If you do not know by now, I am a list kind of gal: bucket lists, to-do lists, brainstorming lists, grocery lists (ha!)—they help to keep my brain on track and keep me motivated to reach my goals (not to mention, I find great satisfaction in crossing things off my various lists after they have been completed).
In that same vein, I decided to make a list of goals for my upcoming year in Clamecy. Most of them are rather broad, but I hope the broadness of each goal will allow me to adjust my focus within each goal as time goes on.
Goal #1: Improve my French
This may seem like a redundant goal, given that my French is bound to improve over the next eight months living in a small town, but it is my goal nonetheless. I want to be intentional about speaking French as often as possible while in Clamecy. Speaking has always been my weakest arena in language learning because I tend to think too much about what I want to say before I say it. A perfectionist by nature, I have lived with the idea that my French needs to be 100% perfect if I am going to speak it. Henceforth, I want to challenge myself to throw out this mentality. Improvements will only come through practice, in which making mistakes is inevitable. I might as well make the mistakes now, learn from them, and come out a stronger French-language-learner on the other side. In this arena, I know I need to read French books, watch French movies and TV programs, listen intently, and ask questions about the things I do not understand to improve my French as much as possible.
Goal #2: Become a member of the community
There is no beating around the bush: Clamecy is a small community. While some people may see this as a curse (no nightlife, stores are not open at convenient times, not much to do on the weekends), I want to embrace it. I hope that by the end of my stay, I am seen as a member of the community, not just a temporary visitor. I understand that this is much easier said than done, but I hope to get involved in clubs, sports teams, tutoring jobs, language groups—whatever is available and sounds interesting to me. I am shy and introverted, but I want to challenge myself not to be afraid to put myself out there. Being uncomfortable for a short amount of time in a new situation will be worth it if it means I have activities to look forward to throughout the week.
Goal #3: Travel, travel, travel
This is another one of those obvious goals, especially given the creation of my ‘Travel Bucket List’, but still an important one. This will be my first time abroad and I want to travel as much as I can (within my financial means, of course). I hope to travel both independently and with friends while checking off as many places on the bucket list as possible. Kaitlin Versus Le Monde wrote a stellar blog post about traveling independently—I encourage you to check it out! It helped to re-affirm my thoughts and anxieties about traveling while providing me with inspiration to go explore everything this beautiful planet has to offer!
Goal #4. Practice good self-care
Practicing good self-care is always a goal of mine. However, I know it will be extra important to take good care of myself amid all the changes and stress that moving across the ocean (!!) entails. I plan on keeping up with what I do now: running, working out, and eating healthy, good food (that’s not to say I won’t enjoy a visit to a local pâtisserie from time to time—a pain au chocolat is always good for the soul!). In addition, a big part of self-care for me is staying in touch with my faith. I understand that religion can be a touchy subject in France, but I really hope to find a church or group I can be a part of in order to help sustain that part of my life.
Goal #5. Learning teaching
Given that my ultimate professional goal is to teach at the university level, this position through TAPIF will serve as a wonderful and unique first step in the process of learning how to be an effective and influential teacher. Given that I have no formal or traditional teaching education, I am confident that over the course of the next eight months, I will gain skills and knowledge on how to work with students effectively, the very basics of lesson planning, and gain confidence being in front of a group of students. A sub-goal I have in this arena is to receive my TESOL Certificate! I started an online course through Coursera and Arizona State University a few days ago and I already feel like I’ve learned a lot. I learned about this program through another TAPIF blog (if I can find the post, I’ll link it here)—if you, like me, do not have any teaching experience but are eager get your feet wet in the material, it is a good option to look in to!
Goal #6. The future
Like many recent college graduates, I am fairly uncertain about what the future holds for me both academically and professionally speaking. I hope that over the course of the next eight months, I will gain some insight into what the future holds for me and where I am meant to be. Will I start my MSW program next fall? Will I apply to renew my contract? Will I fall in love in France and never leave (kidding…but only a little)? I’m not sure. Only time will tell.
And there we have it—my goals for TAPIF. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in over the upcoming months to see my progress in reaching these goals!
Until next time,