English Language Assistant Testimonials
Host Institution: Lycée Kastler Guitton, La Roche sur Yon
University in UK: Cardiff
The teachers met us and looked after us for the first couple of days, myself
and the other English assistant at the school (a Californian) had to find our
feet quite quickly as we went into the school to observe lessons before we
taught them. The town is fairly compact so it wasn’t difficult to find our way
round. The mairie had a welcome tour prepared for us too!
I lived in the internat in the school, on the ground floor there was an
apartment for us – it was basic especially in the kitchen dept – I’m now ace
at microwave cooking!
The students were great as were colleagues, the biggest problem I had
was with the mentor teacher – she really took to the American assistant and
made it obvious that I was second best.
I took lots of CDs, newspapers and magazines. Lycee kastler guitton
focuses on practical subjects – mechanics, plumbing etc and was 90%
boys – it would have been great to know that before I arrived!
Met the other assistants at the mairie, also went to a local gym and there
was a group of French people who went to speak English on the first
Monday of every month so went to that too!
I knew on Sundays that nothing would be open but it still took a bit of
adjustment! It was also really nice to go out to bars later than in England
and find that there were no drunks about picking fights etc
The great advantage of being an assistant was all the school holidays and
because you are paid you can afford to travel! We went to Paris, Bordeaux,
Nice, Les sables d’olonne, la Baule, Nantes, la Rochelle, angers, as well as
many smaller towns close by!
If you are a fan of baked beans or salt and vinegar crisps they can be hard
to track down but the food is generally better in France than here –their
supermarkets are ace!
At school we had access but you cannot use hotmail there, you could
however, go to the internet café in town €3 for an hour!
Your confidence rockets, and the ability to live, work and sort all the
necessary paperwork in a foreign country is an advantage! It is a unique
cultural experience – like “auberge espagnol” but better!
Don’t panic! Enjoy every moment and make sure you have your camera
handy and your address book! Also if a French person invites you to their
house for dinner – do not say no, not only because it’s rude but also
because their cooking skills are amazing! And most importantly have fun –
your experience is what you make it so don’t be afraid to get out there!