Teaching Assistant in France
Alumna, Bella Field ‘19, tells of her experiences after graduation in France
Bella Field graduated from SCU in 2019 with majors in Political Science and French, and a minor in International Business. She is from Chicago and loves traveling, cooking, running/biking outside, and learning about French culture. She recently completed 8 months in France with the government-sponsored program, TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France), and would like to highly recommend the program to any senior who speaks French.
“Bonjour! TAPIF was a challenging but an incredibly rewarding experience. I am so thankful I had professors and the Language Department behind me constantly motivating me to continue with my French studies, as this led me to have this experience. I would have never guessed as a Freshman or Sophomore at Santa Clara that I would ever live in France and love it! I was assigned to teach in the Normandie region in a town called Gaillon. I taught first-year students and seniors, and they were always kind, funny, and energetic. I really enjoyed spending time with them and for as much as I taught them about English and American culture, I often felt like they taught me even more about French and French culture. My students were what I loved most about my time in France. I loved French daily life and I would return in a heartbeat!
Learning a language requires you to learn about that culture to better understand the language and the people who speak it. The Santa Clara French & Francophone studies program really prepares you for this. Not only was I proficient enough in French to feel comfortable speaking and assistant-teaching, when I arrived in France, my expectations of what people would be like were far more realistic than what most Americans’ expectations of French people were. This was because I had been taught by native French speakers at Santa Clara, and we had spent so much time over the years studying French cultures. Being well-informed and being a global citizen are a large part of Santa Clara’s mission and these things will help set you apart in all of your future endeavors. In conclusion, living in France was better than I could have ever imagined. One of the most important things to remember about TAPIF is that the experience will be amazing if you remain open-minded. Whether you are adventurous or not, living abroad is something I think everyone can benefit and learn from. It will both challenge you and be fulfilling; you’ll make new friends, try new things (hopefully new food), and have great experiences that you’ll be able to look back on for the rest of your life!”