FlipSide Face

by Emily SalbergStaff Writer

Stephanie Gaillard, a 25-year-old from Bordeaux, France, is making the most of her short time here at Simpson College as the new French Teaching Assistant.

“Language is so rich, so powerful,” Gaillard said. “I try to drive my students to understand its beauty. People of all cultures have so much to share, and language allows that.”

Gaillard was brought to Simpson through the Fullbright Scholar Program, which is a highly competitive government sponsored agency that provides financial assistance to send scholars and professionals to work and study in foreign countries. The company sends 800 people to over 140 countries each year, primarily for teaching or research purposes.

Sharon Wilkinson, associate professor of French, received four to five applications from the Fullbright Scholar Program that she then ranked according to preference and fit for the college. Gaillard had been her top choice among the applicants, and Wilkinson has said it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with her inside the classroom as well as out.

“Stephanie is very well trained as a teacher and a professional,” Wilkinson said. “She’s highly qualified with a Master’s degree in French as a Foreign Language and Linguistic Engineering. Having someone with a native language teaching in the classroom makes it very real for the students.”

Although the Simpson experience is new to Gaillard, being in the U.S. is not. Her first teaching experience abroad was spent at the University of Texas-Pan American for two semesters as a French teaching assistant. Gaillard has said she misses the beaches that were available to her in France and Texas, but the atmosphere at Simpson is wonderful.

“I love the big cities, but the small town and college life has allowed me to really get to know people,” Gaillard said. “The students all wear the Simpson logo on their clothes. We don’t do that in France, but the students here seem very proud of their school, and it’s contagious.”

After her two semesters at Simpson are finished, Gaillard plans to return home and teach French to foreigners at a private school called Alliance Francaise. She hasn’t completely ruled out returning to the US in the future.

“I love to travel and discover new things, so I would like to visit other countries as well, but this is the country of my dreams,” Gaillard said. “My father traveled here when I was young, and I can see myself eventually coming back to the US.”