The Teaching Assistant Program in France runs for 7 months- from October 1st until April 30th. I had no idea that some assistants have the opportunity to extend their contracts until May 31, allowing another month of work and travel in France!
Prior to leaving on vacation for Christmas, my supervising teacher mentioned that upon our return, I would be asked to submit an application for a monthlong extension of my contract, if I wanted to. I immediately knew that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get paid for another month of work in France, and so was sure I would jump.
I didn’t hear anything right away coming back to Oyonnax- but luckily two of my assistant friends had the same idea and they had been told the application had to be submitted ASAP! I quickly rushed to the administration office to inquire and was handed an application with instructions to return it super quickly, as the deadline was approaching! The application was pretty simple- I just had to write, in French of course, a statement of purpose of sorts of why I wanted to extend my contract for a month. I wrote about projects and lessons that I had started with my students and that an extra month would give me even more time to see their improvements.
I submitted it right away- beginning of January- and began the long waiting game. I knew that I had to figure out sooner rather than later when I would be returning to the States- because of course I needed to book a flight! The longer I waited the more expensive return flights would get- and there was also the slight question of my visa.
You see, the visa I had obtained back at the French Consulate in NYC last summer was based off of my original contract’s end date of April 30- meaning it expired on May 19, 11 days before the end of my new contract. In order to (1) stay in the country and not get deported and (2) get paid for May, I would have to apply and receive an extension of my visa, for which I needed a new work contract, for which I needed to get accepted to stay on for May!
Fortunately, in March I was officially notified that I had been accepted for May! I dont know the exact statistics, but not all assistants who applied were accepted for an extra month, and it was only in certain Academies that the extension was even possible. I had to sign two new contracts- one at each school, and I could officially get started on my next bureaucratic nightmare- extending my visa! Read about the visa process here!
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