Step 1 (apply) and 2 (wait)

You can apply to be an English assistant in France if you have a –

  • Score of 7.5 or above in IELTS
  •  B1 in French from Alliance Francais or B.A. in French

The Application :

The day the applications open (sometime in October), you can download all the required forms on the website http://in.ambafrance.org/Assistants-d-anglais-2017-18. You need to send all your documents before the 2nd of December so it helps to get a head start early on. Other things that come in handy are a functional printer, a few hundred passport size pictures against a white background and a good amount of paper post cutting down an entire forest. Now, you’re good to go.

You will need :

  • 2 recommendation letters from your French professors in separate sealed envelopes (no, you can’t read them so I guess you will never really know what they said about you)
  • A police clearance certificate even if you don’t have a criminal record (you have to apply for it online and then go to a police station in the area and do a whole lot of waiting but it is all worth it in the end)
  • IELTS test score
  • A library card + confirmation that you are a student at AF or any other establishment (I just used my enrollment for B2 at AF as proof)
  • Dossier d’inscription et candidature filled online or with pen (the former is more convenient)
  • Copies of all of the above +  passport, birth certificate, degree and marks memo, DELF B1

All these need to be enclosed safely and securely and sent to the French Embassy in Delhi. If all is well, you can count your blessings and pass out for a few days. If there are any documents missing, allow yourself to wonder what you have done to deserve this and then send them asap.

Tip : Send everything in by the end of November so that if you have any other stuff to send you can get it all in well in advance (before the December deadline).

The wait :

I was fully prepared to wait a whole 4 months to find out if I made the cut or not (April is when they usually send out the emails), so imagine my surprise when I woke up from a nap one sunny afternoon in February and read the words ‘J’ai le plaisir de vous annoncer votre sélection à un poste d’assistant de langue anglaise en France pour l’année scolaire 2017-18……’ They sent out the acceptance emails on the 9th of Feb with les felicitations et tout and the list of 50 candidates selected from India. If post celebration you suddenly stop and wonder ‘what next?’, I assure you, that’s totally normal.

The wait post acceptance : 

Yes, there is a lot of waiting involved.

On the 3rd of April, coincidentally post another afternoon nap, they sent out another email asking us to formalize our participation (to be filled and sent via courier to the Delhi office). Congrats! You’re now officially a part of the program and you can commence sending texts/emails to your friends and family with the good news until they ask you ‘where in France?’ at which point you have to reassess your game plan about spreading the joy….

After a few weeks (mine came on 18th of April), you find out which académie you have been placed in. Here, you also find out if you will be teaching in the primary or secondary level. You are also given information about the fb group/whatsapp group where you can contact and virtually introduce yourself to the other 49 assistants who have been chosen for the academic year. Ah, the joy of knowing you are not alone…