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Friday, July 28, 2017

Ali Young: My year in France

Ali Young participated in the 2014-2015 Deauville Teaching Assistant Program.  She currently serves on the Lexington-Deauville Committee.

My Year in France

Moving to Deauville changed my life. I was on my own, living in a foreign country at the age of 22. And, I was in charge of large groups of 2nd and 3rd graders five days a week. I had no idea what to expect, but the people of Deauville welcomed me with open arms. I was invited to homes for dinner, impromptu hikes, and even salsa lessons.

I enjoyed the beauty of Deauville and the Calvados region while still being able to travel throughout Europe. I had once in a lifetime opportunities like attending the American Film Festival in the presence of Helen Mirren and Will Ferrell. I walked to the beach every day from the house furnished by the city. After a long day of teaching, I could always go there to relax.

Teaching was a different story entirely. Relaxation is nonexistent in the world of teachers. Every day, the students seemed to have been filled with more energy than the day before. They were curious and bright, surprising me with their retention of what I had taught them after only a few weeks. I was also able to lead after school activities based on almost any subject. I was able to lead the 1st graders in an "under the sea" series of activities which included a field trip to the beach and a giant mural for the wall of my classroom. Even further after school, when the kids had completed their homework, I got to take part in soccer matches and very competitive Uno games with the 5th graders.

Deauville increased my love of France and the French culture. The Normandy region has retained a part of my heart, and I hope to return someday with my family. I will always be connected, just as I hope our cities will continue to be.

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