Parlez-Vous Francais?

Young Alums Teaching in France

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About six hours south of where Cannata is teaching, in a town called Le Puy en Velay, Freed teaches elementary school in a studio apartment in the center of town. It’s a situation in which she never would have expected to find herself.

“I had started to look for internships in my field,” she says, and “going to France this year seemed like a faraway path that didn’t belong to me. When I told Dr. Palermo that I wished I could do something like this, her reply was simply, ‘Why can’t you?’”

Freed soon realized the opportunity was just too good to pass up and hasn’t regretted the decision to take a detour from her intended career path. “I love speaking French and feeling like I’m really communicating. I love the comfort of my small-but-not- too-small town, and my proximity to so many new and interesting places,” says the public relations and French major and theatre minor from Vestal, N.Y.

Freed’s teaching experience doesn’t directly advance the career plans that she delayed—she hopes to delve into theatre administration when she returns to the United States—but she says she’s gained an invaluable worldview and life experience in France.

Libhart’s path to France started in, of all places, Turkey. A semester in Istanbul left him with a burning desire to see other countries, and a visit to Paris while he was studying abroad cemented his desire to go to France.

“I have loved the chance to really immerse myself in a foreign culture and have endless opportunities to practice my French. Also, the food has been expectedly fantastic,” he says.

He lives in Saint Quentin in northern France with his girlfriend, an American studying abroad whom he met on that fateful trip to Paris. Libhart primarily teaches high school, as well as a business English course for older students.

As the only Susquehanna alumnus in the program who plans to teach, Libhart says he’s filing away valuable lessons for his future career.

“This teaching experience will prove very beneficial when I need to teach college classes in the future. I suppose that it will seem easier, in some ways, since I will be doing it in my native language and culture,” he says.

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