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Participant Stories

Teaching English in France: Flash Back Friday

Posted by Alexandra LeGrant | Aug 13, 2019, 4:22:17 PM

It’s Flash Back Friday here at GeoVisions!  Recently we checked in with a past participant who was teaching English in France to a host family backed in 2013.  Here’s Dorothy Cammarot’s story.

Teaching English in France Seeing Paris first-hand is one benefit of teaching English in France

Early 2013, Dorothy, who is retired, was on vacation in France when she took a tour of Paris.  She immediately fell in love with the nation’s capital.  When she returned home to Boca Raton, Florida she knew she wanted to return to the “City of Love.”

After doing some research, she found GeoVisions and that September would be heading back to Paris and living with and teaching English to a French family.  Dorothy says most of her friends and family were excited for her new adventure.  However, some were skeptical.  “Some couldn’t understand why I would travel alone and live with strangers,” she recalls.

Within weeks, those “strangers” became like a second family to Dorothy.

“I was treated as a member of the family while teaching English in France.  Patricia (host mom) made sure I saw many popular sites and attractions while with them.  We traveled around to visit their friends and family and I was always warmly welcomed.”

Dorothy also explains she and her host family shared similar values regarding family, careers, education and recreations- making the quite compatible and comfortable with each other.   And while she loved spending time with her new family, she also had the freedom to explore.

Teaching English in France The D-Day beaches in Normandy are easily visited when teaching English in France

“I drove one of the family cars- thank goodness I can drive a stick shift!  I was able to go out on my own when the family wasn't at home.”

Dorothy says her “overall experience was great,” and credits it “because I was placed with such a wonderful family.”  She has the following advice for anyone, no matter their age, who is considering teaching abroad.

“Go for it and not give up if they're turned down at any time.  I applied for a job and was not accepted after a Skype interview.  I think it was because of my age.  So I just tried again.  There's so much to see, do, and learn in other countries and an older person has much to offer to those they're teaching or tutoring.  They also have much to gain by being one on one with a family.”

In addition to improving her French language skills, Dorothy says she also gained a French family.

Teaching English in France Dorothy hopes to visit Paris again after her time teaching English in France

“I have seen them again and my daughter has met them.  I hope to return one day for another visit.”

Flash Back Friday:  Here's a snippet of an email Dorothy sent our Operations Manager, Jodi, back in 2013.

Time is passing quickly here.  My French family is wonderful!   I'm learning my way around the roads.  Got lost a few times my first day out - saw the same cows several times - think they were laughing at me.  I went to Nancy to see the sights today with Sabrina (from Germany) who is staying with the family across the street.  We both speak English!!!

The weather has been fantastic - sunny and warm (sweater weather for me) most of the days.  Last night and this morning were cool to cold but I'm prepared for it.  I'm enjoying the break from the Florida humidity.

That's it for now.  My French family will be home soon.  Little Louis-Jean is a very sweet and smart boy.  I drove him to school today because his mom and Alex had to be at work by 7:00, too early to leave him at day care before school started.  So not only am I seeing the sights and speaking English to the family, I'm also feeling helpful to the family in other ways too.

It has been a smooth transition to France; I’m so glad I pursued this adventure!

Written by Alexandra LeGrant

Alexandra is the Community Manager at GeoVisions Foundation. She handles all of the Social Media and Alumni relations. Alex loves to travel and meet with our participants.

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