How to Survive Being Placed in a Small French Town All By Yourself (Part 1: The Pros)

I’m back from a rather long blogging hiatus to bring you another three-part post about life in France! Today is Part 1 … stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, coming soon!


After I applying to the TAPIF program last winter, and before I knew exactly where I would be placed, I spent a lot of time imagining what my life in France would be like. In my more more optimistic moments, my brain presented me with scenarios like this:

Scenario #1: Julia is placed in the biggest city of her first or second choice académie, Grenoble or Montpellier. Both cities have a large student population, so there is no shortage of cheap housing and there are many places to go out and meet new friends. Since Julia lives in such a big city, there are plenty of other language assistants from all over the world who live there too. Julia therefore has a built-in group of friends with whom she can travel all over Europe, explore Grenoble/Montpellier, and occasionally vent about the French school system. Julia doesn’t need to worry too much about transportation because Julia lives in a city with buses, taxis, and (most importantly) a train station. She makes use of this train station to go on frequent day trips to surrounding towns, maybe to go hiking in the mountains (Grenoble) or to go to the beach (Montpellier). At school, she becomes friends with all of the teachers and her perfectly behaved students have a true passion for the English language. If she is ever lonely, she simply arranges a Skype date with her family or her friends back home or watches a movie using her high-speed wifi connection. Julia is never ever lonely and thrives in her new French life.  Continue reading

I’m Basically An American Now (A Sappy Thanksgiving Post)

Today is Thanksgiving … well, sort of. Canadian Thanksgiving came and went weeks ago, but this was the first year that I didn’t celebrate at all. On October 12, I had just recently arrived in France and was thousands of kilometres away from my family; more importantly, since I didn’t have a single friend in France yet, I had nobody to celebrate with. In the end, Canadian Thanksgiving went almost unacknowledged here in Domfront (except for my attempt at making an apple crisp without brown sugar. Trust me, it’s better with brown sugar).  Continue reading