TAPIF- It’s getting real

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Metz, France

When I studied abroad and went to France for the first time it didn’t feel real until I was on the plane with knots in my stomach ready to take off. When I found out I was accepted to TAPIF it didn’t feel real, I just received my “arrête de nomination”, an email from the secretary at my school and made my consulate visa appointment.

Still doesn’t feel real. I know it won’t until I’m on the floor frustrated packing or buying my plane ticket or maybe when I’m getting ready to fly across the world again. Eventually it will have to go from this idea in my head to concrete. Since I’ll be lugging my suitcase with my life in it through various forms of transit in France. There’s really no hand holding this time as I’ll have to get all the way there by myself- which is definitely doable but it’s been a while and I am a little rusty.

So I’m also planning my course of action since my town (Phalsbourg) doesn’t have a train station. I may fly in to a bigger city and maybe stay for a few days and then take the train and then another bus or two to wherever my final destination is. I’ve been using http://www.rome2rio.com to try to map out my plan and I’m still undecided but I still have some time.

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What I know so far…

So I also found out I’m going to be in a tiny little town in the North of France- population of 5,000….So I can either live in Phalsbourg in the room they provide for me. Or I could live in the next town over that actually has a train station.

I was placed in Academie Nancy-Metz and we’re told not to expect to be in the biggest city. That’s just fine but I see in the Facebook group for assistants in this academie most of them are. Not to mention I was pretty spoiled with how perfect sized Besancon was for me. However, I’m glad to be near Germany, Belgium and Strasbourg.

Thankfully I’ve got the contact info of a former assistant so I can ask her advice as well as my mentor teacher and the secretary at my school.

Contrary to what my contract says it looks like I’m going to be working at the middle school (college) and high school (lycée).

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So far here’s some administrative stuff I’ve had to do:

Fingerprints- had to get these done in the U.S. at a police station for my FBI background check. Finger prints were $15 and then the background check is a form filled out for $18. It can be more expensive if you’re in a rush or not in the U.S.

Visa and the appointment- finally got my work contract but I’m hoping the physical copy comes by mid-August because my appointment at the French Consulate in Chicago is August 19th. Good thing is that this long-stay visa is free for assistants! I still have some things to gather for this like some more lovely ‘mug shot’ passport photos, certified copy of my birth certificate among other things. When things are coming into place a little more and I figure out where I’m living I’ll buy my plane ticket.

Housing- so this is also kind of up in the air at the moment. I think I have a room in the town and I’d only have to pay the utilities but it’s not set in stone at the moment.

Lessons- starting to look into this kind of stuff and brainstorm!

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I’m excited but…

I’m definitely going to be sad to leave the life I’ve built here in Kalamazoo. My friends, my roommates, my house, all the memories I’ve made over the past 4 years. It’s going to be sad because I came here in 2012 knowing hardly anyone and now I can’t go anywhere without running into an acquaintance. It definitely hasn’t hit me yet but it’s going to sooner or later.

So for all you Kalamazoo/Warren people out there I’d love to see you before I go.

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