, but loves every minute of it. Recent favorites have included “My Love From the Star” and “It’s Okay, That’s Love.” She’s currently watching “Liar Game,” “The Three Musketeers” and “Incomplete Life.”

Friel doesn’t consider Viki to be passive video viewing. She uses Viki to help supplement her French-language learning.

“When I first started using Viki, I noticed there were some French shows and movies on it,” Friel says. “I loved watching them because I could watch it with French subtitles, which is really the best way to learn a language — hearing it and reading it at the same time. And if I don’t quite understand a word or a phrase, I can pause it and switch to English. It’s better than Google Translate!”

Friel watches her favorite Korean dramas with French subtitles.

“It’s a great way to practice reading with the aid of repetitive phrases,” Friel says. “For example, one of my favorite comedies is ‘Protect the Boss.’ While watching with French subtitles, I learned a lot of office phrases that I may not have learned otherwise. It has really helped me read French at a greater comprehension level.”

Because of the high volume of Korean dramas that Friel watches, she also has picked up a lot of Korean phrases. She watches Japanese and Taiwanese dramas as well, and while she can’t speak the languages, she can now distinguish one language from another when she hears it being spoken.

In addition to language learning, Friel says Viki has opened her eyes to injustices into the world and expanded the way she approaches philanthropy. She said recently, she stumbled on the American short film “Her Story,” which is about an Asian girl who is stripped of her identity and forced into the dark world of prostitution. The movie disturbed Friel and lingered in her memories. Shortly thereafter, Friel read a news story about a college student who fled North Korea who talked about a friend being forced to prostitute herself.

“Having the visual of ‘Her Story’ in my mind, I decided to contribute to a rescue fund to help bring North Koreans safely out of their country,” Friel says. “So, in a way, I guess you could say that Viki changed my life a bit, by once again showing me other worlds that I may never have had access to and propelling me to take action.”

Friel now has a whole group of friends who watch Korean dramas on Viki.


“I’ve recommended it to people in my French classes, also,” Friel says. “I’ve even been known to tell complete strangers about it!”

Some titles on Viki are not available in certain regions of the world. But Qualified Contributors (QCs) can view and contribute to most titles. Read this blog post to learn how to become a QC.