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French Connection: Alumna shares impact of teaching internship

Janet Kiplinger Ciccone
June 07, 2016
Allison-Buerk-OHIO Four Buckeye interns and Allison Buerk, second from right, celebrate their French experience on the beach of Montpellier, a port city on the Rhone River in southern France.


Allison Buerk, ’16, graduated in only three years with a Bachelor of Science in Early and Middle Childhood Studies, describes the Ohio State Teaching Internship in Montpellier, France, during May 2015 under program advisor and Assistant Professor Francis Troyan.

What took you to France?

As a sophomore, I learned more about myself and the world during my study abroad experience. Nine other Ohio State students and I lived with host families, studied and taught in a French public school.

Never in my life have I experienced such a positive and life-changing adventure, all in three weeks. I was proud of finding my way through a new city, in a new country, by myself each day.

My ability to learn a new language simply by listening and taking notes each day also shocked me. By the end of the trip I was able to hold a simple conversation with my host family.

What teaching and learning experiences did you have?

For my internship, I was paired with a licensed teacher in a Montpellier public elementary school.

I found observing to be the chance of a lifetime. I saw teaching techniques that I had studied at Ohio State being used in a different part of the world. I practiced my own techniques by teaching during the English section of the class.

We also took academic classes while in Montpellier. We studied the French educational system, foreign language and plurilingualism, which is the ability to speak more than one language and to use them in a social context.

Allison-Buerk-Arles Buerk jumps for joy because she is in Arles, where Vincent van Gogh painted some of his most famous paintings.


What did you like about living in Montpellier?

Living with my host family fully immersed me in the local culture. Coming to France without knowing much French was intimidating at first. But after living with an amazing family, whom I plan to visit again soon, I learned more than most do in a French language class.

Living in Montpellier was also amazing as I witnessed the beautiful history that the city has to offer. I am so thankful to Ohio State for allowing me to have this opportunity.

What are you doing now and what are your career plans?

I am now enrolled in EHE’s one-year Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. I recently was honored with the Kappa Phi Kappa Scholarship, which will help pay my tuition for the fall semester.

Once I earn my teaching license, which qualifies me to teach children from age 3 to grade 3, I hope to stay in the Columbus area and begin my teaching career by August 2017.


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