In one short month I’ll be submitting my application for TAPIF which stands for Teaching Assistant Program in France. If accepted, I will be placed in a French public school as an English language assistant. I’m currently working on my application: crafting a personal statement in French, lining up recommendations, and uploading transcripts and personal documents. I’m also working towards my TEFL certification which will give me some training in language instruction, and therefore strengthen my application. Luckily, I have spent a good amount of time in France before, and I know several people who have done this program, so I feel like have a good idea of what I will be getting myself into.
Why do TAPIF?
People do TAPIF for an array of reasons. I have a friend who used it as gap year between finishing her undergrad and starting medical school. For me, honestly my main reason for applying is because I want to move to Europe. There, I said it. I also want to perfect my French, and I am indeed interested in teaching (particularly ESL) as a career option. This spring, I’ll be graduating with a degree in English Rhetoric and French language, and unsure of what I ultimately want to pursue as a career, I think TAPIF will offer me a year to contemplate grad school or possible career options while allowing me live in Europe, gain some work experience, and speak French. How could I NOT apply?
Who can do TAPIF?
You don’t have to be a French major for TAPIF to accept you. However, you must have at least a B1 level of French and be between the ages of 20 and 35. Experience with teaching or working with children is a plus as is having some sort of experience abroad.
Things to consider…
On the application, you can list your preference of teaching in an elementary school or teaching in either a middle or high school. I can see pros and cons to both scenarios, so I plan to put “no preference.”
The application also has you list preferences in terms of location. I know I need to be flexible, but I’m currently obsessed with the idea of living in Montpellier (south central France). You can list three preferences, but the academies are divided into different groups, so you must pick one from each list. Also, it should be noted that the academies are named after the biggest city in the area, but assistants can be placed ANYWHERE. Therefore, I’m trying to list my preferences in terms of the whole region. You also can list your preference of large or small city. I’m definitely going to put large city out of the fear of being stuck in some tiny town with limited public transport.
So far I’ve narrowed my preferences down to: Group A: Rouen, Caen, or Clermont-Ferrand, Group B: Bordeaux or Strasbourg, and Group C: Montpellier. What do you think I should choose? Let me know!