Étudier pendant un semestre à l’étranger, voyager à Cancun pendant les vacances de printemps, faire du bénévolat l’été entre des années à la fac. Jusque là, la tendance parmi les jeunes américains était de voyager pour des courtes durées, dans le cadre d’une expérience éducationnelle ou pour des simples détentes. Mais il y a de plus en plus de jeunes actifs et d’étudiants qui s’en fuient des États-Unis pour une durée indéterminée.
À la fin de leurs contrats en avril, les participants au programme TAPIF entrent tous dans une grosse période d’introspection. Après une année de rêve en France, ces jeunes doivent tout repenser de leurs avenirs.
Every language assistant, study abroad student, and (if you’re me in 2012) silly tourist on a four-day trip to Paris has a moment where they ask, “How can I stay here forever?” It’s a common thing, because life in France just seems so romantic…especially at the outset.
Seriously wanting to stay is a difficult impulse to satisfy, though; trying to find an answer is frustrating and can turn depressing pretty fast. You come across a bunch of blogs full of peoples’ pictures of their morning croissants, charming little French neighborhoods, and jaunts to Barcelona and Milan. These bloggers (myself included, up until this point at least) don’t even have the decency to explain how the hell they got to that “perfect” place!
Well, people tend to not explain their immigration stories because they’re not always 100% sure how they did it; it feels like luck (or was the result of marriage, which I’m not knocking, but you can’t just go get married). More typically, people don’t write it down because they haven’t actually figured out a forever plan for themselves.
It’s hard, for sure, but it’s not impossible! You have to really want it and be willing to make a series of (sometimes very lateral) moves before you find your long-term solution. With some realistic planning and stringing together a bunch of different experiences, you can find a way. Read on for real advice on how to become that expat person…ups and downs, uncertainties, and croissant Instagrams included.
Remembering it’s the little things that count, including this cup of coffee.
V. important, y’all. Visuals to help you pick out an exotic locale for your next vineyard trip, based on your chemical dependence on Sancerre/Bordeaux/Riesling, etc. Continue reading
TAPIF, or the Teaching Assistant Program in France, is something very near and dear to me. Directly and indirectly, it inspired 99% of what I write about here.
The program isn’t perfect, but I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities TAPIF has afforded me. In my opinion, there can never be enough first-hand accounts of the unique experience that teaching assistants have, so I’m hoping to add to the information that’s out there in an honest and complete way.
If you’re considering the program – or you’ve already applied and want to know what you’re really getting into – consider adding this post to you reading list. It’s a long one, but maybe it will answer the questions you have.
(Don’t mind the back of this girl’s head. I’m sure she’s lovely, though.)