Participant Testimonials

Read about current & past students' experiences abroad:

Check-in with Emma '21- Bordeaux

October 2021: Choosing Andégo Internships Abroad was undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made for myself. I was among the group of students who felt unready to start university right after high school but wanted an equally challenging year of exploration and growth in character, and Andégo offered everything I was looking for in a gap year program. Having found a love of teaching and helping from a young age, this internship has been an incredibly useful opportunity for me to realize that I want to pursue teaching in the future, as well as language and world cultures. This experience, even after just a month, has already proved to me that I am capable of so much more than I used to think and that I feel more courageous, confident, and excited to tackle challenges and goals in the future. Even upon my arrival in Bordeaux, I already felt comfortable, safe, and supported by my school and host family. I am so lucky to have a magnificent support staff behind me every day, and I have been so lucky to find a population who is just as interested in me and my culture as I am in theirs! Of course, I have not been immune to the typical travelers’ woes - I miss my family and friends in the States every day; but communication has not been impossible, and I am so excited to return as the best version of myself with so many stories to tell and observations to share. I truly believe that there could not have been a better choice I could’ve made for myself in pursuing an internship with Andégo.

Check-in with Emily '21- Angers

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!

I think this gap year is going to be really good for me. I needed more time to grow up, and believe me, being 5160 miles away from home and immersing myself in a completely different culture has been so eye opening for me. It just gives you a completely different perspective on life.

There have been struggles, missing my family, friends, and home, but that’s part of the package. You have to experience the life altering, difficult emotions of disconnection in order to grow. Starting a new life halfway across the world has been one of the hardest, and the best things I've ever done. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. Sometimes I feel like I'm dreaming and I have to pinch myself because I can't believe this is actually happening. I'm literally living in France. Me. This is real.

Check-in with Payton '21- Angers

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!

Check-in with Crixtian '21- Angers

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 think for this upcoming break in two weeks me and Gaël are going to go to Paris and maybe get a place to stay the night. Also I have made a list of places that I want to visit and will start working on a plan to go to those places because many people tell me that they will be willing to take me somewhere as long as I tell them in advance.

As for school and taking classes, the other students and I are going to start going to a French class on Mondays and Tuesday this week. I’m excited for the classes. Everyone tells me my French has gotten way better after six weeks of being here. In fact of the other day the host family mom had her brother over and I was able to have a full hour long conversation with him and the host mom said "Ton français s'est amélioré parce que vous comprenez les blagues" “Your French has improved because you’re understanding jokes.” In addition this week I am going to Gaël’s school to give a presentation on Day of The Dead from the Spanish class with other Mexicans that are in Angers.

I started soccer in the beginning of September but I have not played in a soccer match yet. Gaël and I have just been training with the team every Wednesday and Friday. On the team I have met a couple people but they are just now starting to gain confidence to talk to me. Overall soccer is good for Gaël and I.

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.

Check-in with Gaël '21- Angers


Check-in with Madison '21- Tours


Check-in with Chloé '21- Angers


Check-in with 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.

Nevertheless, when I was first asked that question on the train heading to the school I’m in now, it was like stepping on a garden rake in the cartoons. I didn’t see it, how little I knew and understood, until I stepped into a conversation that forced me to think about new things, and as soon as I did I was hit square in the face by my ignorance of what was going on around me. Hearing the sentiments of French people was mind-bending for me.

Though it may sound like a lot, this is an incredible experience that has found me growing in ways that I did not know I could, and it’s revealed to me more about what I want to do and where I want to go than I may have ever found in the States. I love to speak with the students and to teach them as best as I can. The teachers and other staff are incredible, and I’m taught something new whenever I speak with them. Andégo has afforded me the opportunity to truly see at least one more part of the world in a way that I never would have been able to without it.

Maya '20- Annecy

Where are they now?: Studying at Macalester College in Minnesota

It’s hard to believe I’ve been home from France for a month and a half and am moving into college in just a few days! Looking back on my gap year, I have so many fond memories and feel so grateful for the whole experience. The time spent with my host family, traveling around Europe, and getting to know my students was my favorite. I already wish I could go back.

Like any experience, my gap year had its ups and downs. Living abroad was not always easy, especially with everything being closed due to the pandemic. Sometimes, I had a rowdy class and did not know what to do about it. Other times, I felt lost in the French language and culture. In the end, every slight difficulty was worth it and I grew from each challenge. My gap year has also made me feel more prepared for college and I can’t imagine my life had I not take the leap of faith and moved to France for the year.

My advice for future interns would be to soak up every moment! Living and working in Europe is an amazing adventure you’ll look back on for the rest of your lives. Try to embrace the uncertainty and discomfort as best you can and be open to every opportunity to try something new. It won’t always be easy, but it will be so worth it. Bon courage!

Éric '20- Annecy

Where are they now?: Studying at Stanford University

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!

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!