Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Paris bound

Heather Hanson ’12 wins a French Government Teaching Assistantship.

French culture, steeped in tradition, fascinates Heather Hanson '12, who spent her junior year in Paris and Nice, France. After graduation, she will return to spend the next year in the Teaching Assistant Program sponsored by the French Ministry of Education.

The French Studies major and Education minor has won a French Government Teaching Assistantship, and she will be teaching English to secondary school students at the Académie de Paris.

"I am excited by the opportunity to teach about American culture and in return learn from my French students," said Hanson, who intends to pursue a career in education when she returns to the U.S."The French language is my passion, and I plan to share my experiences abroad with my future American students when I return to the United States."

The native of Darien, Conn., says that she is particularly fascinated with the intertwining of French fashion and history with its culture.

"Appearance is a critical part of the French way of life, even to the detail of how one cuts Camembert cheese," she said. "France’s artistic and architectural beauty reflects its culture, which dates back hundreds of years.

"Paris has a rich history – the Haussmann buildings, the bouquinistes along the Seine, the museums and the magnificent churches all tell stories about France’s past," she said.

In addition to her familiarity with French language and culture, Hanson also has developed her skills as a teacher. "Currently I am student teaching French at Norton High School," she said. "I love seeing my students’ faces light up once they finally grasp a concept, and I love seeing their passion for French growing as I am teaching them."

Hanson credits Wheaton with helping her to build the skills to overcome challenges, "I have learned the life lesson that one can never give up, even if you hit a roadblock," she said. "Perseverance is the key."