All posts filed under: Preparations

Blog Update: TAPIF Timeline!

So, here’s the truth: that tangled web of French bureaucracy people go on about…didn’t seem to ensnare me very effectively, In fact, I had a fairly tame run-in with the infamous institution: my CAF subsidy came on time, I even got my carte vitale right after Christmas! So, even though I’m sure it was just beginner’s luck and nothing at all having to do with skill, I wanted to share my TAPIF timeline: when I booked my tickets, when I found an apartment, when I submitted important documents and how long the various processes all took. If you have more specific questions about anything, ASK in the comments and I will do my best to respond!!! And remember, my experiences won’t mirror yours: my experiences didn’t mirror the other assistants in my town, even when we went together to submit the exact same documents to the same people at the same time! I’m definitely not an expert, but I figure at the very least maybe this will put your mind at ease by giving you a modicum of an …

The Waiting Game: making it through the long summer before TAPIF

April 1st, 2015: I woke up in the morning to a text from my friend Giulia: Attention aux poissons sur ton dos! I arrived at school and every child had a little paper fish on their desk that they “sneakily” tried to tape on people’s backs. In France, April Fool’s Day is Poisson d’Avril, and these fish are part of the practical joke tradition. Later, I heard about a teacher who tried to trick her kindergarteners into doing worksheets meant for 5th grade, another who spent an hour teaching his class Chinese, as a “new school initiative”, and another who announced a fake pop quiz. We decorated fish during art class!

So you think you can TAPIF?

With TAPIF applications in the US due in the next few days, I am sure many hopefuls will be curiously Google searching tips and advice, much as I was 12 months ago… So, I thought I’d throw in my two cents. Step One: Strategize. Take a moment to examine your strengths and weaknesses as a TAPIF candidate and try to tailor your application accordingly. This is standard advice for any type of application, and most definitely applies here as well! For example, I did not major in French, so I didn’t have a ton of French classes on my transcript nor a spectacular level of French comprehension (the requirement is B1). However, I do have a fair amount of education/childcare experience from working at summer camp, tutoring, teaching drama classes, etc. So, I chose to especially highlight these experiences in my personal statement and CV, and even had my second recommendation written by a colleague from camp. Step Two: The main application form. Choosing a Region: Above all, know that TAPIF will absolutely require patience …

Almost Useful

**I am slowly but surely posting my way through the past few weeks…hopefully I will catch up this week and then I can start posting in the present tense! October 1st was the first day of our contracts as assistants. The académie de Grenoble required all 260-some assistants to come to the city of Grenoble for a two day stage, or orientation. The Chambéry assistants all met at the train station early in the morning for the approximately 45 minute train journey, which was exciting because it was the first time all the Chambéry assistants were all together….at least most of us… The day I arrived in Chambéry, I met up with a fellow American named Kevin. In the nearly two weeks after that fateful meeting, I remained the ONLY person to have met Kevin in person. When I would meet up with other assistants, they would ask after him since they recognized his name from the Facebook group, but no one else had EVER seen him. Obviously, this led to a lot of jokes about how …

All Aboard!

Well, I’m leaving tomorrow. I am ready, at least I think I am. I’ve done everything that I can to try to inform myself about what to expect without forming too many preconceptions. I’ve filled out all the necessary pre-departure paper work. I have photocopied every piece of paper that I own and done at least MOST of the items on my DC To-Do List. I’ve completed every task on the  checklist (well, nearly everything…), I’ve packed as many of my most favorite possessions as possible into not nearly enough luggage and I’ve hugged all of my friends. I still have so many questions…where will I live?! being first and foremost. Even though I know that renting an apartment, opening a bank account, and all those other fun post-arrival tasks are nearly impossible to do from abroad, I’m starting to feel like I’ve been irresponsible. Like I’ve been using that as an excuse to put off figuring them out. I know I am going to need to lean on the other assistants and the helpful Chambériens, …

One Month: A Countdown

So, dear readers, I have now crossed the one-month threshold. One month until I return to France. One month until I leave DC. One Month. I still have a lot of things to accomplish in the next 4 weeks. The last week of camp, including my middle schoolers’ public performance of the musical we’ve been working so hard on for the past month, Honk! jr. Helping my sister move to Chicago. Figuring out plans for my arrival in Paris. Calling AT&T to ask about options for suspending my plan. Unpacking. Repacking. Savoring DC and my friends while I can! That last task on the list is the subject of today’s post. While I count down the days until I leave, I’ve also compiled a list of all the things I want to (try) to do before leaving on a jet plane. I love DC. Despite all of its crazy problems, I really do love it. I’ve lived 5 minutes away from DC for my whole life and worked there for many summers, but I feel like …