A cultural exchange

Zach Burnett, a Furman University senior from Frankfort, Ky., has been awarded an assistantship to teach English and American culture in primary and secondary schools in the Aix-Marseille region of France.

The Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) is a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

The program’s goal is to strengthen English language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence, while also building American teaching skills and providing first-hand knowledge of French language and culture.

Burnett, an Economics and French major at Furman, studied abroad with the Furman Versailles program in fall 2012, and interned in the finance department of a French sailboat manufacturer in summer 2013. The internship was made possible through the Furman Advantage Program, which provides stipends for students to pursue career and research interests beyond the classroom.

Commenting on outcomes for the program, Burnett says, “I would like my students to have more confidence in their abilities to understand and communicate in English . . . I hope to be a source of positive reinforcement and encouragement.” He says he also aims to “spark” an interest in cultural exchange and a lasting appreciation for American and other cultures.

For now and through the summer, Burnett will continue his internship working in financial planning with Northwestern Mutual. His seven-month assistantship in Aix-Marseille begins in October. Following his time in France, Burnett says he looks forward to a career which combines his international experience, love of foreign language, and interest in economics and finance.