Harry Vaughan speaks about the life in the Reunion Island as an English assistant! [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!
Harry was posted in the Reunion Island which is quite different from mainland France. Let’s see what his experience was like…
Why did you choose to become an English assistant?
"For many reasons but above all because I already spent quite a lot of time in France working both on summer camps teaching English and I also spent an Erasmus in Paris during 6 months. So I wanted to go back to France but to experience something a bit different. That’s why I wanted to go to Reunion Island or La Martinique. So I was posted in Reunion Island. I was very happy about it as I was about to see something different and to have a new experience."
What was it like to live in La Réunion?
"It’s a very diverse tropical island in the Indian Ocean, very contrasting landscapes, lots of mountains, beautiful beaches, a volcano and also culturally speaking there are many differences. There are a lot of different people due to a large population of French form mainland and several religious communities so it’s quite a melting pot."
How was this experience valuable?
"I gained more experience teaching English in a secondary school in France for the first time. I had been teaching English before but mostly in summer camp where kids and teenagers would come to learn English during 2 weeks. This time I was working amongst various professional teachers. I had the chance to become involved with other subjects as well such as history and geography. I would sometimes teach those subjects through English and help those teachers. It was good because I also got to help the teachers and hang out with them and improve their level of English at the same time. Because I only worked 12 hours a week, I was working as a tour guide during my spare time for cruise ships. There are so many things to do on the island, I was never bored. I just really loved the experience!"
The life of a language assistant offers lasting memories and a complete immersion in the French culture!
"We had a large amount of summer holidays over the December-January period. So I went to Madagascar with some friends for 2 weeks. It was a complete different experience from La Réunion, it was another Francophone country but there are so many differences between the two. I was going on a trip on a hike with my friends during the rainy season on the mountains of Madagascar. Suddenly we were caught in a thunderstorm. I lost a friend at the top of the mountain during the thunderstorm so I tried to find him in the middle of the thunderstorm. Definitely a lasting memory!
In La Réunion, the memory of spending Christmas and New Year’s over there instead of being in Ireland was an utterly unbelievable experience. There were fireworks everywhere, sweltering heat, really hot at this time of year also. Spending Christmas day of the beach was something new!
I already lived 6 months in Paris so it wasn’t too difficult. I lived just next to the beach so in a very touristic place. It gave me the impression to live in Europe but in the Indian Ocean. The main difference is the public transport. When you wanted to stop at the next bus top you had to clap your hands so that the driver would hear you as there weren’t any buttons."
Harry is currently working at LinkedIn. Before that he was working in a travel technology company in Dublin. He took care of car rental for people traveling around the world. He was a customer operations representative for French speaking customers who wanted to rent a car or who had issues with their car rentals. He worked with major partners like Ryanair, AerLingus, Emirates, Transavia.
The language assistant programme is not only made for people who want to become teacher. It actually widens the possibility of an international career!
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.