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How do I find a job teaching English in France?
- France is the most popular tourist destination in the world by visitor numbers, and it is equally popular with those looking to teach English abroad. With so much to offer, from history and culture to fashion and cuisine, France is the dream destination for thousands of ESL teachers every year. If you want to join this number, take a look at the following guide to teaching English in France.
- As with most countries in Western Europe, employers in France expect their prospective employees to possess a TEFL certificate. If you arrive without one, you are likely to have a tough time in the job market as most of your competitors will be TEFL certified.
- If you apply for a position offered by the government-run teaching assistant recruitment program, it is possible to make all the necessary arrangements from within your own country. However, the vast majority of independent employers in France prefer to do their interviewing and hiring on a face-to-face basis. The best advice it to head straight to your chosen destination and immediately begin applying for jobs on the ground. Although this may seem a little daunting, the demand for English teachers is strong enough in the major cities to virtually guarantee success for those who take the initiative.
- Although private tutoring can be arranged at anytime of the year across France, the best time to find a full-time position is towards the end of summer from late August to early October. During this period, employers look to fill the thousands of positions that were vacated by teachers at the end of the previous school year. There is also a secondary hiring season that runs throughout January.
- If you are an EU citizen you do not need a visa to live and work in France. Native-English speakers from the UK and Ireland subsequently have a significant advantage when looking for teaching jobs. For non-EU citizens, it is famously difficult to secure a work permit so the majority of teachers simply stay and work on a tourist visa. While this is technically illegal, it is conducted openly and is rarely an issue for the many thousands of foreign teachers who choose this option every year.
- If this method does not appeal, there are alternatives for non-EU citizens. If you sign-up for a government approved French language course you could be eligible for a student visa. A student visa allows you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, while also learning a new language in an authentic environment. Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders between 18 and 30 years old can also apply for a working holiday visa. This option allows you to live and work in France for up to twelve months, although there are certain restrictions so you should contact your nearest embassy to see if it suits your plans.
- In most cases, those looking to work in France will need to arrive in the country before they are able to actively seek work. To ensure you have the funds to last until you receive your first paycheck, it is recommended that you have a budget of at least $2000 to $3000 US dollars.
- The best approach to job hunting in France is to contact as many potential employers as you can find in the local area, even if they are not advertising vacant positions. Contact details for schools and language centers can be found using the local Yellow Pages, via a simple online search, or by speaking to teachers who are already working in the area. Rather than emailing employers and waiting for a response, it is best to visit them in person with your CV/resume in hand. It can also help if you have a French language copy of your resume and cover letter to leave with them.
- Inexperienced teachers might initially find it difficult to land a full-time teaching job, so many look towards the private market to supplement their income. Private tutors are in high demand in the big cities, particularly those who have a good grasp of the French language. By actively promoting your services via notice boards, local newspapers, and by word of mouth, you should have a good chance of attracting multiple students for private lessons in their own homes.
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