10 Reasons to TAPIF

The Teaching Assistant Program in France, or TAPIF, is sponsored by the French government and is probably the easiest way for a young American professional or post-graduate student to get a work visa in France.

I’m two months into my stay and I am having an amazing experience, so I will be the first to strongly recommend the program.

Consider applying for TAPIF (applications for next year are due in January) if you:

1) are desperately Francophile, or European-phile, or Nutella-phile. Or love wine-tastings. Etc, etc.

2) just graduated at 22 with a liberal arts degree and want to find out if teaching is your thing; just graduated with a teaching degree at 25 and want an international experience before hitting the American classrooms; or are looking to change careers at 30 and need a transition year (I know assistants in all three categories).

3) want time to dedicate to finding a graduate school, studying, exploring Europe, or another project; in which case working 12-15 hours per week with a three-day weekend (or in the case of a British pal, four days) for about 750 euros per month sounds like a good deal.

4) want to hear the most adorable English ever (like when my 12-year-old student trying to find the past tense of “to teach” blurted out “tauched????” or my group of 17-year-olds who can’t seem to differentiate between the long “e” sound in “sheet” and the short “i” sound in…. you know what I mean.

5) want to hear about French politicians making the most adorable English mistakes ever (the president signing a congratulatory letter to Barack Obama with the closing salutation, “Friendly, François Hollande,” or right-wing leader François Fillon recently creating a parliament group called “Rassemblement-Union pour un Mouvement Populaire” whose acronym “RUMP” has created a media buzz.)

6) want an ego boost, which could happen when half of a class develops a crush on you on the first day (I am not being full of myself here; almost all of the other assistants I know, male and female, had similar experiences). Or you want to be a celebrity in some small way (the kids love to yell out “Hello, how are you?” or “I love America!” and then giggle shyly when you pass them in the halls).

7) want to improve your French: Despite teaching 12-15 hours of English classes per week, it is very possible to immerse yourself in the language. Of course I study on my own, go out on the town or to the movies, watch television, and hang out with French friends, but even at school I’m constantly surrounded by French. In the middle school, I conduct about 50% or more of the classes in French and colleagues speak French with me 99% of the time (even the English teachers). French teachers allow me to sit in on their classes (free lessons!). And of course I grab the free newspaper 20Minutes at the train station every morning to read during the commute…

8) you want a free French work visa (normally they cost over $100).

9) you’ve always wanted to live in a cozy French village, or in the middle of a big city. Chances are you will not be placed directly in a big city, but with the excellent regional train systems, you will most likely be able to commute if the countryside is not your thing.

10) you meet the short list of requirements on the TAPIF website: http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/teach-in-france/prospective-applicant

In my own experience, the program was well-organized (I received all necessary paperwork on time and the school was helpful in guiding me through it all).

Here are some websites and blogs that could be helpful:

An interview with The Local: http://www.thelocal.fr/20130507/its-a-great-foot-in-the-door-in-france

From the French government:

http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/teach-in-france/prospective-applicant

http://www.ciep.fr/en/assistantetr/

Blogs and advice from former and current assistants:

http://christopherquotidien.wordpress.com/category/tapif/

http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/how-to-teach-abroad-as-an-assistant-in-france/

http://brefi-ouioui.blogspot.fr/2011/04/accepted.html

http://www.ielanguages.com/assistant1.html

http://vinpainetopera.wordpress.com/2012/09/

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17 Responses to 10 Reasons to TAPIF

  1. Great reasons! Check check check… I’m the career-change seeking late 20s individual looking for some new experiences, but I’m glad to see that there are those like me in the program 🙂 I hope the very best for you too! Bonne chance!

  2. Pingback: Waiting Game – How To Pass Time ( TAPIF/ CIEP) « Jackie Goes To France

  3. kikasaurus says:

    I vey recently discovered the TAPIF, and though I have to wait until October to apply for NEXT year, I am trying to discover all I can. Please let me know if you have any more tips!

  4. m.adams says:

    so I’m doing something similar in Spain and have decided to move on to France for next year. my application is due in a few days and I’m contemplating where to put for my top choices. any suggestions?

    • Alsace is wonderful!
      Just kidding. It is wonderful but where you should go is based on your own preferences/personality/likes/dislikes. For example, if you don’t like cloudy and cold weather, don’t put Lille or Alsace or anything in the north! Choose Aix-en-Provence or anywhere in the south. If you like the outdoors, choose cities that have easy access to the beautiful surrounding countryside (Dijon and Alsace come to mind). For more city adventure and an energetic atmosphere, I recommend the Toulouse, Lille or Paris regions. I purposely chose wine regions because I knew that I knew I would want to tour some wine routes, and a border region for easy access to other European countries. Basically, think about your interests, weather, city vs. country life, and also if you know anyone in certain cities- it always helps to have some friends already “set up” before you come. I hope that was helpful… Best of luck to you!

  5. I adore this list! I remember seeing this like a year back and realized I matched many and probably should apply. Fast forward to today: I’m leaving for France to be a teaching assistant in Clermont Ferrand in just a few short days!!! Not sure how that happened. Anyway, so glad I came across your blog again, great read 🙂

    • Hi! Thanks so much for checking out my blog 🙂
      I’m so glad it helped you decide to apply and even more glad that you got in! Best of luck with your stay and don’t hesitate if you ever have questions. Enjoy!

  6. eeaugust says:

    Great information on here. Only working around 12 hours a week, how did you fill your time? I’m one of those people who needs a lot on their plate to feel happy. So I’m unsure I would like working so little!

    • Hi,
      If you live in the city, there is plenty to do. Travelling is the best idea- day trips and week-end getaways in the region filled a lot of my time (bring some savings, since your TAPIF salary won’t cover much of that). Other ideas: French and language classes. Or join clubs and groups, not just for the activities, but for the French! I suggested in my article A Subjective but Useful Guide to TAPIF (https://littlemissfrenchified.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/a-subjective-but-useful-guide-to-tapif/) some websites for finding running/sport partners. Check out the public libraries, which often have free book clubs, French as a second language game nights, visiting authors, conferences, art exhibits, etc. Church groups also offer a variety of options. With you visa, you also have the right to work on the side up to 20 hours, I believe, if your school authorizes it so take advantage of that money-making opportunity if you don’t have anything else to do! Opportunities for native English speakers abound.

  7. weird is the new normal says:

    I just got accepted to teach this upcoming year with the TAPIF program and after reading this post I’m even more convinced it’s the right choice for me!

  8. Katy says:

    Reading your blog makes me so excited to participate in the TAPIF program!
    I have a question that I’m not sure you’ll know the answer to: I took a look at the handbook and it said that any absences would need to be justified and would result in a decreased salary for that month. Do you have a sense of what would be a justifiable absence?
    For my specific case, I’ve also been accepted to an all expenses paid teaching conference in Taiwan that would require me to miss 2 days of my TAPIF position. Do you think they would be accommodating for this type of opportunity if they were informed before the start of my contract?

    • Hi! Thanks for reading! And congratulations on your acceptance! A justifiable absence is anything that can be proven with a medical certificate, or in your case, a signed and stamped paper saying you were at your conference in Taiwan. I would tell your “responsable” in advance and they will probably accommodate. Try just deduct your hourly pay for each hour you miss, but in my case, they let me make up the hours, so ask about that too! Good luck!

  9. Katy says:

    PS I also sent you a facebook message since I didn’t know if I subscribed to the comments, so don’t worry about answering that 😛

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