Participant Testimonials

Read about past students' experiences abroad:

Check-in with Éric '20- Annecy

May 2021

The last couple months have been filled with ups and downs. In April, we went into a month-long quarantine due to COVID-19. I am so grateful to have such a kind host family, because I spent the month making memories with them. Living with a family in France has been my favorite experience by far; I’ve learned so much about the French culture and formed lifelong relationships with my host family. They’ve also been teaching me to cook a little, and I even made them a quiche last month. In May, we left quarantine and were able to travel to Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland. The proximity to different countries is something unique to Europe, and it was such a fascinating experience taking a 3 hour train ride and finding myself in a completely new country and culture!

The internship is going well now that we’re completely settled in, and I’m forming great relationships with my students. Teaching classes facilitates a unique cultural exchange where both parties benefit. I’ve built so much confidence by teaching in both English and French, which is a skill I’ll use for the rest of my life. I’ve also had a great experience taking classes in French, like geopolitics/political science and mathematics, which has been fascinating! In the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to paragliding in the Alps, going on hikes, eating gelato, and, this summer, traveling all over Europe!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have about the program via Andégo's participant forum!

Check-in with Maya '20- Annecy

May 2021

Time is passing too quickly! Our internships end in just a few weeks and I’ll be hopping on a flight home to Oregon before I know it. I have a busy and exciting month ahead of me before I head home. In my 4th/5th grade class, we’ve been working on a play in English that they’ll be performing at the end of the month. I’ve spent months with them working on pronunciation, memorization, and acting. It’ll be exciting to see the whole piece put together on stage. I’ve also been working on theatre with the 8th graders, as we just spent a unit talking about Hollywood which finished with a project in which they “directed” their own movie. Teaching is certainly far from easy, but I’ve gained an important skill set from this job that I know will serve me in the future. It’s been gratifying getting to know my students and I know I will be sad to say goodbye.

In addition to teaching, we’ve been able to get out and travel more with the improving Covid situation. We just spent a long weekend in Zurich and Geneva, and are planning on visiting Lyon next week. It’s exciting being able to get out and explore more of Europe and I’m hoping to be able to travel a little more before I head home.

My favorite part of this whole experience has been living in a host family. It will be difficult having to leave them, but I have no doubt we’ll keep in touch. I was even just talking to the oldest daughter about having her visit me when I’m in college! Having a French family has been instrumental in developing my French and also finding a sense of belonging in a foreign country and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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!



Ellie '19- Viry-Chatillon

WHERE IS SHE 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.