“Those who teach, must never cease to learn” - John Cotton Dana
If you were born in France and you're a French native speaker there are hundreds of opportunities for you to work abroad as a foreign language assistant.
There are so many people wishing to learn French as a foreign language, which means that there are many opportunities for teachers all over the world.
In this article, you will learn what a French language assistant is, if you can do it for a year or longer, what your role would be, the differences between language assistants and teachers, and where they can go.
What is a French Language Assistant?
The role of a French-language assistant is to aid a French teacher during their class. This position is usually reserved for native speakers of the language because teaching a language comes with many challenges and students who are not immersed in the culture need all the help they can get.
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Assistants can work at every school level there is. They can work in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, or universities. Language assistant programs are designed for university students who are native speakers of the language.
How Long Do Language Assistant Programs Last?
It all depends on the destination, but assistants usually stay abroad between 4 and 7 months. This guarantees a complete experience that can provide assistants with a certification of completion.
Note: You can start taking French lessons online today.
But the time can change depending on the country and the program. Some are paid because they are part of a degree and the education of a future teacher. Some students get scholarships for these programs.
- Starting a career
- Gaining skills through your degree
- Fees usually paid by the program
- Decent salary
What Is the Role of a Language Assistant?
Assistants are there to help the teacher during any lesson, but they are not there to replace the teacher. They are just an extra experience helping the students with the language.
The job also includes working with small groups on the side to help them practice their speaking skills during their language course. They will be focused on practical stuff rather than academic things.
Here are some of the responsibilities:
- Encourage the student to practice and improve their understanding of the spoken language.
- Conversation classes
- Provide students with one-on-one assistance
- Helping students who need extra attention
- Participating in educational activities at the school, college, university, or language center.
- Creating an exchange program with French students.
- Intensive classes to improve language skills and language proficiency
- Helping students prepare for French-language qualifications
- Providing teaching material on vocabulary, linguistics, language, and culture, etc.
- Creating French cultural activities.
Language Assistants vs. Teachers
As we mentioned, the teacher will teach the courses and the language assistant will help. Their goal is to create a supporting system during the classes to foster learning and guarantee faster progress compared to having just the teacher.
If you want to apply to a certain program you will have to figure out if you have to send the application to the institution or the coordinators of the program.
Do Language Assistants Go Abroad?
There are approximately 1,400 places around the world for French foreign language assistants. Keep in mind that the working conditions and wages will differ depending on the country.
You can apply to all the places you wish to, but there are different criteria.
If you want to go to a German-speaking country, these are the countries where they look for French-language assistants:
If you wish to go to an English speaking country here are your options:
- New Zealand
If you prefer to go to a Spanish-speaking country to work as a French language assistant, you could do it in the following countries:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
If you know a little Chinese and wish to learn more, you might want to look into these countries:
There are places you could go learn languages such as Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic, etc.:
- The Netherlands
How to Apply
The conditions and application process is different in every country but if you want to be a French-language assistant as part of the program, you’ll need:
- To be a French national living in France
- To be a student enrolled in a French university
- Have finished the second year of your degree
- Have never been employed as a teacher of the target language
- Be between 20 and 30 years old.
- Have a B1 in the target language (except for China and the Netherlands).
The program is not strictly reserved for aspiring teachers but those who are interested in teaching are more likely to be accepted. You can apply as part of a program or look directly for a position.
You'll have to do normal paperwork like handing over copies of your ID, university transcript, and so on.
These programs usually start in September, when school starts.
Doing a Year Abroad
If you're getting a language or education degree you could aim to do a year abroad as a language assistant. If you're studying French you'll most likely be placed in a French-speaking country and teach English rather than teach French.
You can check with your university and figure out what your options are. If your university offers a program make sure you read the reviews or learn about the experience of students who did the program.
In some cases, since your year abroad is an extra university year, it could affect your grades.
Could you do it for more than one year?
Again, it all depends on what language assistant program you apply to. Some institutions allow renewals at the end of the academic year but you have to do your best work so that the school wants to keep you.
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Possible Contract Renewals
- New Zealand
- The Netherlands
Countries Where You Can’t Renew
- Costa Rica
Remember that there are financial aid opportunities for foreign programs, all you have to do is check with your university.
If you feel like you need help with your French or teaching skills you can find a private tutor right here on Superprof. There are three types of lessons, group, online, and face-to-face tutorials.
Tutoring sessions directed to groups is like having a traditional class with a teacher and students. If you get tutoring lessons in a group you can split the cost of the classes.
Many tutors are looking for jobs in a face-to-face format where there is just one student. This modality can be more expensive but you get more personalized service. Always make sure your tutor has enough experience and good reviews.
Online classes are for people who work well with a computer and video chat. Keep in mind that many tutors offer the first class for free. This free lesson can help you see if you'd like to work with them.
Work out which type of tutorials is best for you!
You could even become a private tutor yourself if you take some teaching courses because there are many jobs out there for tutors.
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