Bhavya, Lille, 2014-2015

September 21, 2015 | By TEACHING ASSISTANT PROGRAM

Before TAPIF, I'd never been to France and had no idea what to expect (aside from what I'd seen in Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis...), but it turned out to be the best seven months of my life. I was placed in two colleges in the Academie de Lille and lived in Bethune. The teachers I worked with gave me the freedom to come up with my own lessons centered around sustainability and the support to run an environmental club, and it was tough to say good-bye to my students and everyone else at my schools when it was finally time to leave. It was amazing to meet assistants from around the world and to be welcomed (and helped!) from the very first day by my host teacher and many others living in France.

I also had the time to work on my own projects and get in plenty of travel; I especially enjoyed seeing local events and sites, like the kite festival in Berck and the largest terrils (coal "spoil tips") in Europe, that I wouldn't have known about if it weren't for the people living there. It was a big deal for me to order a croissant when I first landed in Paris, but living and working in France forced me to use French in more challenging situations like opening a bank account and getting a broken laptop fixed. TAPIF gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of not just visiting, but living in France.

I documented my lesson plans and experiences on my blog at bhavyareddy.com and am constantly adding more. Feel free to check it out and get in touch with any questions!