Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Dept. of French and Francophone Studies Students share their experiences with the TAPIF program

Dept. of French and Francophone Studies Students share their experiences with the TAPIF program

One of the many post-graduation opportunities available to French minors and majors is participation in the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) program. Students who are selected in the program are assigned to a primary or secondary school in France and serve as an English language-teaching assistant. We have an excellent placement record in this program and are pleased to share recent student experiences which testify to the many benefits, both personal and professional, of the program.

Annemarie Butkiewicz (French and Journalism major, ’15) has been assigned to the Académie d’Aix-Marseille for the 2015-2016 school year. She notes that one aspect of the program that attracts her is that she would like to use her French in a daily setting. She feels that “one of the really cool things about the program is that it’s mutually beneficial. I can share my knowledge of the English language and American culture while experiencing daily French life and meeting new people”. French minor Megan Romania (Philosophy, ’15) will also serve as a Teaching Assistant next year with the hope of improving her French. She indicated that the program is fulfilling other goals as well: ” I am also hoping to travel more while abroad and really see what France and Europe have to offer! I’ve considered completing graduate school and permanently moving to Europe, so traveling will really help me get a better idea of where I’d ultimately like to end up. I’m looking for an adventure, and TAPIF is part of this journey.”

Current 2014-2015 participants John Elkhoury (French ’14) and Paul Mcelhinny (History ’13 with a minor in French) both state that the program has been invaluable to them on a personal and professional level. John, who was placed at the Lycée Carriat in Bourg-en Bresse, writes “…TAPIF rocked my world. I gained the ability to adapt to a new environment, make new friends, and hone my French skills. I truly lived on my own and outside of any of my normal safety nets so it was nice to get by alone for a while”. Paul states that he gained a greater sense of purpose and confidence in himself while teaching at the primary level in Toulouse. “All in all”, he writes, “working and teaching in my three primary schools was a wonderful experience, both personally and professionally, that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. In the words of François Hollande, “La France n’est pas une nostalgie, la France est une chance et un avenir,” something which I most certainly found to be true for myself”. Paul will begin graduate studies in Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina in the fall.



Former Dept. of French and Francophone Studies Student Marshal Chris Tutolo (’13) taught in the Académie de Rouen in Lillebonne and found that he drew upon instruction he had received at Penn State while teaching his classes at the Lycée Guillaume le Conquérant as he used materials he learned in literature classes at Penn State “in order to shape the way I taught mine.” Chris is currently serving as the Responsable des programmes culturels at the Alliance française de Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Students interested in the TAPIF program will find more information about the program here. Please feel free to contact Dr. Heather McCoy ( with additional questions.

Published: May 20, 2015

Dept. of French and Francophone Studies Students share their experiences with the TAPIF program