Sunday, 7 July 2013

Accepted to TAPIF... now what?!

Most of you should know by now if you've been accepted. CONGRATULATIONS to all those that have! I'm sure you've been spending most of your time daydreaming about your life in France... baguettes and cheese and wine. But, there's a few things you have to do before you get there. I've written a post already about the timeline and the administrative steps of the program, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail about the little things that didn't make it in that post. 

Read as much as possible about the program: This is important. Try to have a rough idea of how everything works and what you need to do when you arrive in France. The more you prepare and read before you leave the more comfortable you'll be and the more realistic your expectations. The assistants I've seen have the most trouble are the ones who didn't know what they were getting themselves into and expected to be helped every step along the way. That will not happen in France!

Get in contact with your main teacher: Ask questions about housing so you can sort out your living situation. If you're lucky enough to get housing provided for you this means that you can arrive later and breath a sigh of relief. If you don't have housing then ask your teacher if she can look for you or start to ask around. If they can get the ball rolling at least a little, it will be a major help.

Find housing websites/look at housing: It's not necessary to have somewhere to live before you get there, but at least have a rough idea about how much rent should be and maybe in what part of the region you would like to live. If you want, get to know other assitants who you may want to share an apartment with.

Paperwork: photocopy all your important documents. Have already photocopied pages of your passport, working visa and your birth certificate. Before leaving home, have a general idea of what different french bodies might ask from you and start to compile them. Have as much of your paperwork organised before you come, so you only have to do the things you can only do in France. *TIP!*: bring envelopes with you and passport sized photos of yourself, so you already have them and don't need to go searching for them.

Save!: Bring as much money with you as you can! Especially in the beginning, there are a lot of upfront costs with finding housing and going out and meeting new people, as well as things you may need for your new apartment. Rest on the assumption that you won't be paid for at least a month and you should be fine.

For the most part, the salary should be adequate enough to live on and do some travelling on, but try not to put yourself in the position where you can't afford to do anything. Yes, you're in France to work, but you also want to experience everything it has to offer, so bring some money with you to do that. You might not even need your savings, but don't put yourself in the position where you have no choice. You're only here for 7 months so take full advantage! Work your butts off now and reap all the rewards in France and on your european travelling adventures!

Is there anything you really want to know the answer to and think I can help? 
Please leave a comment on this post and I'll put them all together in my next post!


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