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 Post subject: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:00 am 
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Has anyone else participated in this program? I'm graduating with a double major, but I feel like I'm leaning towards a career that utilizes my French major. I have teaching experience, yet I'm not sure if that is the career for me. Although the program pays very little, it such an amazing opportunity to teach and live abroad that I just can't pass it up. Plus it would be a good amount of time to get an idea of where I want to take my life.
I guess I'm merely curious if anyone has had any good/bad experiences with this or any other similar teaching assistant program.


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:07 am 
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No but you should totally do this. Internships/apprenticeships/assistantships are AWESOME. And in France? GO.

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:45 am 
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Kale Wreath
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DO IT!!

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:17 am 
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Go!
France is a beautiful, diverse country and Europe will be on your doorstep - not to mention that France has the best food markets I've ever seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:39 am 
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That sounds awesome! I'd love to do it on one of the islands.

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:49 am 
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I say do it.

I've heard this is a good site to learn about teaching abroad:
http://www.eslcafe.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:59 am 
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I did a law degree in Paris and the two years I spent there were the happiest of my life. I would do it in a heart beat, because it will give you experiences you won't be able to get here. And when you're there, really make sure you travel a lot and indulge.

So I say, do it!

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:10 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
And when you're there, really make sure you travel a lot and indulge.


I wish I had done that while here in Denmark, and gone to Sweden & Norway or even the north coast. While I'm happy I don't have to take out loans --- I'm a little sad that I didn't get to explore more here.

Er. So as not to totally derail this thread: Tofulish is right. You'll get such amazing experience, not only from work, but also just from being there. Especially if you already speak the language.

Tofulish: Can you tell us some more about studying law (at the Sorbonne?)? "Intense" probably doesn't begin to do it justice.

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:59 am 
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I did this program for a year. It's a great program-they give you a visa, everything you need, and a solid stipend, and you get a ton of time off for the never-ending French Catholic holidays. I really recommend this. One thing to know is that you will likely not get the region you request (almost no one gets Paris), and you really can get stuck in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. You also usually have to arrange housing too. I was lucky as I'd already been living there for awhile, and so was placed just east of Paris, and I had an apartment, but I know some people had trouble with location/housing. You also have the option to renew your post for another year. There is another teaching assistantship program through Fulbright that is really great too. My three years in Paris were the highlight of my life so far--and this job gives you a lot of free time to explore and travel. I emphatically recommend it.

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Do it! I am in total support of low-paying jobs that result in awesome life experiences.


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:59 pm 
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Thanks for the support everyone! I never really had any doubts about applying because if I have a chance to travel, I'm there no questions asked. I'm already studying abroad this coming spring in Cannes and hope to become semi-fluent. J'adore la France.

So, molasses jane, did you have a lot of teaching experience going in? What age group did you teach and how did it go? I haven't taught since a high school mission trip to Belize so I'm a little worried about that part. I really want to get assigned to Paris but the realistic side of me knows it will be too expensive. And, as you said, it's difficult to get in that program. Honestly, I just want to be in a large-ish city, but I'm not sure if that's likely?


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:07 pm 
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i haven't done it but a peace corps friend of mine did and she had only the best things to say about her experiences. Doooo eeet.


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching Assistantship in France
PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:23 am 
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Amelie wrote:
Thanks for the support everyone! I never really had any doubts about applying because if I have a chance to travel, I'm there no questions asked. I'm already studying abroad this coming spring in Cannes and hope to become semi-fluent. J'adore la France.

So, molasses jane, did you have a lot of teaching experience going in? What age group did you teach and how did it go? I haven't taught since a high school mission trip to Belize so I'm a little worried about that part. I really want to get assigned to Paris but the realistic side of me knows it will be too expensive. And, as you said, it's difficult to get in that program. Honestly, I just want to be in a large-ish city, but I'm not sure if that's likely?


Amelie, you will is almost 100% likeliness not get assigned to Paris. Those spots are reserved for people teaching through university exchanges, or people who already live in Paris. You should be prepared that you most likely will get assigned somewhere small--this is simply the reality of this program. You can request cities--Rennes, Aix/Avignon, Nice, Lyon---if you want to be in an urban space, request some of these, but again the chances are slim that you will get where you request. But France is easy to get around and you will have tons of time to travel, so don't worry you will get to visit Paris, and probably frequently. Also note that some states (I know Connecticut is one, and there are others) have reciprocity agreements, where students from those states are sent to particular regions of France, so you want to check on that.

I taught high school and postgrad, but I was an advanced grad. student when I did this and had taught undergrads for several years. You can request what age group you like-usually people with less experience work with the grade school kids. I don't know what the likelihood is that you will get one of these posts--the competition levels have gone up sharply due to the lack of jobs for college grads, but you should definitely apply. You can always not accept the assignment if you change your plans.

I will be frank that I had a less than positive experience with my school--the head mistress was really awful, and we got in a fight when I didn't want to talk about Christmas in the classroom; this was during the Bush/Kerry election, and I didn't like the idea of promoting America as Christian, so I suggested I discuss different religious/cultural winter holidays with my students, and then she accused me of promoting "my Jewish agenda" and told me that the other holidays were religious, but Christmas was cultural. It was insane. But I had some fellow teachers who were my friends, and I muddled through, and spent most of time not at that job so it wasn't too bad. Some people have great experiences, some don't. France's educational system is vastly different than ours, and in my situation it was difficult because the only person I could report my experience to was the head mistress herself. Everything was fraught because this was during the height of the first veil law controversy. In these TA-ships you become an ambassador for all things American, which is party fun, partly a nightmare when you don't agree with mainstream Americana. All that said, I would do it again in a proverbial heart beat. Just to get to live there is such a marvelous experience.

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