Fulbright recipient prepares to return to France
May 6, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
teaching assistantship in France, where she studied abroad as a
When Ellen Kuhn ’10 of Washington, Penn., began studying French eight years ago, she immediately made it her goal to become fluent in the language. Now, with many semesters of French behind her, she plans to make use of her language skills during a Fulbright-recommended teaching assistantship. In the Nord Pas-de-Calais region of France, Kuhn will spend next year teaching English in a local school.
(Centre is known for its “frequent Fulbrights.” Twenty-nine students have received the honor in the last 10 years—one of the highest per capita rates of any college or university in the country.)
Kuhn, one of two members of the Centre class of 2010 to have received a Fulbright award, says she realized early in her senior year that she wanted “to do something different before going on to graduate school, and I realized that now would be the best time for me to try to live in France. Otherwise, I figured, life was just going to take off, and I’d probably never get such an opportunity again.”
With a passion for raising cultural awareness, Kuhn believed that completing a teaching assistantship program in France would be the ideal way to spend her first year as a college graduate.
“I've been really involved with the French club here at Centre, working to promote French language and culture on campus,” she says. “Now I get to switch and do the same for English. I think this is what I'm most excited about—I see the teaching assistantship as a two-way street. I get to share what I know with students while they teach me at the same time.”
Kuhn was also eager to spend the year in France having quickly falling in love with the country while studying abroad with Centre-in-Strasbourg.
“My semester in Strasbourg certainly pushed me further toward completing my goal of becoming fluent in French, but I knew when I left that I needed to be immersed in French for a longer period of time,” she says. “And I knew that I’d be upset if I didn't get to spend more time in France. Something about France and the French lifestyle—much slower than here in America!—really clicked with me, and I wanted more.”
Although she admits that she has some anxiety about moving to a foreign country, Kuhn says that after sharing her concerns with several professors, “who’ve all been extremely supportive,” she continues to grow increasingly more excited each day.
“I've also been looking back on my study abroad experiences here at Centre,” she says. “Besides spending a full term in Strasbourg, I spent this past CentreTerm in Bali, and I’ve realized how much these experiences have given me the confidence to be able to do this.”