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Teaching English Abroad in France through the TAPIF Program

For many teachers of English abroad, France ranks among the top destinations. This may be because of its cities’ vibrant atmosphere or its picturesque countryside, but what really attracts tourists and long-term travellers to this charming European country is a mix of elegance and friendliness that runs across France, from top to bottom.

To paraphrase the great Ernest Hemingway, Paris should be experienced from a young age, to allow it to settle in your heart and never leave you, wherever you may go. But this could be said for the whole of France, not just for its capital city.

If Hemingway was right, who could resist the allure of this country? And what better way to explore it and experience French culture than to live and work there as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL)?

The TAPIF Program

The TAPIF Program isn’t your typical teaching gig—it’s a passport to jump in head first without parachute into French culture. This program is specifically designed for American citizens who are independent and truly motivated, because it’s not all croissants and café au lait. Living abroad throws some curveballs like paperwork headaches, language hurdles, and culture shocks.

With this program, you’re looking at a modest monthly stipend of under 790 € for a 12-hour teaching week, with plenty of downtime to explore, but it doesn’t subsidize travel costs and accommodation.

So, who is the TAPIF program suitable for? It’s ideal for individuals who enjoy teaching, are comfortable working with young people. As language assistants, successful applicants will have the opportunity to experience teaching firsthand in some best TAPIF programs in primary and high schools across various regions of France, including its overseas territories like French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion.

The Requirements

TAPIF represents the American arm of the broader Programme des Assistants de Langue en France overseen by FEI. Graduates of TAPIF often venture into diverse career paths globally and may access scholarships for further studies at the MA and PhD levels.

In order to be considered for this program, there are some requirements that you must meet.

Your age must be between 20 and 35 and you must be either a citizen or a permanent resident in the United States. An exception can be made for those who hold a US Green Card, depending on their country of origin. Unfortunately, you’re not eligible if your nationality is French or French-American.

Furthermore, English must be your first language, meaning that you must have completed most of your  elementary, secondary, and university years in the United States.

It is necessary that you are proficient in French in all skills at a B1 level – which corresponds to an intermediate level. This is based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

In terms of education, you must have completed at least three years of post-secondary studies by the  beginning of the TAPIF program to be able to apply.

If you match all the requirements above, you need to submit a personal statement written in French as well as a letter of recommendation as evidence of your French proficiency, attitude, and work ethic. Ideally, the letter of recommendation should come from a French professor who has assessed your language skills. Alternatively, your test results from official French language tests , such as TCF, TEF, and DELF/DALF, can be submitted.

Previous teaching experience can be an advantage, as you already know what to expect, but it’s not a necessary requirement for your TAPIF application. What’s really important, however, is your ability to adapt to new environments as well as a keen interest in education and international cultures. Moreover, patience, sensitivity, and understanding are personal traits that go a long way.

Applications are accepted from the middle of October to the middle of January, and the outcome of your application will be communicated in April. The TAPIF program allows to apply for other programs, such as the US Fulbright ETA, at the same time.

Are You Feeling the French Vibes?

The American chef, author, and TV personality Julia Child said about France that she “loved the people, the food, the lay of the land, the civilized atmosphere, and the generous pace of life.” Why would you not move there? Even more so with the advantages and opportunities that a program like TAPIF can offer you.

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