About a week ago, I submitted my TAPIF application, and now I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I wait…until April.
TAPIF, which stands for Teaching Assistant Program in France, is pretty much the most solid—AKA only—life option I have lined up right now. Basically, I’d get to go back to France for 7 months, from October to April, and work for just 12 hours a week, in up to 3 schools. I’d be helping out in English classes in either elementary or secondary schools, and while I’d have to pay for my airfare, the program does provide a monthly stipend. It’s not much, but it’s livable.
While you can choose three different regions of France that you want to work in, placement isn’t guaranteed, and you can’t choose a specific city. My top choice was Strasbourg (Google it; it’s gorgeous), followed by Amiens (also pretty), and then Orléans-Tours (my Joan of Arc fangirl is showing, oops). In addition to filling out basic application stuff, I had to write a personal statement and obtain two letters of recommendation. I’m hoping my personal statement is okay—sadly, most of my experience with written French lies in academic papers, but I made the statement as honest as possible and tried to approach it from a unique angle. My professors said they wrote really good recommendations for me, so hopefully that’ll give me a leg up. (One of them actually emailed me their letter, and reading it was probably one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. I’m terrible with compliments.)
The thing is, despite everyone going, “Oh, you’re a French major? So do you want teach or interpret?” I don’t even know if I want to teach, much less if I’m cut out for it. I’ve only ever tutored, and tutoring and teaching are two completely different fields. My French professor, though, encouraged me to apply to TAPIF while I still fit within the 20-35 year old age requirement—and I figured it couldn’t hurt because 1) I could go back to France and 2) I need to do something with my life after I graduate. But if I get accepted into TAPIF, I think it’d be a good way to spend a gap year: learning, traveling, figuring out life in this capitalism hell, and deciding whether teaching is actually a good fit for me.
If I don’t get into TAPIF, then I have no idea what I’ll do with my life. Join Peace Corps, get TEFL certification, go to grad school, find an internship, secure a job…? Who knows? All I know is that, for now, I don’t want to set down roots. I blame studying abroad for awakening the wanderlust in my veins.