TAPIF Guide: English Language Assistants in France

Part 1: The Application | Acceptance E-Mail | Waiting
Part 2: Figuring out your Arrêté de Nomination | Obtaining your Visa
Part 3: Packing & Bringing Money | Arriving: The Paperwork Nightmare
Part 4: Teaching Tips & Lesson Plans | Vacations: Travelling
Part 5: Before Leaving France | Staying in France: Renewing, PACSing, Unemployment


General Information

If you'd like to skip ahead to the page of useful documents and links, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at ielanguages [at] gmail.com. This page refers to the American application process of the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF)., so if you are not American, your country will have different procedures, deadlines and contact people. Please keep in mind that the assistantship program has changed a lot since I was an assistant, so some of this information may be outdated and I may not be able to answer your questions. Unfortunately, the assistantsinfrance.com forums are no longer online, but many assistants have been using the official TAPIF Facebook page to ask questions. There is also an alumni of TAPIF group where many French-speaking jobs are posted.

I started writing this guide in May 2006 when I learned that I’d be teaching English at the secondary level in the académie of Grenoble (city of Annecy) for 7 months through the French Embassy of the United States. This is a chronological journal of my experience beginning with the application process. If you are interested in teaching English in France, please visit the French Culture Website for the current application for American citizens. The application is available in October and the deadline is in January. About 1,500 positions are available each year.

In order to qualify for this program, you must:

You will spend 7 months in France (or the overseas départements) teaching English 12 hours a week and you will receive a salary of about 800 € a month (after health insurance is taken out) if you are placed in mainland France or Corsica, about 1,000 € if you are placed in Martinique, Guadeloupe, or French Guiana, and about 1,200 € if you are placed in La Réunion. The higher salaries for the DOM-TOMs are to offset the high cost of living, but note that assistants in Paris do not receive a higher salary.

I would recommend doing this program while you are still a student in college, especially if you are under 25, because there are so many discounts for young people in Europe. But if you do wait until you graduate, you can try to defer your student loans until you get back. You will need to talk to the financial aid office at your university about this, but you may qualify for an Economic Hardship Deferment if you can prove that you make less than a certain amount.

This program is also open to native speakers of English from several countries – however, the number of positions for each country varies greatly. The qualifications and requirements may be different for each country as well, so if you are not American, check with your local French Embassy. Below are links to the assistant specific pages for the other anglophone countries as well as the approximate number of positions available.

Citizens of South AfricaTrinidad & Tobago, and Barbados are also eligible, but I could not find any pages on the assistantship program on the embassy websites. The official CIEP site has applications for these countries, but the deadline dates are not specified.

There are also official teaching assistant programs for Americans to teach English in Spain and Austria as well as through the Fulbright Program. There are several programs for UK residents to teach English in various countries through the British Council.

Things to Know

Moving to France for almost a year is quite an experience. This program is a great way to spend time in France without having to work or study full time (and get paid to be there!) However, there are a lot of things about this program that you should know before you apply and accept your position, especially if you're not an EU citizen.

Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to this program, but I do believe this is the best way to live abroad and I am glad I decided to do it.

All EU citizens, except those with Croatian citizenship, have full working rights in France. If you are an EU citizen, or have dual nationality with an EU state, then you do not need to obtain a visa in order to enter France legally and you do not need to register with the Office of Immigration once you are in France. In short, life in France will be very easy for you!


Go on to Part 1: The Application & Acceptance E-Mail



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