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TAPIF/Teaching Assistant in France. Anyone done it?

TAPIF/Teaching Assistant in France. Anyone done it?

Old Apr 8th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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TAPIF/Teaching Assistant in France. Anyone done it?

Our soon to graduate French major daughter was accepted in the TAPIF for the fall, helping teach English to elementary age kids. My reaction ping pongs between "Yay!" and "Too far away!"

In the south, which sounds pretty nice to me for a winter seven month. Unknown yet whether village, city, or town.

Have you or yours done this? How did it turn out?
stokebailey is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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hi stoke,

neither of our kids did this, but loads of UK students who are studying one language or another spend the third year or their degree course in that country, doing just this, so it is a well-established route. could you/she find out who has done this before and have a talk to them/their parents?

of course they are not generally as far away from home as your DD would be. when will you find out where she is likely to be? [BTW, the south of France is not necessarily warm in winter!].
annhig is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Hi, Stokebailey

I actually did this but so long ago now (40+ years!) that I don't know how my experience might differ from your daughter's. Nevertheless, I say "go for it!" I learned more French in that one year than the four previous in college. I met some wonderful people and had a great time. And I gained a lot of confidence, not only in my ability to speak French, but also my ability to take care of myself.

A lot will depend on where they send her. (I assume from your post that she will have no choice.) I was very lucky to be sent to Albi, a smallish town in southwest France not far from Toulouse. It was small enough that I could walk wherever I wanted but big enough to have several cafés, restaurants, and other amenities. It was easy to meet other young people there and make friends. And there was bus and train service to Toulouse. If I'd been in a big city or a tiny village I might not have enjoyed it as much. I hope your daughter is lucky enough to be in a similar place.

Her living arrangements will also have some influence on how comfortable she feels. If she lives with a family it could be a great experience... or not. I had a room in one of the schools where I taught. It was tiny, of course, but I managed and enjoyed the independence.

But wherever she goes and whatever her circumstances, it will be a great learning experience and confidence-booster. She is very fortunate to have this opportunity. For me it was a life-changing experience.

Do come back and let us know when you learn more about where she will be, what living arrangements she will have, etc.

To your daughter, félicitations!
Betty1 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Well, not the same exactly, but friends daughter went to France as an au pair and lived in a small town south of Paris, she had a wonderful 18 months..the family vacationed in Italy and Germany and took her, and she had weekends off and visited Paris many times. She also really learned how to speak french. She was only 18, so thinking your daughter is probaly even a bit older. I read alot of posts by people who then decide to "vacation" in Europe to visit their kids studying abroad, what a great excuse to see some wonderful places as well as your child.
justineparis is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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OK - I'm confused. This is a woman who is about to graduate from college. Why ever would she not take advantage of this opportunity? (Unless she has selected another career path and I would do it even then.)

And what does it have to do with her parents?
nytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Hi, Ann. Thank You! I think they tell her in another month or so, after everyone accepts or declines the offer. I would love to hear about the latest adventures of your hatchlings, too.

So glad to hear about that, Betty1. What a great opportunity. I really appreciate your reply.

Justinep, I'd think your friends' daughter would need to be even braver to take on living as an au pair far from home. I admire her for doing that.

nyt, this has to do with me approximately what most of my time on fodors does: vicarious living. Others travel and I stay chained to my job and mortgage. If I can further unconfuse you, let me know.
stokebailey is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2012, 03:30 PM
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It turns out there's a forum called assitantsinfrance.com (motto: We're Assistants. In France.) where current and future TAPIF persons can share their questions and concerns, or advice and suggestions.

The stipend is apparently adequate for the less pricey areas of France, if living in modest student style.

I first heard of this program on fodors, then passed it on to my daughter, which is why I'm willing to risk parenting style rebukes to call it to others' attention.
stokebailey is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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hi again, stoke,

I well understand your desire to assist your DD - it is not just children who may get a bit lairy about going to live 1000s of miles from home for a year or so. and doubtless you will be called upon to assist with the logistics, and to help if, heaven forfend, things go wrong.

which is why parents, whilst not necessarily having a say, may have an opinion!

the website looks like a good idea - i hope it helps both of you!
annhig is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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I did it - what can I say though, there are good things and bad things. Much depends on the area and school you get placed in. I got zero contact from my "contact person" before turning up - the contact person had changed and instead of forwarding my emails, the old one just ignored them, great. So I had to turn up and deal with finding an apartment and all the rest of it with no help really, and I certainly wasn't the only one in this situation. But then I've heard about other people being met at the airport or if you're lucky (usually in a small town) being provided with free or very cheap accommodation at the school. There are so many variables, I've known people who loved it and hated it, personally I just say go for it either way, but obviously I don't know anything about you or your daughter! The forums mentioned are a good starting point for all your questions.
gwan is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Thank you, Ann! You are a treasure on this boards.

Hi, Gwan. Thank you. Too bad about your useless contact person; that would make a huge difference.
stokebailey is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2012, 12:03 AM
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I've not been yet but I'm going this fall. I've spent the past year teaching in Korea though, so living abroad is nothing new for me. She'll be fine! It's an awesome opportunity
kayling05 is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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oh, fun, kayling! You'll be in France, then? Are you familiar with http://www.assistantsinfrance.com/forums/index.php

My daughter will be in the Aix-Marseille Académie, and I agree it sounds like a great opportunity! Would love to hear about your experience, or if you blog.
stokebailey is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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OP asked "Have you or yours done this? How did it turn out?"

Some genius posted "And what does it have to do with her parents?"

stokebailey, sorry you have to deal with crap like this. Clearly that poster didn't read any portion of your OP, or they would have known that it was a done deal, she's going to France. Some people come here only to throw barbs.

It does give me confidence that my decision to never visit New York due to the attitude of many who live there is right on track.
apersuader65 is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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Stoke - thanks for posting the link to the assistantsinfrance website. My stepdaughter is likely to be studying in France next year, so this will be a help to her. (And of course, we're already planning our trips to visit - I'm sure she'll be thrilled! )

apersuader65 - while I agree re: the comment about parents, I wouldn't write off all of New York due to one comment on Fodors. As others have noted in posts here, if you're looking for it, you'll likely find it - whether that means Parisians who are rude to Americans or New Yorkers who are brusque & rude. But with an open mind, you'll find an amazing city and a diverse and interesting group of inhabitants!
dunia123 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2015, 04:36 AM
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My daughter did it about five years ago. She asked for, and got, Paris as her location. She had already done a semester in Paris as an undergrad (and one in London) so she was used to living abroad. I think it was her favorite year, she just loved it. She made some great friendships (most were others in the program, mostly from the UK). The stipend was just barely enough so she got a part time job babysitting a couple little girls who had lived for a year in the US and whose parents wanted them to be able to keep up with their English. And I had an excuse to take two trips to France that year to visit her.

My daughter had been out of college for two years when she did the program so she was used to living on her own. She rented an apartment with two French women about her age, neither of which were in the program, they had 'regular' jobs. Most of her friends from the program also rented apartments or rooms, I don't know of any who stayed with families, but maybe in smaller towns that's more common.

apersuader65 - while NYtraveler's comment on this post was unnecessary, she often has good advice. And your comment that you 'would never visit NY' is probably ten times worse in my mind than NYtraveler's was. Talk about small minded and uninformed.
isabel is offline  
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