Getting Back to France After Studying Abroad
So you're a university student and you've just returned home from your magical semester abroad in France!
Whether it was bustling Paris, hip Lyon, peaceful Aix, or somewhere else entirely, I'm sure by now you're just itching to get back someway, somehow!
This post will cover different ideas for how to come back to France after graduating from university if your semester abroad just wasn't enough time in the magical country of France!
Tips for Coming Back to France After Study-Abroad:
1. Weigh your options.
For those wanting to take a gap year after university, there are a ton of options for living abroad - including working with a family as an au pair, or teaching English as a teaching assistant through the TAPIF program. Look into all of your options, and see which choice is right for you!
2. Keep learning in French.
Take advantage of your last semesters of university by signing up for another French course! Chances are, if you've just returned from studying in France, you'll already have basic French down! So why not sign up for a higher-level conversation course or even a French literature course? As with many things but especially with language skills: USE IT OR LOSE IT!
3. Find a French person and make a new friend!
If you don't just know of any French people living where you live now, take advantage of your university's study-abroad office. More often than not, there are always international students spending their semester or year abroad at your school. See if there is an event calendar for international students that is open to other students. I'm sure international students would be delighted to get to know you - just get out there and be bold!
4. Preparation is KEY.
If you're anything like me, my favorite form of procrastination after returning home from studying abroad was poring over every single TAPIF blog I could get my hands on (I'm lookin' at you, Dana!). This is a great form of preparation for you, if you start putting things in motion. Some things to keep in mind for your eventual TAPIF education:
- Application essay - your letter of motivation (in French!) as to why you want to come live and teach English in France and what types of experiences you've had that would make you a good fit. Why not start writing this essay while your French study-abroad life is still très fresh in your mind? At the very least, it will give you something to fondly look back on...
- Letters of recommendations - guys, let's face it. Tracking down those letters of recommendation from our favorite college professors becomes so freaking hard after graduating. Word to the wise, start really honing in on those professor connections so that when you get closer to graduation, you can just swing by the office (or email inbox) and explain that you'll be wanting to teach in France, etc, and you need this letter of recommendation, etc. That, OR - you can stay in touch with a professor from your French study abroad program and have them write the letter for you (sometimes a bonus)! The key is to stay in contact, with your professors so as to really nurture those organic relationships.
5. Get some ESL tutoring experience.
This is another one of those things when it's SO nice to have that university connection and someone to point you in the right direction of whatever you need to find. Most universities have resources to help students find outside volunteer ESL tutoring opportunities, tutoring opportunities in disadvantaged school districts, etc. Take advantage of this!! If you can add onto your future TAPIF application that you have ample experience with tutoring English as a second language - you have such an advantage over the competition! And you'll get a feel for how teaching or tutoring English really is for you! I'd say that's a win-win!
6. Stay in the know.
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