It’s been quite the journey getting to this point, of FINALLY being accepted to the program in France. As I mentioned in my “France here I come!” post, I applied for this program back in November, but it was a process getting to the point of deciding to apply and filling out the whole application, so I thought I’d do a post about just how I came to have a desire to go to France and how I decided to apply for this particular program. There’s a lot I could say about this, so I’ll try my best to be concise 🙂 no promises though. I am an English major, after all.
I started studying French my sophomore year of high school, and continued it throughout my remaining years; my senior year, there was a conflict between French III and some other class I had to take, because they were each only offered one period a day, so I took it as an independent study. I didn’t have a huge passion for French or France at this time; I just knew that I liked French, it came easily to me, and I needed three years to get in to a lot of colleges.
I continued studying French in college, and during my freshman year I officially made it my minor (my major has been English Education since I applied to ISU). During the second semester of my sophomore year, my parents and I started talking about me studying abroad in France. After looking at the options (and the prices…eek!), we decided it would be a good choice for me to participate in a 5-week long summer study abroad program through ISU in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. I spent the first 5 weeks of the summer between my sophomore and junior years in Quebec and I LOVED it. I wanted to come back to Quebec soo badly, but it just hasn’t worked out.
After I went to Quebec, I decided to add French as a double major. With the classes I took in Quebec, I had enough credits to be done with my minor, but I knew that I didn’t want to be done studying French and forget all that I had learned. Plus, the economy was on its way down and I knew that there wasn’t a huge demand for English teachers; I hoped that majoring in French and being certified to teach it as well as English would help me get a teaching job after graduation. I had no idea what the future would hold for me!
(Full disclosure: if I had to do it again, I’m not sure I would add French as a major. Looking back now, I’m SO glad I did, but let me tell you, upper-level French classes are HARD! Just ask my parents about all the times I called them crying because I was so stressed out. It was a few.)
I’m not sure when I first had the idea of going to France, but this past summer (2011) I started looking for programs that would allow me to teach English in France; I knew of people who had done similar programs in Asian countries. I found one, did some research on it, and during the fall semester of 2011 I decided to apply. The application became available at the end of October, and it wasn’t due until January 15, but my French professor told me that they start placing people as soon as they get applications so I hurried to get mine done. It was a lengthy process including a 2-page personal statement in French and two recommendation forms, so I ended up submitting mine during Thanksgiving break.
As you know, then it was 4-month waiting game. I didn’t really want to apply for teaching jobs, since I knew that my first choice was the program in France, but as the time drew nearer I began to get panicky that I wouldn’t get accepted and then I wouldn’t have anything lined up for after graduation. I attended a job fair, picked up a few teaching applications, updated my resume, and got in touch with a contact I had at a high school, but I didn’t do anything too concrete since I still had high hopes for this program.
Luckily, as you know, it ended up working out for me- I got accepted to the program and don’t have to worry about applying for teaching jobs. (I do NOT envy the apply-everywhere-that-we-can process that many of my friends are going through right now.) However, I am still in need of a job for the 6 months after I graduate; the program pays a monthly stipend, but it’s not a lot and I have to find my own housing, plus pay for all my other expenses, so I need to have a pretty sizable chunk saved up. So that’s what I’ll be focusing on the next month or so (plus, you know, graduating and stuff)!