GTI Leadership Council member Leeann Meyer graduated from NC State University with degrees in Psychology and French Language and Literature. She was also the valedictorian of the class of 2014. Leeann has been a part of the International Cultural Leadership Project since it first started in January 2011. She calls her role with the ICLP a “definitive” part of her time here at NC State and remains good friends with a number of the international students she met through the program.
Leeann will be working with the Teaching Assistant Program in France where she will be teaching elementary school students English as a second language. She will be working at schools in the southern part of France in or around Marseilles. She will spend 7 months teaching in France and has mixed feelings about spending such an extended period of time away from home.
“When I read the email, it was bittersweet, kind of like graduation,” she said. “I think in the long term, it’s going to change my life. I’m so lucky to have been selected.”
Leeann ultimately wants to be a pediatric nurse, so this temporary teaching opportunity provides a nice break between graduating from NC State with two degrees and continuing her education in nursing school when she returns from France.
“I have the rest of my life to work,” she said. “It’s basically a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Leeann didn’t get the chance to study abroad during her undergraduate years at NC State because she double-majored, but she’s visited France before and is a self-proclaimed Francophile.
“I’ve been in love with France,” she said, describing the posters of the Eiffel Tower that decorate her wall. “It’s kind of like a dream come true.”
Leeann said her experience in the ICLP, first as a volunteer then as part of the Leadership Council, has helped her prepare for her extended stay in France. She has friends from the SKEMA Business School that she can visit while she’s in Europe and ask them for help and advice. She also helped lead workshops about dealing with cross-cultural differences and bridging those gaps.
“I know how to work with people who are different from me,” she said. “Being part of the ICLP has allowed me to see the differences, be aware them, and provide a great foundation to do well in France.”
She recognizes the cultural adjustments she’ll have to make while she’s in France, but there are some that will be easier than others.
“You know what I’m really worried about? They don’t wear sweatpants in France, and that’s a staple for me,” she said. “I’m going to have to go shopping.”
Leeann was one of more than 2100 students who have participated in the ICLP. To learn more about the program or to apply to be a volunteer, visit the ICLP website.