Read about current & past students' experiences abroad:
Check-in with Sam '22- Angers
Check-in with Emma '22- Cholet
My worries about adapting to a new living environment were short lived, as I fell in love with my host family almost as quickly as I fell in love with the city: immediately. Within a week of living in Angers I felt at home, and I continue to feel at home here today. I am very grateful to my host family and the network of acquaintances I have made at my school. It has all made the initial transition easier than I imagined it would be.
Check-in with Noely '22- Cholet
Maybe don’t do this program. That’s what I had been telling myself a year ago when I found out about it and man am I glad I didn’t listen to myself! By no means was it because of the program, it had everything to do with my own doubts. Everything about this program immediately appealed to me! Travel had always been something that I wanted to do, but never had I thought that I’d actually do it anytime in the near future. I was a burnt out student who was applying to colleges because that was what I thought I should be doing. One piece of advice that I’d like to share is that it’s okay to have doubts or feel lost but you shouldn’t let them hold you back, because when you prove them wrong, it’s one of the best feelings ever! Tuning out my doubts was one of the best decisions I’ve made in life! Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely normal to have doubts when the idea of moving to another country is involved.
Check-in with Analee '22- Bordeaux
Check-in with Ashton '22- Margency
I have spent almost two months in France at this point, which is crazy to think about. So far this program has been a great experience for me! It is a great way to learn about French culture and really improve your understanding of the French language. I have already noticed a huge improvement in just two months! This program also gives you the unique opportunity to visit many other countries. I have already visited the U.K. and plan to travel to Germany next month!
Check-in with Ivy '22- Bordeaux
Check-in with Ciza '22- Angers
Check-in with Lauren '22- Tours
Check-in with Abby '22- Cholet
Time has ceased to exist here and I refuse to believe it’s only been a month. There’s something about discovering a new country that is just too surreal to put into words. The first week had me drained and exhausted, living out of a suitcase, and moving around constantly but so in love with every moment. My eyes stayed glued to the Cathedrals, beautiful old architecture, cobblestone streets, and cute, small shops, and I’ve spent too much money in those same cute shops. However, my new life here has not been easy; there is a lot of information that people assume I understood when they are all speaking over each-other in rapid French. The difference in culture is shocking and I often feel incompetent for not understanding what they expect of me. But with patience and an open mind, it’s possible to excel here, and I’m already improving. There are hard moments and realizations, but the myriad of positive experiences greatly outweigh them. I’m so grateful to have made the choice to take this gap year abroad!
Check-in with Anja '22- Annecy
Emma '21- Bordeaux
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying Voice Performance & French at Oregon State University
Andégo Program Review:
I truly don’t know how many more good things there are to say about Andégo Internships Abroad. This program gave me the opportunity to completely change my life and surround myself in the dream life I always hoped I’d be brave enough to embark on. From Robert Zenk’s generous offer of resources, time, and support, to the surprise of finding out what city I’d be placed in, the entire application process, the internship, and everything up until now will be a year with Andégo that I will highlight as one of the best years of my life, for the rest of my life. The opportunity that Andégo gave me to go out and tackle real world challenges (i.e. interacting with your boss… but in a foreign language?!) and also experience the “vie française” that I’d be craving to explore for years helped prove to me that I am capable of so much more than I thought, and I am so much more confident and strong than I’ve ever felt before. From walking down the cobblestone streets of Bordeaux with a croissant in hand, to going to late-night French music festivals with newfound friends, to having my sixth-grade English students give me secret notes that say “You are the best teacher!” in French, my gap year with Andégo was truly a blessing, and I highly recommend Andégo to anyone who is even slightly considering taking a gap year. Trust me - it will be worth it.
Emily '21- Angers
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- University of Oregon
September 2021: I chose Andégo because as soon as I heard about the opportunity my sophomore year of high school from my French teacher, there was something telling me it was the right thing to do. It felt like France was calling me. everything about the program just felt like the right fit. Andégo helped me every step of the way, too. I would've been so overwhelmed without their help, from getting my visa, to packing lists!
Lillian '21- Annecy
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying Biology at Oregon State University
Payton '21- Angers
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying environmental science in the honors program at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
ANDÉGO PROGRAM REVIEW:
Getting to live with a host family and work in another country is such an immersive experience. Not only did my French skyrocket but I was able to learn things I never would have through a university or if I traveled there on my own. Any experience abroad is going to have its challenges so its important that you are prepared and are naturally flexible. Things won't go as planned and that's okay! It is just important that you know yourself well enough to see if it is something you can do.
Overall, I am so grateful I took the leap and decided to do this program. It helped me grow and learn in so many ways and I know it is just the beginning. Getting to do something like this so young is not easy but is so so worth it. I encourage anyone with a heart for exploration and community to see if this program is right for you.
November 2021: My time in France is an experience I will carry with me the rest of my life. I am so grateful I took this leap of faith. Adjusting to a new language, new culture, and new country was difficult at first. But 3 months has allowed the fruit of my labor to ripen, and it tastes very sweet! I can have casual conversations with teachers and my host family, and I am able to express my personality more in French. I also recently got connected with students at the University. They have been showing me the ins and outs of my town, places I never would have found on my own! Staying with my host family has also enabled me to travel. I have enjoyed seeing how everyone does life a little differently. Plus the food is pas mal du tout ;). If you are adventurous, aren’t afraid of a challenge, and enjoy learning new things, I would definitely see if this program is right for you. You can always go to college, but the world awaits!
