As part of Centre College’s Centre-in-Strasbourg program, Meg Whelan ’21 (Wilder, Kentucky) is taking advantage of two guarantees in the Centre Commitment—internship and study abroad—while interning at the Centre des Ressources et d’Apprentissage des Langues (CRAL) at the University of Strasbourg.
Working as an English teaching assistant, in collaboration with two professors, Whelan designs lessons for French students who are learning English at intermediate and advanced levels. The students play games, discuss current events, read news articles and compare experiences in France and the U.S.
Prior to her current teaching experience in France, Whelan had the opportunity to teach fourth grade students in Accra, Ghana, during CentreTerm 2019.
“My experiences teaching non-native English speakers ignited my passion for language education,” Whelan said. “I loved the process of coaching someone through a difficult concept and then arriving at that awesome transformative learning moment together.
“When Dr. Mark Rasmussen, director of Centre-in-Strasbourg, announced the possibility of this internship with CRAL, I was quick to apply,” she continued. “It seemed like an incredible opportunity to not only gain professional experience in my future career but also to develop my French skills at the same time.”
Whelan hopes this internship will help her discern which level of education she’s interested in pursuing as a career. She said her time in the classroom has confirmed and intensified her passion to become an educator of English language learners. Whelan is eager to pursue international teaching positions through organizations like the Peace Corps or the Fulbright Program after graduation.
“Centre has taught me to really value the cross-cultural experience,” she added. “Because of this instilled belief, I have been intentional in building relationships with the French university professors and students outside of the classroom.
“This internship has provided so many opportunities for cross-cultural exchange,” she concluded. “I am extremely grateful for the professors and students at the University of Strasbourg who have welcomed and befriended me. These relationships, especially with my peers, have enriched my cultural immersion experience far beyond the reach of my French homestay.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 7, 2019