Yes, it's for a boy.
July 1, 2011 6:30 PM   Subscribe

My little sister spent a semester last year in France as a college student. She met a nice boy. She wants to improve her French. How can she do it?

Hi. My little sister wants to go back to France. She spent a semester abroad studying last year, and has now graduated. (She's 21). She just started a MA in Writing, and is trying to find a way to make it back to France, either on a study abroad program (her MA has no organized one with France) or taking time off and working. She's American, so she has no EU work permit. She'd love to be fluent in French, and is an excellent writer (in English).

Anyone have any ideas/programs/fellowship/job/work permit ideas for her? I suppose she could always try teaching English, but there's that visa problem. She says he's a really nice boy :).

posted by caoimhe to Travel & Transportation around France (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to French particularly, but is a nice site I've been using to refresh my German vocab. There are lots of exercises and options to talk to native speakers.
posted by gilsonal at 6:47 PM on July 1, 2011

So, hang on, just to clarify — this isn't really a language learning question, it's a question about getting permission to work in the EU? Because I was about to come in here with some language learning tips, but it sounds like that's not actually what you're after. Not complaining, just trying to make sure I don't start barking up the wrong tree.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:56 PM on July 1, 2011

This may demand more language skills than she has, but she could try the Teaching Assistants in France program.
posted by soviet sleepover at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2011

Yes, not so much a language learning thing! (The boy has helped her French A LOT -- she's very conversational, nearing fluent). More of a pragmatic -- how can she live in France and do something interesting as an American for a while? Thanks so much!
posted by caoimhe at 8:07 PM on July 1, 2011

I was also going to suggest the teaching assistant programme. Get paid (not much) to live in France and make children speak English for twelve hours a week - sometimes less. You get healthcare and seven weeks of vacation! It's great. The only thing about that is that the soonest she'd be able to go is next October, since applications for each year have to go in at the end of the previous one. I wouldn't worry about her level of French. She has a chance of getting in even if it's bad, and anyway, she should have enough time to improve on her own.

Otherwise, there's au pairing. Or, if she could get the money for it, she could attend a French-as-a-foreign-language programme at a university. I was planning to go to this one, in Brittany, until I got my second acceptance to the assistantship, and I still think it looks great. I don't know about other programmes, but tuition there is 1300 euros for two semesters. Applications for things like that are probably closed or closing up now, though, so she'd have to move quickly.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:09 PM on July 1, 2011

I did the assistant program and another caveat is that you don't have a lot of say in where they put you. So the boy may live in Alsace but she's placed in Brittany (hint: not close enough).

I would recommend what many assistants did. Apply for masters programs in English lit in France. The tuitions is much cheaper and it gives you a visa (and some I think you may even be able to work a bit on).

Honestly, the best bet, especially with work permits and the french government, is to work her butt off in the states to get some money to go back and live 3 months until the tourist visa expires. I change my statement. Au pairing is probably best, but still there are not many options for Americans in France looking for work (in this I mean part time work, not huge corporations who are equipped to deal with visa issues).

Good luck to your sister!
posted by raccoon409 at 10:36 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I say they split the difference and both head to Quebec!
posted by vasi at 4:33 AM on July 2, 2011

Re: student visas, tuition is indeed cheaper than in the US, BUT they will expect her to demonstrate, before they grant the visa, that she has enough funding to pay for her educational program and living expenses - either money in the bank, or funding obtained as a scholarship (though the latter will be almost impossible to obtain for a master's degree). This may or may not be a problem, depending on her circumstances.

A variation on the teaching-assistant thing might be to look for English-medium (i.e. immersion or international) schools to apply to teach at?
posted by SymphonyNumberNine at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2011

Wow -- thanks everyone for the tips! I will pass them along :).
posted by caoimhe at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2011

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