One year abroad forty-five years ago was the turning point in my life. It turned me internationally and I have never stopped turning. It led me into a career as a French teacher and later as a German teacher as well. I could never get enough of the cross-cultural experiences, personally or as an educator. So here I am still teaching abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer English teacher in China for two years: 2011-2012.
The excitement and the thrill of becoming bilingual as a college junior was a feeling I wanted to prolong. So becoming a language teacher seemed the way to continue enjoying this. Just a couple of years later I found myself living in Freiburg, Germany for 18 months and adding German proficiency to this experience. After a hiatus of 19 years, I was finally able to dive into a double teaching position for French and German and I had met my match. I was out of touch however with the current state of affairs in Europe so I began to re-educate myself by engaging in frequent and regular trips as well as exchanges in both countries.
In order to keep the French and German programs at Patrick Henry High School strong, I established partnerships with schools in both Düsseldorf, Germany and Solesmes, France. Eventually I was awarded two Fulbright Teacher Exchanges in Germany: 2003-2004 in Michelstadt and 2007-2008 in Münster. While teaching English and French in Michelstadt I organized a week-long student trip to Strasbourg as part of a school project. This enabled me to revisit the city of my youth, 38 years later; this time as an educator and mentor.
While in Strasbourg the first time, I learned much of my French from a German student who spoke French like a native-speaker. We have recently reconnected due to the marvels of the internet and I look forward to returning to Europe to visit with her once again.