If you follow this blog you’re probably thinking, “Didn’t she tell us she’s going to Nice back in April?” The answer to that is, well yes, kind of. When I got accepted into the program I found out that I was placed in the region of Nice, but not necessarily the city; I could have been anywhere in the region, up to a few hours away from the actual city of Nice. Here is a map of the regions as divided by TAPIF:
Note: my friend Courtney who is doing the same program is placed in Lille. About as far away from me as you can get. Ugh.
Anyway so I’m in a Facebook group for all of the assistants going to Nice and some of them have been posting their placements, but none of us have gotten our work contracts yet, so I wasn’t sure how they found out. I asked and I guess they emailed the coordinator for Nice; they gave me her email address. I resisted emailing her for a few days because I didn’t want to be one of those people that bugged her for information when in actuality she’s probably very busy and we’ll find out soon enough, but last night my curiosity got the best of me (I WANT TO KNOW NOOOW!!) so I emailed her. I typed “Hello” and then realized I probably need to write in French. Duh. I opened up a Word doc (I have yet to figure out how to insert accents in Gmail, and I have all the shortcuts in Word memorized so it’s just easier) and typed out a short message. I wasn’t expecting to hear back because I sent it at 10 pm here, which is 5 am there, but this morning as I was dozing (aka resisting getting up) I had a dream that I got an email back and that I was placed in an académie (academy) in Nice instead of a lycée (high school), which in the dream meant it was a boarding school (I have no idea if that’s actually true). This was an important distinction because one of my main sources of worry is finding somewhere to live in France; some schools help their assistants find housing, and some don’t, and I have no idea how to go about finding an apartment in France! According to the TAPIF Assistant handbook:
Some schools provide housing for language assistants, however this option usually only exists at the high school level. Some lycées have boarding students who actually live at the school in dormitory housing where language assistants may also live (frequently acting as RAs as well). Some lycées even have small apartments set aside for their assistants.
AND I THOUGHT I WAS DONE BEING AN RA!! For real though, I would LOVE it if my school had housing for me, even if I had to be an RA. This hope was apparently displayed when I dreamed that my school provided housing for me. As soon as I woke up from that dream I decided to check my email in the off chance that Natalie from Nice (sounds like a Nora Ephron movie) had emailed me back (it was 1 pm in France when I woke up). AND SHE HAD! She had emailed me at 3 am, which is 10 France time. God bless you for your quick response, Natalie.
My school is the Lycée Masséna in the heart of Nice. Nice is the second-largest city on the Mediterranean coast (after Marseille) and has a population of about 350,000, which is close to the same size as Minneapolis MN, Wichita KS, Arlington TX, or New Orleans LA. I’ll do a post later with more information on Nice.
Here are some links for more information about my school:
The school is located in the middle of Nice, SUPER close to the coast. From the map below you might notice that there is a street called “Quai des États-Unis” (United States Dock) near the coast by the school. Farther west it’s called the “Promenade des Anglais” (English Walkway). It’s like they’re welcoming me!!
Some fun facts I found out about the school:
- René Cassin attended there. He was a French lawyer, law professor, and judge, and he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968.
- The first “résistants” to the Nazi regime were high school seniors at the Lycée de Nice (which is now the Lycée Masséna) in 1940. They were later arrested and executed in 1944.
- The school has been in existence for more than two centuries and is known for its beautiful architecture.
- The school has 900 students in what we consider high school and then about 750 in college prep. I’ll do a post later about the school system in France.
- The school is 8/10 of a mile from the train station. WOOT.
- From what I’ve seen so far, it seems to be a really good school and held in high regard, but I know pretty much every school wants to seem that way online, so we’ll see.
Wow, I got sidetracked. Okay, back to housing. It is a boarding school (MY DREAM WAS RIGHT!!) with 147 single rooms that each have a single bed, shower and sink (no toilet?), wardrobe, and desk. From what I read it seems like it’s harder to get one of those rooms, especially your first year, so the school has two other student residences as well as associations with a few other housing options. So things are looking good for the school helping me find somewhere to live! Yay!
Natalie from Nice also emailed me the contact information for my coordinating professor (like my CT in student teaching) and the assistant I’ll be replacing. I didn’t want to bug the professor and didn’t feel like writing in French at 7 am so I emailed the previous assistant and asked her where she lived last year. DON’T JUDGE ME, I REALLY WANTED TO KNOW. So I’m waiting for her to email me back.
That’s all the information I have right now! I am starting to get REALLY excited. It’s getting more real now that I have a school placement and can look at it on a map. I can’t believe that in three short months, I”ll be living in the south of France!!
Update: I creeped on a girl’s blog who was an assistant through TAPIF in Nice last year, which led to me practically stalking her to her new blog and commenting on it. She was nice enough to be minimally weirded out and commented on this post back. Check it out!! Apparently last year my school set up the assistant with an inexpensive apartment right across the street. And I’m lucky to be located right in Nice. HOLLAAA