Office of University Communications & Marketing

University of North Alabama Student Selected for France’s TAPIF Program

May. 24, 2019



Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256-606-2033 or 256-765-4392 

FLORENCE, AL – Molly Ratcliff, a recent University of North Alabama graduate with a degree in communications and a minor in French, has been selected to participate in France’s Teaching Assistantship Program, or TAPIF. Ratliff joins more than 1,000 applicants from the United States who will teach English in a variety of cities throughout France. The TAPIF program is part of the country’s Assistants de langue in France program that places 4,500 applicants from 60 countries each year so that they may teach 15 languages. 

Ratliff will be in Limoges, France, where she will teach for seven months. Among the reasons she applied for the program was the opportunity to continue honing her French-language skills. 

“I set a goal to speak and write fluently in French,” Ratliff said. “TAPIF allows me to live and work in France as I continue to work toward fluency.” 

She said that taking advantage of UNA’s Study Abroad program helped her become a competitive candidate for TAPIF. “I was lucky to study in Vichy, France, and Hasselt, Belgium. I experienced fighting through homesickness, making friends despite language barriers, navigating foreign supermarkets, and embracing cultural exploration as a lifestyle,” she said. 

While on campus, Ratliff facilitated the “Language Barriers” event, which required international and domestic students to find ways to communicate through their language differences. While in France, she wants to create a similar event and use aspects of theater to encourage students to express themselves creatively in the classroom.” 

Dr. Stephanie Coker, an assistant professor of Modern Foreign Languages, including French, at UNA, said that Ratliff’s time in France will be invaluable. 

“With this experience, Molly will certainly increase her proficiency in French,” Coker said. “Nothing can compare with being immersed in the language and culture for seven months. Even the daily interactions, like taking the bus and shopping, which may seem small, help increase comprehension and fluency.” 

Further, Coker said TAPIF is a perfect fit for Ratliff. 

“Molly has empathy for her peers because she knows from personal experience how challenging it can be to learn a foreign language,” Coker said. 

Chairwoman of the Department, Dr. Claudia Vance, said that, by studying another language, other opportunities become available. 

“Proficiency in another language builds bridges of meaningful communication and understanding across cultures,” she said. “Employers look for individuals who have the ability to interact with diverse groups of people.” 

Dr. Matthew Price, Director of Premier National and International Awards, assisted Ratliff through the application process. He said that she embodies the qualities of a successful TAPIF applicant in that “Molly seeks out cultural exchange wherever she is. She is a natural ambassador and someone who believes that, by learning languages and traveling abroad, one becomes a better citizen. TAPIF chose wisely when they picked Molly.” 

Ratliff, for her part, already envisions herself in France. 

“I’m already envisioning Saturday markets filled with regional wine and cheeses and weekend trips to La Cote d’Azur,” she said. 

For those interested in majoring or minoring in French, contact the Department of Foreign Languages. For details regarding the TAPIF program and application process, contact Dr. Price at mprice2@una.edu. 

About The University of North Alabama 

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professionals. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/