Yesterday, I announced that next month I am moving to France! But, if you’re anything like my parents, you have at least a thousand questions. I’ve tried to compile all the questions people have asked me here:
What are you going to do there?
I was accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) in the Academie d’Aix-Marseille. I have three collèges (middle schools) in the south of France where I will be serving as an English language assistant–holding conversations with the kids, coming up with lesson plans and showing them what American culture is like. Yes, there will be prom pictures.
Are you going to live in Paris?
Nope! Though Paris is still close to my heart and I desperately hope to live there again (it was, after all, the reason I started this blog in the first place), I wouldn’t be able to afford living there on my assistant salary (which is why I decided not to apply for it right out of college). I am going to be moving to Aix-en-Provence, so expect lots of pictures of lavender, markets, and wide, tree-lined streets. Excuse me while I swoon now.
So you are fluent in French, right?
No. I was close when I was living in Paris, but I’ve never been fluent (though with a couple glasses of wine I’m not bad)! I am really hoping that spending seven months there will help me jump that barrier.
Your work contract is only 12 hours a week?! What are you doing the rest of the time?
When I applied, it was because I didn’t feel like I was fully utilizing and cultivating my passions. I plan to write, blog, take pictures, study cultures by being in them, travel, and try to wean myself off of Netflix to get to sleep at night. Please send any book recommendations my way, too, please. I’m working on a master list before I leave.
How are you going to survive on such a tight budget?
This is going to take a lot of self discipline on my part. In quitting my job and moving, I’m cutting my salary by more than half of what I make now, so J. Crew may not see my credit card for quite some time. Thankfully, the French government regulates the cost of baguettes.
I want to go to France, too. Can I do something similar?
Yes! TAPIF accepts applications every year beginning in the middle of October, with a deadline usually in January. You need to be a native English speaker and be at least on an intermediate French level, which you can prove by taking a test at the Alliance Francaise or by having a reference attest to your skills. Otherwise I found the application similar to applying for college. Make sure you have an awesome essay, stellar recommendations, and follow all the requirements. Then–like most things in France–get ready to wait!
What are your favorite blogs about TAPIF?
Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. If it weren’t for bloggers and friends who have previously done TAPIF I would be 100x more anxious and infinitely more stressed. They have given me guidance through the application process, figuring out where to live, what to do with my cell phone, and just generally help me understand that bureaucracy is a hurdle but everything will work out eventually.
These are some of my favorites:
IE Languages (AWESOME resource for dealing with paperwork)
Are you scared?
Sometimes, yeah. I’ll wake up with anxiety attacks about money and language and loneliness and homelessness and a whole trove of other worries possible when you drop everything to move to a foreign country. But–the pangs of excitement and tears of joy make it well worth it, and assure me that I am making the best possible decision for myself right now. ♦
Do you have more questions? Feel free to ask me in the comments!