This time last year, I received the email I had long-since been waiting for: TAPIF 2013-2014; I was going back to France to live and teach on the French Riviera. I spent the summer surfing TAPIF blogs as well as building up my own, practicing my French, and connecting with other participants as well as old French friends via real life, email, and Facebook. I had literally been waiting three years for this email, the confirmation, this acceptance, and I had finally made it happen for myself– I was going back to France.
This time seven months ago, my plane was touching down in Stockholm, Sweden, and I was boarding another plane en route to Paris. I spent time in Paris, Versailles, Normandy (and even attended my friend’s wedding), and Lille before settling south, and even vacationed in Nice before the orientation in October. Today, I have officially been in France for seven months, and I am now in the last month of my contract.
This TAPIF experience has been everything, and more. I’ve had ups and downs (but mostly ups), done an insane amount of traveling both in France and around Europe, and have really grown as a person. My French has without a doubt improved, and I have made a network of lifelong international friends. I also had my second experience teaching in a foreign country, and hope to continue to do so in the future. For now, I am fully embracing my last month with my wonderful students and living in the Côte d’Azur before beginning my backpacking trip:
April 17-21: Paris with my mother (I am the second chaperone on the Waukesha West High School French trip)
April 21: Giverny with Jean-Baptiste
April 22-26: Normandy to visit my host family
April 27-May 5: Morocco with my friend Michelle. My visa expires May 2nd, so I need to leave the Schengen Zone for awhile. We are headed to Marrakech and the Sahara Dessert!
May 5-18: I’m off to backpack Italy with my friend Erin from college- Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Venice!
May 18-22: Corsica!
May 22-31: I will be
bumming mooching off friends in Toulon and Nice during the last few weeks of my stay, enjoying the beaches and the sunshine, and checking a few more places off my bucket list.
As of now, I am applying for jobs all over during my days off, and have no idea where I will be come fall! I am looking stateside in my home state as well as cities including NYC, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. I am also applying to international schools abroad, and most importantly applying for lectrice positions in France. I’ll let you know when I know!
To future TAPIF assistants: CONGRATULATIONS! Get ready for a wild ride. Feel free to surf and explore my blog- I’ve tried to document most aspects if my time here– the good, bad, and the ugly. Feel free to contact me directly and ask for advice. I created this blog in order to help and inspire other people. Check out some of the most popular tags, including TAPIF Tip Tuesday, which will get you started. But, don’t stress so much this summer. Just save money and network as much as you can. Go in with no expectations, because every is different and has a different experience, and this way you can never be disappointed. I’m so excited for you!