YSU Senior Says Au Revoir to Ohio

By Courtney Hibler

Receiving an internship is an important opportunity for many college students, and at Youngstown State University, an anthropology senior landed the internship of her dreams.

Sierra Braddy, also a French tutor on campus, is minoring in French and recently applied to the Teaching Assistant Program in France, an internship allowing American students to be inside of the French school system.

“I learned about this program through my French advisor and two of my TAPIF assistants I met during a study abroad program I took part in last spring semester,” she said. “I lived in Lyon, France.”

During her first experience in France, Braddy interned at a high school as an English teacher, and said seeing the positive reaction her students had about America inspired her to apply for the TAPIF internship and travel back to France.

“It’s always a humbling experience when your students are genuinely excited and interested about what you’re teaching them,” she said. “Plus, traveling has always been an escape for me, and I’m looking forward to being able to teach French students how to speak English.”

Rachel Faerber-Ovaska, part-time French and German instructor, as well as Braddy’s French advisor, said this is an amazing accomplishment for Braddy.

“When I heard she was accepted for the internship tears came to my eyes, and there were goosebumps on my arms,” she said. “Usually these internships go for French majors, and with Sierra having this as a minor, she made the most of her opportunities.”

In Faerber-Ovaska’s opinion, the internship is a valuable experience and shows great intelligence for future career endeavors.

“It’s a signal to future employers that a person has great intercultural competence as well as a very high level of foreign language proficiency,” she said. “If it had been an option for me when I was younger, I would have leapt at the chance to do it.”

Adrienne Donzella, a YSU alumna with a bachelor’s degree in French, received the same opportunity as Braddy and enjoyed her experience.

“The internship forced me to push myself and become more innovative and resourceful,” she said. “Without knowing anyone, I flew to the south of France and lived in a remote village where virtually no one spoke English. I learned an astronomical amount about the world, other cultures, systems, societies and myself.”

Braddy said depending on the school she will be placed in, the work week could be up to 12 hours and will hopefully give her plenty of time to travel, explore and sleep.

“I believe this program allows the perfect gap year before jumping into your preferred profession or further schooling,” she said.

She encourages other students thinking about applying to take that leap of faith and send in an application.

“You just never know the outcome until you try,” she said. “If you have questions or are hesitant to apply, seek out the correct people to talk to and they’ll help out.”

Faerber-Ovaska said this internship will allow others to open their eyes, while looking back on their own culture to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses objectively.

“It will be a great experience for Sierra, and I hope she is able to create a vlog of her travels so that we here at YSU can follow her adventures,” she said.

Photo by Tanner Mondok/The Jambar