Madison Chartier ’15 and Jill Gentry ’15 are the latest in a growing number of recent Butler alumni to receive awards to teach overseas.
Chartier will be heading to France as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. Gentry has been selected to teach in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange.
Since 2011, 11 Butler graduates have gone on to teach in other countries after graduation.
“Students who teach overseas gain invaluable cultural sensitivity, leadership, communication, and foreign language skills that will benefit them in any future career path,” said Rusty Jones, Director of Undergraduate Research and Prestigious Scholarships. “Furthermore, there is an immeasurable impact that they will have upon a foreign community, as well as when they return home and share the values and understanding that they developed while living abroad for a year.”
Here’s more about Chartier and Gentry.
As a double major in creative writing and French, and a participant in the Honors Program, Madison Chartier ’15 never found the time to study abroad.
She’ll be making up for that in a big way starting in October: Chartier has won a TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) award. She will be teaching English to French primary-school children at l’Académie de Versailles from October through April.
Chartier, who’s had a longtime interest in French culture, said this will be “a very good way to go to the country and actually experience the culture that I’ve only been able to study in a classroom context so far.”
Each year, over 1,100 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and several overseas departments through TAPIF. They’re paid a monthly stipend while they hone their teaching and language skills.
The award will also give Chartier an opportunity to decide whether she’d like to teach for a career. Although she taught at Butler’s Creative Writing Camp two summers ago and spent a semester as a Teaching Fellow in the English Department, working alongside a professor in a Perspectives in the Creative Arts course, she’s only recently become interested in teaching.
Chartier grew up in LaPorte, Indiana, and came to Butler through recommendations of friends. Although she had initially been hesitant to stay in state for college, a campus visit won her over.
“I loved the atmosphere of Butler, the small class sizes, the intimate spaces, the intimate conversations and discussions to promote learning,” she said.
She started in pharmacy, switched briefly to International Studies, then found creative writing and French.
After graduation, she plans to stay in Indianapolis and take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language class to prepare her for France.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s definitely a situation where I’m leaping off into the blue, so to speak, in the sense that I’ve never done anything like this before. But I guess this is the part that comes after graduation and moving on to the next step as an unsheltered individual.”
Jill Gentry ’15 double-majored in Political Science and Spanish. After graduation, she’ll put Spanish to use first: She has been selected to teach English in Madrid, Spain, through the Council of International Educational Exchange (CIEE).
“I knew that I wanted to take what I learned at Butler abroad, and I knew I could best do that in a Spanish-speaking country,” she said. “I also wanted to be able to not only keep up with my Spanish but immerse myself in a different community. I really wanted to be able to engage with many different kinds of people and throw myself into a new experience, one that was mutually beneficial, where I could offer the great skills and qualities I acquired here at Butler. So I saw this as the perfect opportunity.”
CIEE offers paid teaching positions in nine countries for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community. The goal is to give students, teachers, and young professionals from across the world skills “that make them active and responsible global citizens.”
Gentry said her first four weeks in Spain will be spent in an immersion program where she will live with a host family while she learns her way around and finds a place to live. She will be in Spain from September through May. It will be her first time there.
Gentry grew up in Anderson, Indiana. She and her identical twin sister, Jojo, started thinking about colleges around the time the Butler men’s basketball team was in the midst of its Final Four runs. They toured the Butler campus and made up their minds immediately.
“We both could not have been more blessed to have the experience we’ve had here,” she said.
After graduation, Jojo goes off to Evansville, Indiana, to be a sports reporter for the CBS affiliate. When Jill returns from Spain, she is keeping her options open to a number of organizations, including the federal government and large law firms in Washington, D.C., where she spent the spring 2014 semester as part of the Washington Learning Program. In late March, she spent a week in D.C. interviewing for positions she’d like to have after Spain.
Eventually, she’d like to go to law school. But right now, “what I look forward to most,” she said, “is getting to know a lot of the locals, finding out what they love most about Spain, and learning about that.”