May 4, 2011 — Two New College of Florida students will travel to France next year under a teaching assistantship grant awarded by the French government. Christopher Hanks, of Seffner, Fla., will teach in Guyane (French Guiana) and Tess Somerville, of Newport, R.I., will teach in Provence, France, in the area of Aix-Marseille. Fifteen New College of Florida students have been awarded the French Government Teaching Assistantships since 2000.

Somerville, whose areas of concentration at New College are French and English, has been studying French for 11 years. While in France, Somerville plans to develop her fluency in Spanish as well.

“I want to continue learning Spanish while I’m there,” said Somerville. “I would like to come back to the U.S., get my teaching certificate and hopefully teach Spanish in elementary schools.”

Hanks hopes to learn Portuguese during his time in Guyane, in addition to furthering his fluency in French. With an area of concentration in international area studies, Hanks has his sights on a career in international business and hospitality management.

The Teaching Assistant Program in France is a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services Department of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. Each year, nearly 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach for seven to nine months in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4153 or email

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