“Don’t worry, I won’t think you’re a creeper.”
This is a post on how I decided to run away to France, again. And how you should “like” my new facebook page.
Last year I studied in Bordeaux, France. It was my junior year at UC Berkeley, and it was time for a change of pace. You may have followed me here at Nika Likes Maps where I talked about cultural stuff as I tried to figure my life out. Don’t we all?
So, what’s the deal with TAPIF?
When I got back to the US, I knew I wanted to go back to France. Five months was good, but it was not enough. So I did what any other 20-something-year-old would do. I began to seek answers with The Google. Within a week of being back from Bordeaux, I came across Allison Lounes’s site called Paris Unraveled which is inundated with useful resources for those trying to live in France—anything from apartment hunting to getting a degree there, to life tips. And it’s there that I first heard about TAPIF.
TAPIF seemed like a good opportunity to go back to France. You teach English in schools, get paid enough to live off of (no, you’re not going to live in glamour), you work only 12 hours a week, and get 5 weeks of paid vacation. Generally you are responsible for your own rent and transportation.
I was in. I was so in.
So in my last year of college, I prepared myself by tutoring English on the side.
The application opens up in October, and you have until January to submit your essay, transcript and letter of recommendation. You get to choose three regions, but you may be placed in any one of them. The problem was the wait. I have stalked quite a few bloggers who have done TAPIF in the past, and all were saying that the wait is a pain. You submit your application in January then in April you find out if you’re accepted and in which region (I hear about ½ the applicants get accepted, and that it’s becoming more and more competitive). The regions are large, and you don’t know which city or school you will be working in until well into the summer. So yes, the wait is a pain. But I was still in.
I wanted to go back to Bordeaux, so I chose that region. But it’s a huge one. Finally in July, I found out that I will be working in the city, where I lived before. Woohoo!
While you wait, you should be getting your documents together. You apply for a long-stay working visa specifically for language assistants. You make a visa appointment at the consulate, come in with all the necessary documents and get your passport back with your visa a few weeks later. And of course you’d be saving up money and checking in on plane tickets prices.
You also need to get an apostille for your birth certificate. This is basically proof for the French government that your birth certificate is legitimate. You also need to get that translated into French. In my case, I have to get an apostille for my Azerbaijani birth certificate, and gotta deal with some other annoying guidelines. But for the most part, it should not be an issue. And you get instructions from TAPIF detailing what you should be doing and by when.
So there you have it. A non-intensive overview of the program. As of today, I have my visa and my plane tickets. No apartment yet. I am getting ready to leave in a month and will be sharing all the yummy stuff I can find. In the meantime, I also started a facebook page not to piss people off on my personal facebook. So “like” it if you’re awesome and follow me on a new adventure. Don’t worry, I won’t think you’re a creeper.