If this scenario had taken place today, according to the article Teaching in the New (Abundant) Economy of Information, perhaps a 15-year-old me would have had more access to advanced French study:
"In this information scarce environment, the main form of instruction was a lecture, and the tools that dominated the classroom were just as understandably those that distributed the limited information: textbooks and chalkboards."
These days, I am a middle-aged adult learner pursuing an online graduate degree while working a full-time job. I am not limited by scarcity of time and place because my Master's is 100% online. I benefit from abundance because my online degree pairs perfectly with the ability to create a personal learning environment.
Fear not, for my story has a happy ending: I eventually grew up to be a French teacher in the late 90's and as online learning resources became increasingly abundant in the first decade of the 21st century, I began to share these modalities with my own students. An example of which is TV5MONDE, an early proponent of the abundance mindset in education: