This is my first post from my latest experience in France (if you want, posts from my semester abroad are below…but seriously, don’t worry about it). For the next 7 months, I will be an ‘assistante de langue‘ or assistant teacher of English in one high school and one middle school in the town of Gap.
Gap is the capital of the Hautes-Alpes département (like a state, but these divisions aren’t as significant here as in the US), but it is quite small, only 40,000 people. Still, it is within a bus or train ride of cities like Marseille, Grenoble, and Nice. I’m thinking weekend travel will be a must! In the winter, though, we’ll be pretty close to some ski stations that are supposed to be of varying difficulty. I hope to give it a try!
There’s not much to report so far. I’m living in the boarding school section of the high school where I’m teaching for 7-8 hours a week. My roommate is named Emily. She’s from Essex, in the Greater London area. We have our own rooms and sinks (and bidets…we’re both quite amused by these), as well as a kitchenette, shower, and toilet. In France, and probably other parts of Europe, sinks, toilets, and showers are not necessarily in the same room. It seems a little inefficient to me, but that’s just my American pragmatism.
The apartment is small, but very inexpensive, and we can come and go as we please. Today our coordinator, Dominique, who is very sweet and helpful, showed us around the high school. We met several English teachers, all of whom were similarly helpful and encouraged us to reach out to them with any questions or problems. It’s very nice to know they’re there, especially since this is my third time in France overall, but the first time I’m without a host family.
We went to the market on Saturday. Though the city itself couldn’t really be described as charming, the old town (centre ville) is very cute and a designated pedestrian zone. The surrounding landscape is stunning, mountains are constantly popping out from behind buildings. I haven’t had the chance to take pictures, but it’s very clear today, so I will post some soon.
More later, MB