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Notes from Abroad: Camille in Paris, France
Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience. This week’s feature is from Camille Lemieux ’17, a French and applied linguistics major studying abroad in Paris, France.
On the first day of my internship as an English Teaching Assistant at École Pascal, a private school in Paris, France, I did not know what to expect. For my first time outside of the United States, this study abroad experience combined both a new concept for taking classes and for helping to teach them. I was nervous about speaking French with the teachers, nervous about interacting with the students, and nervous about getting accustomed to the environment. Yet, the nerves were unfounded. As soon as I walked in, both teachers and students greeted me with a smile and, “Bonjour!”
Now three weeks into my internship, I leave everyday with a smile on my face. To be honest, I am grinning ear to ear. And while the students and teachers with whom I work tell hilarious jokes, the biggest reason I leave smiling each day is because of a newfound confidence in myself. Each day I walk in not knowing how I will face everyday challenges and each day I leave having learned something about myself. The classroom is an extremely complex environment that forces me to think on my feet and to improvise-these are the key moments of growth.
For example, a teacher asked me to accompany her class to an art exhibit on Andy Warhol and to prepare a biography on the artist to present to the students. Public speaking was never a fun idea to me before. As an added challenge, I tried the presentation in French. It was far from perfect, but I am glad I pushed myself to do something out of my comfort zone. In addition, the teacher was extremely impressed that I did the presentation in French, and since then, she has encouraged me to try new discussion formats and lessons with the students. As a result, I have grown more comfortable speaking in front of large groups and have become more comfortable improvising and adapting quickly in class.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to study abroad and to have this internship. I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Wright for helping to make this experience possible through the Courtney Doherty Wright ’88 La Magnifique Vie Francaise scholarship. The experiences I have in Paris will help me to become a strong language education researcher after graduate school.