TAPIF is a great (and legal!) way to work in France for seven months. Being a lectrice is even better, with a two-year contract. However, contracts only designate assistants to work 12 hours per week, and lecteurs only 200-300 hours per year. Assistants are only paid about 790€ per month, where as lecteurs are paid about 1227€ per month. If you live frugally, and bring extra savings, it’s entirely possible to live a comfortable lifestyle. However, for Americans who have student loans and love to travel (like myself), these low salaries just do not cut it.
Technically, assistants and lecteurs are allowed to work second jobs, but you do need approved permission from the Prefecture. Below, here are a few ideas and guidelines for finding extra work in France.
- Private Tutoring- This is how I made all of my extra money in France– under the table, un-taxed, tutoring money. This is the easiest way to go, especially because you don’t need official permission! I used various networking sources to find tutoring jobs in Lille, Valenciennes and Toulon. In Valenciennes, the person I replaced left my number and email (with my permission, of course), with eight different families, creating about 12 extra tutoring hours for me. Once I moved to Lille for my second year as a lectrice, I networked with people on the Facebook page to pass along my old families and well as get in touch with new ones. Finally, many of my friends simply advertised their services on sites such as leboncoin.
- Babysitting or Au Pairing- Like tutoring, many times you can find families who need child care on Wednesdays, nights, and weekends. Sometimes, you can even negotiate rent or housing, depending on where you live! Many families post on Assistant Facebook pages. For example, Americans in France and Assistants Considering Masters in France are two great Facebook groups to join, because many other expats either post to pass along families or to find willing people to employ! If you’re more into au pairing, try Aupairworld.
- Work as a vacataire or in a private language school- A vacataire is a French word for a person who works at a school, but does not have a contract (ie: Teaching one class at a university). There is TONS of work out there for English teachers, but you almost always have to already have working papers in place. Contact your local universities or go directly to the Rectorat for information regarding vacataire positions– they pay really well, even if you are not paid right away. Other options include private language schools such as Berlitz and Inlingua. If you’d rather work with kids, and live in a city, check around private language schools- Excelangues, Petits Bilingues, etc. During my assistant year in Toulon, I did extra hours at Playschool Toulon, which helped fund my travels! You will normally need permission from the Prefecture to do these hours, but as long as it does not interfere with your job as an assistant, you will be okay! One great way to find these positions is to subscribe to TESOL France.
- Work at a Summer Camp: If you want to stay in France and make extra cash during the summer, apply to be a camp counselor! There are tons of opportunities in Europe, and usually you are paid in cash and do not need a visa (ie: leave the Schengen Zone and come back after your assistant visa has expired). I have friends who have worked for American Village and Little Big Land.
- Teach During the Holidays or Teach Overtime: Sometimes as an assistant you get the opportunity to work extra hours during the school holidays. If you’re not planning to travel, this is an excellent (and completely legal!) Opportunity to make money. As a lecteur, see if you can teach overtime at your university. I made almost 4.000€ last year, and even though I wasn’t paid right away, it was totally worth it!
As you can tell from my blog, I do a lot of extra traveling, and it would not be possible without this extra money. Of course my extra work hours mean I am a lot busier than most assistants and even lecteurs during the weeks, but for me, it’s worth it.
My advice for assistants looking for extra work is to:
- Be Proactive.
- Research community learning centers in your area. For example, the American psychic I ran into back on Halloween is needed someone to substitute her evening class at the community center one week. I gladly volunteered (and earned 50€ in cash in exchange).
- Post advertisements at the university in your town. Also, post advertisements on various websites such as leboncoin or Aupairworld, in you’re interested in babysitting.
- Talk to your colleagues, students, and fellow assistants. Maybe someone needs a tutor or babysitter?.
- Network within your city. Do you talk with your local market vendors, etc? Maybe they’re looking for some help, or even a babysitter!
- Network with past assistants and lecteurs on the Facebook page. Maybe they have clients to pass on to you!
- Follow up on offers or simple conversations. Don’t be shy.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Originally I was going to charge 15€ per hour, I was told that as a certified teacher I have every right to ask for at least 20€). Additionally, if something is not working for you, do not be afraid to say something (ie: flaky or stingy families, working too much for too little money, etc.)
Do you have anything else to add? How have you found extra work as an assistant? Shoot me a comment below.