Say yes to adventure.
My ultimate dream has become reality.
Or at least temporarily! I have been blessed with the opportunity to move to France for roughly 8 months on a work Visa! I was accepted to the Teacher Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) through the French Embassy in the US. I’ll be a teacher’s assistant teaching English somewhere in the Académie de Lille.
I initially applied to TAPIF after I graduated from James Madison University (double-degree!) in December 2014 – for the opportunity to teach the following Fall of 2015. The program applications are due each year by January 15th prior to the October 1st start date. You don’t know if you are accepted until April! Talk about a waiting game! Anyways, in 2015 I was banking on this opportunity to drag me out of my seemingly endless internship. The opportunity, to me, was the light at the end of the tunnel – the promise of better things to come at that point in my life (post-grad is a very trying time lol). When that opportunity did not pan out -I didn’t even make the wait list!- I was absolutely devastated. However, I was pushed to seek other opportunities. France wasn’t happening (yet), and I knew I was not going to be happy remaining in my then-current circumstances.
What seemed like such a disappointing setback at the time, quickly gave me motivation to get my life moving so I could take advantage of the year I was “stuck” at home, knowing that I could reapply for the 2016-2017 TAPIF school year. I got a job in DC, working at a pretty amazing law firm – which allowed me to move closer to the city and ‘adult’ a little in the DMV area. I also began volunteering through Hogar Immigrant Services as an ESL Teacher – which was one of the biggest highlights of my past year. My students were such troopers, coming to night class after working or care taking all day, and so enthusiastic to learn! They inspired me so much. Further, I got to be in the States this past year to meet 2 new baby cousins, my first nephew, and even my new half-bro. That’s a lot of family growth to have missed if I were frolicking around France last year!
Last summer, I also had a little health scare. I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure what I’d have done if that had happened right before I was supposed to move across the Atlantic Ocean from my family. I was so grateful to have such an amazing support system here during all the medical tests and shenanigans that ensued. It truly was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get into TAPIF for 2015-2016! That wasn’t the right time for me to go!
Someone posted this map of the region I’ve been assigned to on our Facebook group. So there you have it! I am moving … somewhere in that clump of space! L’Académie de Lille is basically the equivalent of the French Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais. This region is considered what we would refer to as “the sticks” and is very cold and rainy… but hey! I’ll take what I can get!
As I await the arrival of my actual teaching contract, the ambiguity of my upcoming situation is simultaneously overwhelming and exciting! I think I’d be much more nervous if I hadn’t done a semester exchange by myself in college. I basically know that I will be *near* Lille… teaching middle/high schoolers. And that’s about it! This will sure be interesting. As the quote to the right states, going for your dreams requires getting out of your comfort zone! So out of my comfort zone I will fly. I bought a one-way flight this week so I suppose this move is officially official! It’s pretty exhilarating to accept this temporary position, knowing that after April 30th I have NO idea what my life will look like.
Will I stay for awhile to travel before coming home to be…unemployed? Will I find a job to pursue abroad?
Follow this blog for future posts to see how my adventure unravels. 🙂
I’ll be a part of TAPIF this year too! In Toulouse region! Love your post and am sharing your sentiments of uber excitement 🙂
Adventures with Shelby
Awesome! Toulouse will be much warmer than Lille! 🙂 Thank you