All my friends and family can attest to my love for anything French- I once had a Paris room theme, France was my first ever trip to Europe, and my study abroad experience in Grenoble- all play a part in my French-ification. Something about their culture just makes me feel happy and that’s all there is to it!
If you haven’t heard, in less than 2 months I’m embarking on quite a new adventure- mind you it’s French related- but nonetheless something I’ve never done before. Back in January I applied for a program called TAPIF through the French Ministry of Education to become an English teaching assistant in France. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to get back to France while making some money and doing something that I’d presumably love. Toward the end of April after a long wait- and a waitlist- I finally heard back that I’d been accepted to teach English in Montpellier, France! Montpellier was my 2nd choice of location and you just can’t beat the south of France- so I was very excited! The program is from October 1st-April 30th and with a special visa I’ll practically be a French citizen for a whole 7 months. I’m just STOKED. Studying abroad in France was one thing, but this time I’m independently in charge of finding my own housing, opening up a French bank account, and much more. I really can’t wait for this journey to begin and am ready for any challenges that may come my way.
One of those is the language barrier… I’ve been studying French for some time now and I’ve had moments where it’s clicked and others where I still feel like a complete beginner. TAPIF requires you to be at the B1 or intermediate level and I’m hesitantly floating somewhere around there. This summer I’ve formed my own independent study in preparation for my teaching in a French school and it’s been the most effective way of learning a language yet. I’ve joined a language tandem community where I’ve met several native French speakers that I practice with, I’ve watched Netflix movies in French with French subtitles, I’ve had Skype lessons online, and so much more. I’ve been quite resourceful and make it a priority to improve my French skills daily as best I can before I leave at the end of September. The goal is to be the most prepared I can be before my full immersion experience! From there I’m entrusted that it will slowly sink in, as French becomes my daily life. I’m really excited to be exposed to French every day, wherever I am, wherever I go. I know it’s going to be difficult but also very rewarding in the end when I’m hopefully closer to fluency.
Besides my efforts in my French independent study, I’ve also managed to land a job in a French restaurant chain this summer called Le Pain Quotidien. The company actually started in Belgium but they speak French over there anyway and they have locations around the world including Paris, New York, and Chicago. The location by where I live in the Chicago suburbs just opened a few months ago and it’s the perfect place for me. I’m surrounded by French music, cuisine, and ambiance. It’s no surprise I ended up working here and I’m happy as ever in my French-ified environment. I have yet to meet a French person while working there but I hope to come across someone soon- or at least put my knowledge to good use by explaining to people how to properly pronounce “quotidien” (shoutout to one of my French friends since I can now say it like a true native).
Well that wraps it up, so be sure to stay tuned for for a whole lot more once I really get going on my next adventure! Let me know if you need any advice for studying French on your own in the comments or if you have any creative ideas for me too! Should I make it another goal to write my posts in French? We’ll see! À bientôt! (See you soon!) 🙂