27 June 2009

25 June 2009

What would you miss?

What I will miss about the American life:
  1. Being able to do simple things like ordering a pizza without dealing with a language barrier... though that isn't always true here, either!
  2. Living close to my family and friends
  3. A sense of urgency in customer service
  4. Meijer
  5. BBQs (though becoming more popular, there's nothing like an American BBQ)
  6. Griffin's games and Michigan football games
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Smiling and saying "hi" to people who I pass on the street
  9. Fully functional and (relatively) sanitary public restrooms (toilet paper included)
  10. My puppy!
  11. Thursday nights on NBC: The Office and 30 Rock
  12. Barack Obama
  13. Long hot showers for free

What I look forward to in France:
  1. Not having to drive or pay for gas
  2. Escaping the West Michigan Winters
  3. Delicious, decadent, food perfection
  4. Surrounding myself with beautiful architecture, history, and culture
  5. Not tipping at restaurants
  6. A regular salary and paid vacations!
  7. Being employed in general
  8. Having the ability to easily travel to some of the most amazing cities on earth by train
  9. Using the metro daily
  10. Ameliorating my French
  11. Making lesson plans and teaching English
  12. Wine, cheese, and baguette picnics
  13. Espresso
  14. Learning my way around the city of lights
  15. People coming to visit!

19 June 2009

Six weeks of paid vacation

Did I mention that I'm never coming back to the U.S.? Better get my share of one-stop supermarkets, peanut butter, driving, and tipping 20% at restaurants before I leave!

These are the dates of my paid vacation (I can't get over how great that is):

October 24- November 6
December 19- January 4
February 13- March 1

15 June 2009

Wait... why are you in Europe?

Courtney's reasons to flee the country:

  1. What else do you do with a French degree if you're from the Midwest?
  2. The natural tendency of us young twenty-somethings to think we know what's good for us.
  3. France wants to give me money and health insurance.
  4. Boredom?

Here is a little description of the program that I am participating in from the French Embassy's Cultural Services website:

Teach English in France! The French Ministry of Education and the Cultural Services at the Embassy of France offer approximately 1,500 teaching assistant positions in French primary and secondary schools as well as, in various French teaching colleges –the "Instituts universitaires de formation des maĆ®tres (IUFM)". This is a truly unique opportunity for young American citizens to not only gain valuable teaching experience but also spend between 6-9 months in France or in one of its overseas departments ("DOM"). It thus facilitates the mastery of the French language through linguistic immersion while allowing, at the same time, for a privileged insight into contemporary France.

Basically, I will be getting a stipend every month (which should be enough for survival) to act as a teaching assistant in a French school in the education academy of Versailles.

Clearly I'm excited. I mean, I have a countdown at the top of this page to the very second that my plane departs from Detroit Metro (like a plane would ever leave at the scheduled time anyway). But it's a good thing that I have a couple thousand hours until then because I have a lot of preparation to accomplish in a short amount of time.

Here's a picture of my shiny new luggage:

11 June 2009

And so it begins

I promised that I would create a blog to record my travels abroad (in Europe), and because I bought my plane ticket this week, I figure it's a decent time to start.

Current travel plans:

Leave for Paris from Detroit Metro. Layover in D.C.

Arrive in Paris

Fly to Berlin for 5 days

Return to Paris