Preliminary Preparations

It’s officially been three weeks since I got accepted into the program!  The first couple of weeks, I didn’t have much to do besides be relieved/excited/a variety of emotions that I finally knew what I was going to be doing with my life after graduation (and try to combat the constant comments of “You’re gonna marry a French guy!” or “Have you seen ‘Taken’?”).  However, there have been a few things I have done to start preparing for the move, and more recently the program has been contacting me for information as well.

As I mentioned before, the day the emails were sent out I was keeping  a close eye on the TAPIF Facebook page.  I found a few other people who commented that they were going to Nice as well, so I decided to search and see if someone had created a TAPIF – Nice page, and lo and behold, someone had!  I requested to join the group and  began chatting a little bit with the other people who are going to Nice.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to start making connections in France besides my fellow assistants.  I know a few people who live in France from my year as the International House RA, but they’re mostly all around Paris.  My French teacher from high school put me in touch with an American friend of hers who lives in the southwest of France (I’ll be in the southeast) and teaches English; she wants to meet up after I move over there.  She also put me in contact with the TAPIF assistant at her high school, so I’ve been emailing him too.

I realized this post was SUPER wordy (English major…sorry), so here’s a cartoon to provide some humor that’s missing from my writing. I’ll work on that, promise.
Also, the French in this cartoon is terrible, but you get the point.

I got an email from the TAPIF coordinator this week with some instructions; I had to fill out 4 forms and attach a passport photo to each (It cost me 20 bucks!!  What the heck??) and send a copy of my birth certificate and passport.  I’ll be sending those to France today!  It’s getting official!

Other than that, I’ve basically just been working on finding a job for the summer (things are looking good for me being in the suburbs, but it’s not official yet), slowly moving stuff from my apartment to my parents’ house, and figuring out what I need to buy before I go: namely a phone, camera, and tablet.  I’ve been doing research and talking to people to try to decide what would be most beneficial to me while I’m in France, as well as what I can afford.

As far as technology goes, I’m thinking about getting an Asus Eee Transformer Prime tablet (Kind of like an iPad, but with more features.  Also, how would one pronounce “Eee”?).  I also think I need a nicer camera than my eBayed point and shoot, as much as I love it, but a full DSLR would be too expensive and too intense for what I know about photography.  I’m thinking an advanced point and shoot is going to be the way to go.  And as far as a phone goes, I have no idea what I’m going to do; I definitely need a new phone, since my enV touch has a nasty habit of turning off on its own, but I don’t know if I should get one in the US with some sort of international plan, or get a pay-as-I-go phone once I get over there, or what.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated, since I really have no idea what I’m doing!!

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Categories: Preparations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Preliminary Preparations

  1. Hey! I am also doing TAPIF this fall and stumbled upon your blog via google search. 🙂
    As for the phone thing, DONT get one with Verizon because they won’t work overseas. Most of the world uses a different network than they do (Verizon- CDMA, most of the world- GSM). Also, international plans from the states when you are traveling abroad are ridiculously expensive. I went to France for a month when I was 19 and my bill when I got back was $300!
    I used to work for Verizon back home which is why I know this.
    I would say just get a phone in France. I am bringing a phone (Galaxy S) with me but it is unlocked already and not under a contract somewhere else. You don’t want to be paying double at home and in France for the same phone when you aren’t even using it at home.
    I also live in Korea teaching English right now, so I have some ESL experience if you have any questions about that (not sure if you have any; if so, sorry for assuming!).

    • Hey Kaylin! It’s awesome that someone actually found my blog via Google 🙂 Thanks for the advice- I think that’s what I’m going to end up doing. My roommate has an unlocked phone he’s going to let me use and I think we’re going to get a shared phone plan through Free (cheap French cell phone company).

      I actually just emailed one of the teachers at my school yesterday asking if I need to do any kind of preparation for class before I come. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated! I studied English Education in college so I’ve got the teaching part down, just not so much the ESL part. Also, where are you placed in France?

      It might be easier to email me, haha 🙂 kjmcgreer@gmail.com

  2. and when you get your smartphone, you need to download WhatsApp so that you can text your friends in the US for free 😀 or anyone who has whatsapp, for that matter

  3. My suggestion is to upgrade to an iPhone, or some other smartphone if you’re opposed to getting an iPhone – you won’t need to buy a camera, and this way you can just get a (micro) SIM card for while you’re abroad. If you go this route, just make sure you get Verizon to unlock your phone BEFORE you go to France. Data plans are going to be expensive no matter what, but talking and texting plans aren’t too bad. It’s nice to have a phone/camera/something to browse the web all-in-one, especially if you want to look up a map or get some info quickly.

    • kjmcgreer

      I want a BETTER camera than my point and shoot, which is not an iPhone. Also data plans are SO expensive- I don’t want to have to pay for one! That’s why I want to get a tablet- so I can look at stuff when I have wireless and not have to pay for data. I just want a basic talk-text phone.

      • You can customize your settings on your iPhone so that you don’t have to use data, you can just be using wifi. And an iPhone IS better than a point and shoot 🙂

        • kjmcgreer

          Can I buy an iPhone without a data plan? I mean, I could, but wouldn’t it be several hundred dollars? And NO WAY is an iPhone camera significantly better than a point and shoot.

          • No, you can’t buy it without the data plan. And I didn’t say that it was significantly better than a point-and-shoot, but it does have 8 megapixels which is just as good, and it doubles as a phone and web browser, so that makes it better. I take almost all my photos exclusively with my iPhone now.

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