Sunday, April 09, 2006

English Assistantship in France

English Assistantship in France

This program, offered through the French National Education Ministry, is really quite a gem. It is somewhat disorganized - so don't expect to figure out where you're going to be placed, or if you have the job, or what it's going to entail, as soon as you would like. Things do work out though, and despite the disorganization, this is one of the only easy ways to get a work visa for a 6,7, or 9 month work contract in France. You get paid (not much but kinda enough) and you get real experience standing in front of a classroom teaching - if that's what you want (9 month contract), or you can just help out (7 month contract), or you can end up doing almost nothing like my roommate (6 month contract). Plus, you can't help but gain some fluency in French.

Anyway, all in all I have had a wonderful experience. Everything went very smoothly. I found a great apartment, good roommate, and some friends. I have a wonderful school with intelligent, interested, hard-working students with whom I've seen great results and had a great time. The teachers have been supportive, the director (principal) helpful, and the 'supervisors' completely negligent (which is just the way I like it).

If you want someone to hold your hand - do not do this program. You come here all alone. You are really not well prepared. The people here, who maybe are or maybe are not supposed to meet you, are as uncertain of what's going on as you are - and you are likely to be left to your own devices to work your way through the bureaucratic jungle which is the French government - a difficult task I assure you.

But, if you want to have a great opportunity and are up for the challenge - this is well worth the pains. I work 12 hours a week in the south of France - and the rest of the time I can do as I want. I live a twenty minute walk from the mediterranean so I sunbathe a lot, go to the markets, go sit in a cafe. It's not exactly luxury living - I get some government aid for my housing (160 a month), since I don't get paid much - 740 euro a month - but actually between those two things, and some tutoring and babysitting, I make enough to live off of with the occassional couple hundred dollars thrown in from my dad every few months.

If you have any questions on it feel free to make a comment - I'll tell you all you need to know.


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