February 08, 2005

Some Advice Please...
Yesterday I was asked by the head of the Modern Languages Student Association at my uni to give a bit of a presentation at a forum that they're going to be holding in mid-March for anyone who's interested in the French program, and things that you can do with French. They'll be having people from the UBC and SFU teacher training programs, a lady from EduFrance (more on that later), and some other speakers too.
I've been asked to talk about my experience working in France as an English assistant last year.
I said yes, then started thinking.
If I get up there, and say how wonderful it was, and what a great time I had, all the travelling I did, and how much I think everyone should do the same thing, I'd be in part lying. And, if I get up there and say how much I hated it, and how the French government and the Academie de Lille screwed me over (i.e. getting paid), and how the French police harassed me, not to mention all the hassle getting paperwork, I know that's not what they want me to say.
It seems to that it's not a win-win situation, because I won't feel good either way.
Then there's the EduFrance lady who's coming. I'm curious to meet her, because I was in email contact with her when looking for a uni course in Lille. Turns out that I paid about $1000 Canadian for the course, and didn't end up getting anything out of it, because the course was for people beginning to learn French. The rub is that I can't really say anything to her about it (I paid her 100Euro or $150 Canadian for her to "find the course"), because she's a good friend of the head of the French department at my uni. And of course, I still have to take courses from the her.
What to do, what to do...
Any advice?

7 comments:

Curious said...

You have to be honest with these people, but at the same time, you must not try to "convince" or "persuade" these people to not try the program. My advice would be to counter every negative comment with a positive comment, stressing the fact that you had friends in Lille who, unlike you, did have a great time, and that one's happiness is all relative to the individual. Be tactful, but always be honest.

Stephen said...

I wasn't planning on trying to convince people not to go, since I know that's not why they want me to present.
But, most of the assistants I knew in the North didn't like it that much (I personally knew 2 who quit before the end of the 7 months). Another friend did a semester in France, and loved it. Then, after working as an assistant, never wants to go to France again in her life. Not to mention the number of people who got depressed, and didn't say anything until the last two weeks (I know several who lived in the building across the street from where I lived in Lille).
I don't know.

Curious said...

Well, from what I'm hearing from you, don't do the presentation because it seems that your thoughts on the program are almost 100% negative. I don't see any optimism in your words at all. Just remember that honesty is the key.

Curious said...

Incidentally, I quit the program within the first month, right after they informed me of the money situation...(or lack of money, i should say) I was mad at AC Lille for a long long time--still am, but sounds like i'm not as mad as you...

Stephen said...

Where were u stationed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais? Lycée, Collège, Primaire?

Genevieve said...

Hey Stephen, it's been a while since I've read your blog...but this sounds like a bit of a predicament. My experience there was very good, and I think I learned an awful lot from the things that weren't. Maybe you could focus on that aspect of things if you need a positive spin?

Erm, you know, like how much you learned from being harassed by the police...

I don't know. Good luck!

Stephen said...

Yah, I think that I'll end up giving the presentation. I don't know how long they're looking for. I should check into that this afternoon.