Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Honors College

National Scholarship Office

Teaching Assistant Program in France


About the program

The French Ministry of Education and the Cultural Services at the French Embassy offer between 1,000 an 1,700 teaching assistant positions in French primary and secondary schools and in instituts universitaires de formation des maîtres in all regions of France and DOM-TOMs to those who meet the following requirements:

  • American citizens or green card holders who have spent their high school years in the U.S.
    French citizens, including those who hold a U.S. green card, are not allowed to apply to this program.
  • Between the ages of 20 and 35 as of Oct. 1 of the year you wish to go to France.
  • Currently pursuing — in at least your third year of study — or have already completed a college degree.
  • Proficient in French; students not majoring or minoring in French that have a basic proficiency — about three semesters — in French can apply. If you have never taken classes, but lived abroad in a francophone country, this is typically considered an acceptable level of proficiency.

Program benefits

The Teaching Assistance Program in France is a unique opportunity for students to:

  • Spend between six and nine months in France with a monthly stipend.
  • Have a privileged insight into contemporary France.
  • Master the French language through linguistic immersion.
  • Gain valuable teaching experience.


You will be expected to teach 12 hours of English conversation classes per week.


You will be paid about 900€ each month. After Social Security and health care costs, you will have approximately 752€ per month to live on. You may not defer these costs. The stipend provides enough money to live the lifestyle of a typical French student. We suggest that you visit to get an idea of rent in various cities in France.


  • Fall-winter: Prepare your application and mail it to the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. before the specified deadline.
  • May: You will receive a letter from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. about your acceptance. The letter will inform you which school district, or académie, and age group you are assigned.
  • July-September: Once you have received your contract (arête) specifying your location within the académie, you should contact the school for practical information. You should also go to the local French consulate in the U.S. to obtain a visa.
  • Mid-September: After you have obtained your visa, you may leave for France.
  • Oct. 1: You will begin your assignment.

Important notes

The teaching assistant program allows schools all over France to benefit from your English-speaking skills. This means that you may be placed in an urban, suburban or rural setting.

If you are accepted, please note the following information. Due to visa procedures, please plan to be in the U.S., in the region that you list as your primary address, to process your visa. You will need to visit your local French consulate’s visa office in person or give yourself enough time to mail your visa application to the French consular visa office. This process usually takes two to three weeks. Some consulates require that applicants for a visa must apply for their visa in person. Please check their website to verify the procedure. Since the paperwork may not arrive until early September, you should plan to be in the U.S. until mid-September.

Arrival in France

Assistants are responsible for their transportation to France. You must arrive before Oct. 1; however, you must wait for the proper documentation from France before leaving the U.S. This documentation will not arrive until the summer. The regional education authorities will hold an introductory course at the beginning of your stay. These free courses facilitate the assistant’s integration and introduce you to your jobs in the schools. Courses are organized by each school district and you will be contacted by your district about this meeting.

Health insurance

Assistants coming from outside the European Union do not qualify for Social Security before receiving their resident permit. In the interim, which may take up to several weeks, American assistants must procure their own personal health insurance. We suggest that you purchase your own health insurance for the first three months. Please note that the insurance does not cover travel outside of France, nor does it cover any medical travel costs for returning to the U.S. or any repatriation of remains. We suggest that you purchase travel insurance or get an international student/youth card that often covers aforementioned emergencies.


American assistants are responsible for making their own accommodation and residence arrangements. For more information, as well as practical and pedagogical resources, please visit the CIEP website.


Jeff Wing, Director, National Scholarship Office
701 West Grace Street, Room 1410
P.O. Box 843010
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3010
Phone: (804) 828-1803
Fax: (804) 827-1669