Tuesday, 5 June 2012

How do I choose my Académie/Region for TAPIF?

I know a lot of you out there are thinking about applying for TAPIF or are currently putting together your application and are wondering "What académies/regions should I pick?"

What you need to remember is that you're not guaranteed to be placed in the biggest city in your region or even the region itself. Having said that, you can still improve your chances of getting what you want by choosing wisely and hoping everything falls in place!

For me, choosing my regions was the hardest part of the application, but never fear! Look below for five awesome tips that I'm sure will help you to make a decision!

TAPIF académies

1. Do I want to live in the city or the country?
If you want to improve your chances of being in or around the city choose regions that are smaller in size so that your chances of being far from the city are less likely. Regions like Strasbourg, Lille and Rouen are good bets. If being in the country or being in smaller villages is more your thing choose large regions like Orléans-Tours, Clermont-Ferrand and Poitiers which carry higher chances of being placed in smaller villages away from the big city in the region.

2. Do I want to travel?
If you love to travel like I do, choosing a region that is close to other countries you would like to visit and well-connected in terms of trains, buses and airplanes is important. Big cities within France such as Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille and Lille are good hubs from which you can travel abroad. Some regions are close to other countries, making it possible to take little trips on weekends without too much hassle.

For example:
  • Lille is only 80-90 minutes away from London, 60 minutes from Paris, Brugge and Brussels.
  • Strasbourg is only a little over 2 hours from Paris, 3 hours to Munich, Germany and Bern, Switzerland.
Overall, you should be pretty well connected no matter what region you live in, but if you would like to make the most of your time in France on weekends and not just on holidays, choose regions that are close to other cities you would like to visit!

3. What type of weather do I like?
Some people are summer lovers, others are winter lovers, so depending on your preference this should probably factor into your decision. If cold weather doesn't bother you choose regions in the North. If the sun is where you want to be, choose regions further South that have a mediterranean climate with more milder/warmer temperatures.

4. Money, money money!
As I'm sure you all know the teaching assistant salary is not going to make you Bill Gates, so choosing a region that's not heavy on the wallet will be a major consideration for a lot of you. If you're low on funds stay away from big cities like Paris and those in the South (Marseille, Nice, Montpellier) where living costs are high. Choose smaller, more quaint regions like Caen, Rouen and Rennes where living costs are more affordable. Overseas French territories like Guadeloupe, Réunion, Martinique and Guyane attract higher salaries which is something some of you might like to keep in mind.

5. How good is my French?
If a major priority for you is to improve your French then stay away from big cities where English is more widely spoken. Better language acquisition will happen in smaller cities and villages. By the same token, if your French is a little weak then stick to bigger cities where you will be less challenged and might be able to get away with less French.

I hope this guide helps you to decide where in France you want to live!


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