Crixtian '21- Angers
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Oregon State University
The Andégo program offered me something I never would have thought would ever happen to me in my life. I never would have thought I would be going abroad. I am so happy and grateful that I was given the opportunity to go to France because now I have Friends all over Europe. I now have a family to go back to in France. I made life long friends who I can now call family. Also now I speak French! My French is now so good that French people think I am French! Teaching was so much fun as well! My most valuable memory would have to be when my students began to speak English while I spoke French to them. Overall a very great experience and I would do it again! Merci Andégo.
October 2021: School has been really good. I just recently started teaching English because they wanted me to take the first month to really get the French language in my head, which helped a lot because I can understand so much more. Usually I am able to understand what is being said in class and when I can't I have a notebook they gave me and I just write down phrases and translate them so I understand. In my free time I usually hang out with the host family or go hang out with Gaël (another Andégo participant).
I will say I did go through a rough patch since my stay. I was with this family that didn't necessarily fit the requirements and it was not working out at all, so I told the director and I was able to change families. I guess you could say it took a while for me to really settle in and get comfortable. I really like the family I am with now and it has only gotten better and better since then.
Chloé '21- Angers
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying at the University of Oregon
ANDÉGO PROGRAM REVIEW:
Léo '21- Annecy
October 2021: One of the first things I was asked about when I got into the country was “What do you think about Afghanistan?” This to me as an American was a shock, as I’ve never really been asked to talk about things like that in the states, at least in my family and among my friends, let alone with strangers like the French people who asked me this question. It felt taboo, completely alien to me. The first time I was asked, I was sitting next to an older woman on the train, and she blindsided me with the question. I had no idea where to even start. So I did my best to answer the question, but I didn’t know much. My answer wasn’t hugely satisfactory. Regardless, she was gracious and very curious, so she grinned through my attempts at wading through her language, and she continued to ask me questions.
Maya '20- Annecy
Éric '20- Annecy
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have about the program via Andégo's participant forum!
Ellie '19- Viry-Chatillon
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying technical theater at Rose Bruford College in London, UK
After spending nearly 4 years studying French in high school, it was time for me to go to college. Only, there was one slight issue- I didn’t feel like I had found the perfect college for me. That made this the perfect time to look into my dream of spending time abroad to learn about another culture. With the level of French I had and my past experiences teaching and assisting in various class settings, I was a great candidate for English assisting in France! Once I found a school placement I was excited about and completed my paperwork, it was time to go.
During my gap year I was able to visit fourteen European cities before my time was cut short due to Covid-19. Considering many of my trips were repeat visits to London, since I expected to have four more months of time to go everywhere else, I am more than satisfied with where I went. I got to see so many places I never dreamed of going- especially at this age. In each new place I got to see monuments, meet people, try new foods, and heighten my global understanding.
In school, I worked primarily with 15-16 year old students in their “English conversation” class. We talked about everything under the sun in our sessions, them asking me questions about life as a young person in America, and me doing the same about France. While not in class, I practiced my French as often as I could with the other students and staff at the school. I was able to learn so many words and phrases I probably never would have without being in this immersive program.
As with most things in life, my gap year had a few big surprises. The pandemic unfortunately cut things short right when I felt at home, but I will still be forever grateful for the time I had. The second, arguably bigger change happened slowly. I had initially deferred from an American university, planning to go back and study Technical Theatre and French, but upon my arrival in London the first time, I knew that was my home. I spent four months quickly researching and applying to schools and altering my future plans. While not directly related to foreign language, I am now at one of the best drama schools in the U.K., all thanks to my initial time abroad last year.
I think I grew in many ways from my time in France, but the most important to me are the independence and confidence I gained. I now feel comfortable travelling alone to foreign countries where I may not speak the language, and was able to make the leap to move to London by myself because of my great experience living abroad in France. Bottom line- if you want to make lifelong friends and memories, expand your cultural and language knowledge, and travel to cities you never dreamed of seeing, an internship abroad is for you.
Maya '19- Tournon-sur-Rhône
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?- Studying Graphic Design at the University of Oregon
My gap year experience in France was probably the best experience of my life - I’m so grateful to have studied French and been encouraged to take a risk and spend a year abroad. There were definitely challenges, but the lessons I learned and the great experiences I had made it a year that I will always cherish.
Firstly, I think an experience like this taught me so much in terms of being a global learner. I consider it to be an incredibly valuable part of my growth as a person - it was certainly a year on and not a year off. Spending a year in France helped me achieve fluency in French (that I could not have achieved by not having this immersive experience) and helped me build the confidence necessary to speak with new people from other cultures in another language. I worked through challenges of miscommunication and came out of it having learned so much and having made great friendships with my co-workers, students, and host family (I still keep in contact and hope to see them again one day!) Furthermore, I feel that I’ve been able to carry the communication and adaptation skills I built while in France into any new environment, and use them to connect with people and succeed. Even during my first term of college, I have seen how these skills have helped me quickly adapt and thrive in my new environment - and being able to say that I have worked abroad has definitely helped me gain positions and start interesting conversations!
This experience not only taught me a lot about French culture, but it gave me perspective on my own life in the United States. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and lifestyle by living in France helped me re-evaluate the way we live in the United States by seeing differences in the way we eat, our family dynamics, our traditions, how we live sustainably and how we learn in school! I got to learn about the role the United States plays in the rest of the world through my conversations with people from all over the world who I met through my job or while travelling.
Lastly, through visiting different countries during school vacations, I became comfortable with travelling to new places and speaking to new people of all backgrounds. The beautiful places I saw and the friendships I made have only fueled my desire to continue exploring the world and create more global connections. All this to say that I’ve learned there is an entire world of wonderful possibilities and valuable experiences to be gained from living abroad!
See Maya in the French news here!