6 months: 8 countries, 14 cities

My post-grad plan, my redo of study abroad and my year of teaching English in France is over! What an experience, what a trip.



Cities I visited: Reykjavik

Landmarks I visited: Viking World Museum, Blue Lagoon



Cities I visited: Lyon, Bourg-en-Bresse, Paris, Amiens, Grenoble, Annecy

Towns I visited: Oyonnax, Bellignat, Charix, Apremont, Samognat, Creil, Montataire, Nogent-sur-Oise, Pierrefonds, Versailles, Beauvais, Perouges, Villefranche-sur-Saone, Nantua Continue reading


2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a Saturday working at the high school where I am an assistant at their annual Open House. Along with the other English teachers that I work with, 2 of my best students joined me to sit behind a table covered with posters my sophomore students had made during a  unit on American Prom and answer questions from prospective students (middle-schoolers) and their parents about what, exactly, the language assistant does!

The students were a big help in answering questions about the exchange programs to Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia that are organized by the high school and which they have had the opportunity to go on, and I had a blast explaining my role as language assistant to parents!  Continue reading

Guest post on Alexandra Woodfin!

A fellow TAPIF assistant has been rounding up testimonials from current assistants about their experiences so far, and I jumped on board! Here’s an excerpt:

Hi! I’m Nathalie Grogan and I’m from New York (State, not the city), in the Albany area. I’m spending this year in the Académie de Lyon, but a little ways from Lyon in the small town of Bellignat. I work at Lycée Arbez Carme (in Bellignat) and Collège Louis Lumière (in the slightly larger and neighboring Oyonnax). Im 22 and fresh out of undergrad from SUNY Geneseo, where I studied French and History (but not French history, sadly).

I think I speak for the majority of TAPIF-ers when I say I chose my region based on its namesake city! I know they tell us not to, but I did. Oops. So although I fell in love with the city of Lyon when I studied abroad, I have been placed in the much, much smaller Bellignat.
You can read the rest on Alexandra’s blog here.

Graduation, French-style

On Friday night I had the opportunity to attend la remise des diplômes , or a graduation ceremony. There are several differences between high school graduations in the USA and France, the most obvious one would be that this graduation was help in early November while most high school graduations in the US are held in mid to late June, when the school year ends.

I was invited to the ceremony by my contact teacher, and it was a fascinating cultural experience. The graduation was held in the high school itself, in an area of the school I had never been before- sort of a multipurpose conference room\ kitchen. This sort of ceremony is brand new to Lycée Arbez Carme: until this year students received their high school diplomas on a Saturday morning without any fanfare or ceremony. This year the administration decided to fancy up the occasion and hold it on a Friday evening, inviting families and the faculty.


the ceremony

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A tour of Bellignat

As you may remember from my earlier post, I`m living in a student residence in Bellignat. The high school I`ll be working at is a 2 minute walk away, so its very convenient. The middle school is in the  neighboring town of Oyonnax, but in reality they are one. Bellignat is much smaller than Oyonnax- roughly 4,000 people to Oyonnax`s 24,000, but the borders are all over the place and the two are ultimately about a 25 minute walk apart. When I arrived, I grabbed my camera to take a look around my new surroundings for the next 8 months!


my dorm!

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I have a place to live!

One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of TAPIF is over- I know where I will be living!

I’ve been panicking about finding an apartment- trolling French websites for roommates, spare rooms, and apartment complexes within my price range and wasn’t having much luck. However, after not hearing from my contact people in Lyon for several weeks, I heard about the best option: a dorm. I know, I know, I’m not a college freshman anymore. However, it made the most sense from my vantage point.

It’s really freaking hard to find an acceptable apartment from across an ocean. I’m not saying it’s impossible- I’m just very safety-oriented when it comes to where I live, and I was uncomfortable signing a lease to live in a neighborhood I haven’t seen yet. So. A TAPIF-recommended dorm it is. Continue reading

The long-awaited arrival!

I was very excited yesterday afternoon when I received my arrête de nomination in the mail! My mother texted me during the day that a letter from the Académie de Lyon had arrived and I couldn’t wait to get home from my internship to open it.

I’ve been placed in 2 schools: a high school in Bellignat and a middle school in Oyonnax. My high school’s name is Lycée Arbez Carme and the middle school is Collège Louis Lumière. I’m glad I’m getting the experience to teach in 2 different settings and age groups of schoolkids! I will be primarily at Bellignat, spending 75 % of my teaching time there, with 25% in Oyonnax.

So where are Bellignat and Oyonnax anyway? 

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