Why did you choose this program?
At the end of my senior year of high school, I had no idea what college I wanted to be at or what I wanted to study. I felt really lost in what to do next until I started researching gap year opportunities. I chose the Andego program because they gave detailed program information that looked really appealing to me. I already had experience in studying French, and I had worked in schools for over three years, so I felt that I would fit well into the position they were offering. Reading through the Andego Abroad webpage made me really excited to apply for the opportunity, and after that, everything just kind of fell into place.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Before the program began, Andego provided the assistants with pre-departure checklists, meetings, packing lists, and lots of communication and support. The main thing I was tasked with was booking my own trip to France, but once there, everything was set up for me. This included train tickets to meet up with the group, room, board, and meals during in-person orientation, and the rest of my connections to the school I was working with.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I think the best piece of advice I could give is to always say yes during your abroad experience. If a coworker invites you over for dinner or someone asks you to go to an event, try to always do it. Pushing yourself to do new things can be so important, especially when you're in a new country. You will end up meeting new people and creating new memories. Some things may not appeal to you, or sound fun, but can end up being really impactful. Of course not everything will end up being fun, but you'll end up with a lot of new stories.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Typically I was teaching about 2-3 classes a day between the two schools I was working at. I would start my morning off by going through my lesson plans for the day and then walking to whichever school I was working at. Typically, I would spend time in the teacher's lounge to catch up with the English department and other coworkers. My classes usually went for about 45 to 90 minutes. Whenever I was done for the day, I would meet up with my roommates at our local cafe, and end the evening by finishing up other lesson plans for the week. Typically every week I tried to have some kind of plans for the weekend, whether that be traveling somewhere new or meeting up with interns from other cities. In my free time, I was tutoring, reading, journaling, and trip-planning.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was being far from family and friends for so long. Initially, it was pretty tough but this fear was also balanced out with the excitement of the start of the abroad experience. I found that once you get a hang of the time difference, I had no trouble frequently communicating with people back home. I also think that finding people who are going through a similar experience was a good way to get through this.