Let’s discover John Devlin’s experience as a language assistant in Paris! [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!
"I have always been very interested in languages. At school I learnt French, Spanish, German, Italian and Irish, but French has always been my favourite. I chose to become a language assistant to help young people get the same fun and enjoyment out of language learning as I did when I was at school. Also, I studied at Sciences Po, Paris, as part of my University degree, and enjoyed my time there so much that I just knew I wanted to return to France after completing my studies in Ireland so becoming a language assistant was the perfect opportunity for me.
I was posted to Paris where I taught in a primary school in the 5th arrondissement. Paris has truly become a home from home for me and I go back regularly at weekends to catch-up with the many great friends I made there.
During my time as an English language assistant I learned many skills that I use in my current job, including how to be a good communicator, to manage people and to problem solve and think on your feet when things do not go according to plan. Personally, through my interactions with my students I came to have a better understanding and appreciation of French culture and values.
The life of a language assistant is also full of surprises!
An unexpected visit on a Monday morning…
"I remember arriving to the school one Monday morning and being told by the Principal that there had been a last minute change of schedule and that I would have to teach a different class than that for which I had a lesson prepared. I had to improvise and think quickly to come up with a new lesson plan. It was all going quite well until the Principal came in to the class half way through the lesson accompanied by the Mayor of the 5th Arrondissement who was interested in seeing how English was taught in the school - definitely not what I had been expecting when I arrived to school that morning!"
After his experience in France as an Irish assistant, John worked at the Embassy of Ireland in Paris as Trade and Economics Affairs Assistant. He is now Third Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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.