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.

This is what happens when I'm too lazy to find stock photos
This is what happens when I’m too lazy to find stock photos

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!

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