By Sthefany Flores
The Gardner-Webb Department of World Languages has a new teaching assistant from France for the 2017-2018 school year.
Louise Verdelet, the new French TA, came to GWU on a scholarship from the Fulbright Program as a cultural ambassador. She explained that the program usually chooses 20 to 30 applicants from France through a matching algorithm and screening process comprised of test scores and letters of recommendation.
Verdelet said, “I was on holidays with my parents when I got the email from [Fulbright] and I thought it was going to be the email that confirms that I was rejected. But then I saw it said ‘we are pleased…’ I was shell-shocked!”
According to Verdelet, 37 candidates were chosen from France this year to be matched with schools abroad by Fulbright’s matching algorithm. Fulbright states that this process is assisted by “[the] 157 subsections of the National Screening Committee, composed of 457 senior faculty or field of study professionals.”
In France, Verdelet’s concentration of study was in history and geography. After her time at GWU, Verdelet plans to return to school for one more year in order to become a teacher in a “sensible zone” in France. She said that she had an internship in a high school in one of these zones before arriving in the United States.
Verdelet said, “In a sensible zone, 20 to 30 percent of students do not attend [school] on a daily basis because of problems at home.” She said that they were missing class because they have to take care of their siblings or other personal issues.
“In France we have the high idea that school is the place to learn how to become a part of society,” said Verdelet. I want to do that for kids that need guidance [or] that need to be shown that. Everywhere in France from preschool to high school, they all learn the same things. It is how we create equality in France… every adult should have the same base knowledge.”
For the year 2017, according to Verdelet, there were only 680 positions available as a history teacher in France. These seats are made available by a new school opening or the retirement of previous teachers.
Although Verdelet missed the 2017 admission into one of the 680 seats by a 6 percent score, she remains hopeful for future chances.
Verdelet can be found at the French Conversation Tables hosted at the Broad River Coffee House.