I move to France in three days. Holy smokes and great Scott! I am freaking out, and only most of that is in a good way. (I’m a chronic over-packer who is horribly ashamed of over-packing. It’s a recipe for stress).
I am going to teach in a high school in Brittany. To make money to live in France. I really hope no one tells them that I would not only do this for free, I would probably pay to do it.
So how did this happen?
Seriously, could someone tell me how this happened?
What I did: Around this time last year, the application opened for the Teaching Assistant Program In France, or TAPIF. For about the first year that I obsessively talked about it, my entire family thought I was calling it Trapeze, which is not the same, although trapeze sounds like a lot of fun. I need to work on enunciation before I go try to open a French bank account.
At any rate, the program is a federally run and offers teaching assistant positions for foreigners in French elementary through high schools. It will allow me to work part time and earn a living wage with heath care benefits (Yay, socialism!)
The requirements for Americans are a minimum of three years of higher education, proven French proficiency, age between 20 and 30 years, etc. (All detailed in the link). There are a couple things that allegedly make applicants more desirable, like previous experience teaching/working with children and prior experience living abroad, although for the record, I didn’t have either of those working for me.
There are also English-language teaching assistants from the UK and Australia, as well as Germany, Italy, and Spain, but I don’t know the specifics on those. Because research? Meh.
The application was as intensive as my college applications: Personal statement in French, an assortment of scanned documents, a lengthy application, and two references. My references said that the recommendation was a form to fill out ranking the applicant on a scale of one to five. One of those references can be a college-level French professor to vouch for language proficiency, but lacking that, there is a testing option to prove language ability.
After waiting and emails and emails and the visa process and packing and more emails, now I move to France! If I don’t dissolve into a puddle of panic between now and Tuesday. Please, sweet baby Jesus Harvey Christ, may my suitcases be as light as the nearly empty bottle of shampoo in the shower that I will not pack. Even if it’s wasteful to throw it away, and I might need it. Self control!