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Départ de Nishita, assistante de langue en anglais

It is now almost 6 months from the day I packed my bags and said my goodbyes to family and friends to leave for the adventure of a lifetime. When I sit to think about it, I’m still sometimes shocked by how it has felt so long, yet at the same time, passed me by like a breeze.

During this time I’ve been asked several times why I chose to come to Épinal, and every time I’ve replied truthfully that I didn’t—but added with equal honesty that I quite like the town. My early google searches on Épinal delighted the social scientist in me, as I learned it was the city of Émile Durkheim. Of course I have since realised that Durkheim didn’t really spend any of his productive years here, and I have yet to find any signs of Épinal celebrating the spirit of his work—apart from naming the local hospital after him. Nonetheless, in its charming juxtapositions with city life, and all the beautiful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting here, I’ve found countless reasons to adore the capital of the Vosges.

My time with the students and teachers at the Lycée Claude Gellée has been enjoyable, to say the least. Here I’ve been able to have fascinating conversations with many bright students, and at times watch them stumble through the seeming arbitrariness of English grammar. Often, hearing their innocent mistakes makes me chuckle, as it makes me think of all the same mistakes I must make while speaking French. I have loved watching the nuances of language come to light as we sometimes struggle to articulate our thoughts in each other’s languages, and reach through the distance between cultures.

Finally, this experience has imbued me with a new appreciation for my own culture. I have missed aspects of my city and country that I didn’t know I would. Yet, going back to it is a bittersweet feeling. The recent crisis in the world is impeding on a lot of my plans to say goodbye to Épinal and the lovely people I’ve met here. However, in a way this has only made sure that I will have to come back soon.