November 20, 2018

Jamie Fesinstine ’17 chose to study abroad in Rennes, France, for two reasons—language immersion and teaching experience.

Teaching English once a week in a nearby high school, she was surprised by how much French was being spoken in a class designed to teach English.

So she decided to have her students speak only English during her classes. By the end of the semester, Fesinstine had students asking for even more challenging activities.

“This was an amazing way for me to see that students really are capable of doing a lot more than they think, and teachers should not be afraid to push their students to be the best they can be,” she says.

While in France, Fesinstine was thankful for the solid language skills she learned at Susquehanna. She was able to confidently communicate with French locals, live with a French-speaking family and take courses taught in entirely French.

After graduating, the French and secondary education major returned to Rennes to teach English through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). She returned to the U.S. and now teaches middle school French.

“When we learn a second language, and along with that a second culture, we give ourselves the opportunities to see things in our lives through a different lens and to understand the world in a way we may have not thought about before,” she says.