There`s a lot to do as soon as you arrive in a foreign country to work! I arrived in Oyonnax almost a month ago and am still going strong with paperwork and administration. Its France after all! Here are some of the tasks Ive been working on:
- get a phone: this was the first task checked off my list. Since I really had to get a phone after my computer crashed, I bought a cheap flip phone and a refillable French SIM card so I could communicate with my contact teacher. So far I`ve put 20 euros on the card and its lasted me this long! Update: I received my new SIM card in the mail today from the French cell phone provider B and You. I`ve signed up for the cheapest plan possible, 4 euros a month for unlimited texts and 2 hours of calling within France!
- open a bank account: recently completed! You can read more about it here, but it was fairly straightforward! I received my French debit card- with chip!- a week after my account was opened.
- send in OFII paperwork: L`Office Français de L`Immigration et de l`Intégration, or French Immigration, requires all non-EU citizens with a visa to France for longer than 6 months to register and complete a medical visit. I went through this when I studied abroad in Montpellier, but so far its been straightforward. As soon as I arrived in France I mailed in a form and copies of important documents and am currently waiting for the date of my medical appointment. Stay tuned!
- Register for health insurance: as a legal resident of France I am covered under the Sécu, or French Social Security. This isnt the same as in the United States- it is essentially state health insurance. I sent in some documents last week and am waiting to hear my temporary Social Security Number until I receive my Carte Vitale. Stay tuned!
- Apply for CAF: The French government offers rent reduction for individuals who qualify, and foreign teaching assistants barely making any money do! As is becoming a theme in this post, I mailed in some documents and recently received my personal access code. However, I need to wait for a different letter to get a different code. Typical.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!