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.

1.ICELAND

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Cities I visited: Reykjavik

Landmarks I visited: Viking World Museum, Blue Lagoon

2.FRANCE

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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

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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.

There are people in Oyonnax! – Or, La Fete de l`Hiver

Where I`m living now, Oyonnax, …isnt the liveliest of places. Its a smaller town with a population of about 23,000 people. There are a few bars and restaurants and shops, but for the most part its a quiet town nestled in the Jura Mountains. The other assistants and I have figured out that we need to head to Bourg-en-Bresse or Lyon for our entertainment…and we were absolutely blown away by the local winter festival.

We weren`r really expecting a whole lot of excitement, because of the small population and low-key atmosphere. Beginning in mid-November we had begun seeing signs for the Fete de l`Hiver, or Winter Festival, the weekend before our Christmas holidays started. From what we could gather from the advertisements, there would be music, a small Christmas market, and fireworks to commemorate the winter holiday season, so we went into centre-ville on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

It was nothing, at all, like we expected. Continue reading

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? 

Continue reading