Alana Smith ’18 is working as a counselor and English language teacher this summer at the American Village Camps in France. Through a combination of classroom instruction and immersion, her efforts are focused on engaging French students across cultures.
American Village Camps gives French youth a completely immersive English language experience coupled with traditional American-style camp activities, like sports and campfires. The program hopes to help students overcome their anxieties about speaking and making mistakes in a new language and improve English language skills and fluency.
With a new theme every day, Smith and her fellow counselors demonstrate American customs and then teach the associated vocabulary. Smith says she enjoys working with this organization as it allows her to explore variations in teaching English as a second language.
“I love how I am able to test different techniques in the classroom and be flexible in my teaching,” Smith said.
As American Village Camps specifically recruits American college students like Smith, counselors hold an important role at the camp, often representing the first point of contact between French children and American culture.
A past participant of the Centre in Strasbourg study abroad program, this is not Smith’s first time in France. Her time abroad with the College was key in preparing her for her summer internship.
“My understanding of French culture and education solidified when I studied abroad in Strasbourg last year,” she said.
Smith talks of her summer in France as revitalizing, offering her a global education beyond the classroom.
“When you’re abroad you never know who you’re going to meet,” she explained. “You get refreshing perspectives and learn new things.”
The “Centre Mafia,” as Centre’s network of alumni, friends and family are often affectionately known, also played a significant role, helping Smith find and apply for her internship. With these connections, she can now explore a new career field and extend the opportunity to travel and explore Europe.
Additionally, as Smith expands her skill set as a teacher, she hopes this program will help her determine what her life after Centre will look like.
“By the end of the summer, I want to have a better idea of my career post-graduation,” she concluded.
by Kathleen Murphy ’18
July 12, 2017