In a mere 39 days, I’m going to leave my life in the U.S. and travel 4,500 miles to work in France. I suppose I should really say I’m traveling 7,242 kilometers, but I’m still figuring out a lot.
I’m going to teach English to high school students in Central France, in Guéret. This rural town has a lot of forest, a wolf preserve, what claims to be the world’s largest hedge labyrinth, and about 14,000 people. The area is known as la France profonde, which is the equivalent of our Middle America.
Not only have I never lived abroad, but I’ve also never lived anywhere this small. It will be an adventure.
Though you can’t easily visit me, I do have a way for you to come along — by reading this blog. I’m documenting my adventures in rural France right here. All the food, fun, and government bureaucracy will be yours to enjoy. I arrive in France at the end of September.
Now, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.
- Are you leaving journalism for teaching? No. Teaching abroad is something I’ve wanted to do since college, and I also looked at programs in Japan and China. This French program lasts for seven months. Then I will spend a month traveling around Europe and afterward, return to the U.S. to continue my journalism career.
- How did you find this job? It’s through a French government program, which I found out about when I was in college.
- Do you speak French? Oui, I minored in le français at the University of Georgia. This teaching program requires participants to be proficient in French. That said, I’m not fluent yet, but I hope to be by the time I leave France.
- Will you live near Paris? No, I’ll live 4-5 hours away from Paris by train — perfect for a long weekend.
- Why are you doing this? A myriad of reasons. I want to become fluent in French. I want to try living and working in another country. Sharing my language and culture with others sounds appealing.
Au revoir until next time. In the weeks before I leave, you can bet I’m loading up on our uniquely American delicacies: peanut butter and barbeque.