For my STEP signature project I chose to study abroad at a Teaching Internship in France. This OSU led study abroad program was a three week long program that allowed myself and nine other Ohio State students to live with a host family, study pluriligualism, and have a teaching internship in a French public school.
During my stay in Montpellier, France, I learned more about myself and the world around me. Never in my life have I experienced such a positive and life changing adventure all in three weeks. Before leaving for France I imagined my experience to include sight seeing of old buildings, struggling with a new language, and learning more about the French educational system. Today I can realize that my experience has brought me so much more. I was able to view a part of history in France that I have only read about in school books as a child. My eyes widened with each excursion as my history school books came to life right before my eyes. I was also able to learn more about myself and became proud of my achievements of being able to find my way through a new city, in a new country, by myself each day. My quick ability to learn up a new language simply by listening and taking notes each day also shocked me and by the end of the trip I was able to hold a (simple) conversation with my host family.
Living in Montpellier with a host family was also a major aspect during my stay. Living with a host family allowed myself to fully immerse in the local culture and helped myself practice my language skills. Coming to France without knowing much French was very intimidating at first, but after living with an amazing host family, whom I am still in contact with today and plan to visit again soon, I was able to pick up so much of the language and learn more than most students do in a French language class. During my time at my host families house I always made sure to do my homework in the living room which was located in the center of the house. This allowed myself to full engage in the family activities and allowed myself to communicate with my host family many times throughout the day.
Living in the French city of Montpellier was also amazing as I was able to witness the beautiful history that the city has to offer, as well as its neighbor cities that I was able to visit on our many excursions. Montpellier is a great city with a large student population that allowed myself to interact with locals my own age! I was able to communicate with locals and ask them questions that helped me better understand their lives. This allowed me to relate the French lives to my own life and compare and contrasts the people that I met in France to the people that I know in the United States.
My relationships and activities in Montpellier changed my life and gave me a chance to learn more about the local culture. Staying in contact with my host family has also allowed myself to continue to think about my life and has started a new passion in my life for the French language. This incredible experience gave me an opportunity to evaluate my life compared to the French people’s lives that I interacted with. In the end I feel that I was able to discover more about myself by finding new passions for traveling and learning about new cultures.
As an aspiring teacher, being able to first hand observe a French public school was the chance of a life time. In the school I was able to witness teaching techniques while also practice my own as I instructed the English class lessons. I was able to see teaching techniques that I had studied back and home at OSU being used in a school in a different part of the world. It was such an amazing experience to see the similarities and differences between American public schools and a French public school. I think that this internship has helped my educational pursuit in my field of Early and Middle Childhood Studies and will help me in the future when I have a classroom of my own.
Overall, my decision to join the Teaching Internship in France study abroad trip was the best decision of my life. This was a life changing adventure for myself and I am so very thankful to STEP for the financial help that allowed this dream of mine to become a reality.
Beautiful buildings around the “downtown” of Montpellier
A gate around the city of Montpellier
Myself and the 9 other OSU students who went on the study abroad trip