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Teaching English in Cannes

by Gillian Fleshman
Teaching English While Studying Abroad in Cannes, France | AIFS Study Abroad | AIFS in Cannes, France

Let’s go back to 2012. I’m sitting in my French 1 class in my freshman year of high school. My past idea of becoming a lawyer no longer has any interest to me, as I’ve learned that there is now a surplus of them in the United States. I’ve always been the person to have a plan of what I want to do, so I feel the need to pick something else, and soon. At this point, I am in my third year of Spanish and really enjoy it. I’ve picked it up pretty easily, which is why I chose for my second elective to also be a language. I’ve also been interested in teaching and could see myself putting my own studying tricks to good use by helping others learn the languages I’ve too fell in love with.

Then it came to me: I could teach English abroad. I could still teach and be able to travel the world. This was my dream until I found out the pay is pretty weak. This dream has still been on the back-burner while I pay off my six-figure student loan debt. For now, something in government would be a more financially viable option.

Today, in 2018 with my French and Spanish majors and International Studies minor, I’m studying abroad in one of the most beautiful towns in the world: Cannes, France. Visited by thousands every year, it has been fate that has brought me here — not only to the location, but to the opportunities AIFS has given me which I had originally set aside for myself because I thought they were not possible.

About two weeks ago, our wonderful Resident Director emailed us and said there was a opportunity available to tutor a French girl in English. I immediately gave her an enthusiastic yes and started this past week. I’ve given her vocabulary lists (that also help me brush up on French words I haven’t had to use very often), written exercises, and oral activities. The prep takes me between an hour or two every week, while the session itself is about an hour. I am over the moon to be given this opportunity and cannot wait to add it to my resumé of experiences that will one day translate (no pun intended) into real-world jobs.

The question I ask myself after I’ve done anything is “what has this taught me?” This has taught me that all of my wants and dreams are achievable with the right resources and dedication to my passions. I look forward to seeing this student smile when she nails another sentence without any errors, and to see where this opportunity takes me in the future.

This post was contributed by Gillian Fleshman, who is spending her fall semester studying abroad with AIFS in Cannes, France.

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