Deirdre Whyte, a former Irish assistant tells us more about her experience in Bordeaux! [fr]
This year we celebrate the 50 years of the language assistant programme!
Let’s discover through a series of portraits the experience of some former Irish assistants in France and what they’ve become!
Deirdre was posted in Bordeaux in 2016 as an English assistant. That year Bordeaux was elected the capital of culture in Europe and she had the chance to experience the city during the Euro’s football tournament. Deirdre really enjoyed her time in Bordeaux. She was living with a family in the city centre so she was really immersed into the French culture. She made many French friends and frequently attended “Franglish”: a French-English evening where the participants speak with language learners in both languages. There were many festivals in Bordeaux that she went to throughout the year so she learnt a lot about wine and French culture. Bordeaux, in the South-West of France, is the country’s 9th most populated city and is known throughout the world for its unique wines. This city of art and history, on UNESCO’s World Heritage List thanks to its exceptional urban and architectural heritage, has so much to offer. Bordeaux has also been voted the 1st most attractive city by the French for its quality of life and has been elected the most “trendiest” city to visit in 2017 by The Lonely Planet!
Deirdre heard about the opportunity of becoming a language assistant in France from a lecturer. She explains that: “It sounded incredible, the chance to work in France and teach students about Irish culture. I couldn’t refuse the offer. The professional teaching experience is so valuable to my career; I learned that I definitely want to work in a school teaching languages. The experience taught me great responsibility and gave me a passion to teach.” She also appreciated the joyful atmosphere in the school: “I was delighted to be invited to a lunch in the school where we shared some Galette des Rois. This was such a fun experience; French teachers often meet for cakes and celebration in the staff room.” Food is never far away in France!
Although Deirdre was posted in Bordeaux to teach English to the French kids, she also learnt how to speak like a real inhabitant of Bordeaux. She soon started to use the word “gavé” in French which means “very”. This word is emblematic of the way of speaking in Bordeaux. It even became her favourite word in French!
Deirdre tries to visit France as much as possible. She studies French and Irish at Trinity College to become a French teacher.
With more than 2500 Irish assistants who came to France since the launching of the programme and also more than 2500 French assistants who came to Ireland, it is with a certain pride to see the enthusiasm around this programme!
Discover the other portraits here.