As each soon-to-be-graduate prepares to walk across the stage and descend its stairs, diploma in hand, the fear of the unknown could be creeping slyly into their minds.
Kalee Hall, senior French and English double major, has experienced that same feeling.
Hall was recently accepted into a Teaching Assistant Program in France through the French government, which will take her to the Rouens region of France from the middle of September through the end of April 2016.
She applied in January after Jean Marie Walls, professor of language and departmental chair, approached her about the opportunity.
Hall said Walls, along with Victoria Malone, assistant professor of language and coordinator of the study abroad program, have prepared her for this experience by “instilling in each of their students the same love for the French culture and language that they possess.”
“They love what they do, and the students can see that. So it’s impossible for us not to share that same appreciation,” Hall said. “I think that is one of the things that has prepared me the most is knowing how much I do enjoy it.”
The goal of the assistantship program is to foster cultural exchange between the United States and France and give French speakers access to native English speakers in public school classrooms.
Hall will be an assistant, teaching English classes at up to three French high schools or middle schools, but will not find out her exact location until the summer.
While in France, she will spend 12 hours per week in the assistantship and plans to spend the rest of her time tutoring for extra money to travel.
Hall, who has studied abroad in France during her time at Union, said she was not able to travel to other European countries and looks forward to seeing more of Europe.
She added that she would never have been able to do this without the help of Walls and Malone.
“They’ve really pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and given me the resources and encouragement to do this,” she said.
In addition to her professors, Hall said her family has prepared her for this upcoming experience.
“They have always been encouraging of travel and experiencing new things, and they instilled the spirit of adventure in me.”
Hall said that along with the excitement she feels, she is also nervous and “a little scared.” However, she said this anxiousness is the kind that every soon-to-be-graduate feels.
“This is an unknown for me,” Hall said. “But I also feel like a lot of things are coming together and it’s evident how God was preparing me for all of this. I didn’t realize it all at the time, but now I understand.”
“I may not be prepared to do everything I have to do,” she added. “But I am certainly well-prepared to figure it out.”