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Are you an Indian teacher of English and have learnt French? Well you have a golden opportunity to work in France as an ESL teacher through the Teaching Assistant Programme offered by The French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
Almost everything sounds better when spoken in French. French being one of the romance languages, can help you make a bright career if you are an English teacher willing to teach abroad. France is definitely one of the best countries to work in while having a paid vacation: no kidding! Yes, if you have the right linguistic skills in French and English, you can avail this opportunity too by applying for the programme and getting to travel across Europe as a travailleur temporaire!

I’m An Indian. How Do I Get To Teach English In France?

A lot of non- European native English speakers from across the world desire to become an English language teacher in France. So if you’re learning French or have already learnt it, chances are that you can avail about a year long visa for a 7- month contract to teach English in France as a Teaching Assistant. Further, if you wish to renew the contract and extend your stay in France, yes it is very feasible! Every year, a lot of Teaching Assistants from across India are selected to work under different academies in France (primaire as well as secondaire.)

Am I Eligible To Become A Teaching Assistant?

The criteria for eligibility for the programme is as follows:

  • You must be an Indian citizen and must have a valid passport.
  • You must be between 20 to 35 years of age before 1st October of the year that you are applying.
  • You must have a Bachelors’ degree in any discipline.
  • You must have a minimum level DELF B1 or a Bachelor’s degree in French.
  • You must have an overall 7.5 or more bands in IELTS (Academic test) under British Council or IDP.
  • You must be currently enrolled as a student in either Alliance française or at any recognized university in India.

When Do The Applications Open For The Programme?

Every year around the second half of October, the applications for the programme open up. The last date is usually 2nd December. You may stay updated regarding the same on the official website of IFI: The application form consists of several parts which need to be filled. So
before the applications open up, you will need to have your necessary documents ready. Here’s a list of documents you will need in the beginning to apply for the programme:

  • Proof (identity card) showing that you are currently enrolled at an Indian university or at any Alliance française in India.
  • Your mark sheets for all degrees: High school (+2) (obligatory), Bachelors (obligatory), Masters and above (if completed).
  • DELF B1 or upper certification or Bachelors in French.
  • IELTS (Academic result) under British Council or IDP, not older than 2 years.
  • Birth certificate (Translated in English).
  • Valid passport.   

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Which Academy Should I Choose?

While applying for the programme, you can give 3 preferences for the academies you would like to be posted in. However, being posted in a particular academy does not imply that you are surely going to be placed in the main city of that academy. In fact, chances are that you may be assigned to a small, distant French commune that you might never have heard of! There may or may not be a lot for you to do in the town, and so your overall experience of the programme will depend a lot upon whether you as a person are strong enough to manage living alone. There is no particular criteria as to how to choose an academy. It entirely
depends on choice of area, climate, cost of living, and of course a few other personal preferences. In case you wish to minimize your chances of being posted in a lonely commune, I’d suggest you opt for academies like Paris, Créteil, Versailles etc. This way you will be placed somewhere around Paris and probably life will be more happening.

Finding An Accommodation

Finding housing can be one of the most daunting parts of landing in a foreign country or well, continent! Teaching assistants are supposed to find their accommodation on their own. The rectorat of your academy may guide you regarding the same as per whatever information they may have. Most lycées do provide accommodation to teaching assistants in the Internat
within the campus. Once you receive your acceptance letter in mid- April, you may get in touch and check with your professeur référent.e regarding the availability of accommodation in your lycée. These accommodations are usually very cheap and in good condition, so it is generally the best option to go for. Primary schools, however, do not provide accommodation. So you will need to search for accommodation with the help of your secretariat and professor referent. One important tip to finding housing is to apply for CAF. CAF is a grant for those with low income or students, that helps to pay a major part of your house rent. The procedure for the same may sometimes be a little complicated, however it relieves people of a lot of financial burden due to housing rent.
If you can’t decide whether or not to go for this programme, here are some
interesting reads for you:

Pros and Cons of the Teaching Assistant Programme

Experience of ex- teaching assistant in France

Here are a few websites to check out to get more useful information related to the programme: