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					Queen’s University Belfast


   French Studies




Residence Abroad Handbook



       2009-2010



            1
                                        Contents
Introduction and Acknowledgements ………………………………………….                            p. 2

Four Important Points to Remember ………………………………………….                            p. 3

Before you go to France
      Documents to be taken with you ………………………………………                           p. 4
      Travel ……………………………………………………………………                                        p. 4
      Insurance ……………………………………………………………….                                      p. 5
      Find out about your town ………………………………………………                              p. 6
      Fees and Finance ………………………………………………………                                   p. 6
      Assessment of the Year Abroad ………………………………………                            p. 7
      Making the most of your year abroad …………………………………                        p. 7

When you are in France
     Accommodation ………………………………………………………..                                     p. 8
     Bank Accounts …………………………………………………………                                      p. 10
     Carte de Séjour ………………………………………………………...                                  p. 11
     Rent Rebates …………………………………………………………..                                     p. 11
     Telephones ……………………………………………………………..                                      p. 12
     Travel in France ………………………………………………………..                                  p. 12
     Safety and Security ………………………………………………….…                                 p. 13
     Medical Treatment ……………………………………………………..                                  p. 13
     French Universities …………………………………………………….                                 p. 14
     Cost of Living …………………………………………………………..                                   p. 14
     Integration ………………………………………………………………                                      p. 14
     If you have problems …………………………………………………..                                p. 15
     Preparing for final year …………………………………………………                              p. 15
     The learning journal ……………………………………………………                                 p. 16
     How was it for you? ……………………………………………………                                  p. 16

Information for Assistants
      Summary of your duties …………………………………………….…                               p. 18
      On receipt of Nomination Papers …………………………………….                          p. 18
      Introductory courses/stages ………………………………………….                            p. 19
      Arriving at your school …………………………………………………                              p. 19
      Teaching duties ………………………………………………………..                                  p. 19
      You and your classes ……………………………………………….…                                p. 20
      Resources ……………………………………………………………..                                      p. 20
      Holidays ………………………………………………………………..                                      p. 21

Information for Law Students
      Toulouse………………………………………………………………..                                       p. 22
      Lyon …………………………………………………………………….                                         p. 23
      Louvain-la-Neuve ……………………………………………………..                                  p. 24
      Bordeaux………………………………………………………………                                         p. 26

A word from those who have been there and survived ……………………...                 p. 28

Appendix A – Glossary of Abbreviations in Accommodation Adverts ……..           p. 29
Appendix B – List of British and Irish Embassies and Consulates in France ..   p. 30
Appendix C - Elements of a basic letter to your school ……………………...             p. 32



                                             2
                     Introduction and Acknowledgements
          Students almost invariably claim that the ‘year abroad’ was one of the most enjoyable
experiences of their lives, and many spend the first few weeks of Level 3 wishing they were
still in France. This will almost certainly be the case for you too. But prior to departure the
thought of working or studying in France can be a daunting one, and anxiety rather than
anticipation may best describe how you are now feeling. The purpose of this guide is to help
take the stress out of organising your stay in France. It aims to provide practical information
on living in France which may help you survive the initial settling in period when you will have
to deal with a lot of new situations (finding somewhere to live, opening a bank account,
settling into a new job etc) with the added complication of negotiating these in a foreign
language. It is intended to supplement, rather than replace, information you may receive
from the British Council, other departments at QUB or from the foreign university you will be
studying at.
          This handbook is based on information provided by students who have recently spent
a year either working or studying in France, so the information should be up-to-date.
However, it is in the nature of such handbooks to be general, and you should remember that
circumstances on the ground may be different from those outlined here – what
documentation different banks ask for may vary from region to region, and it is clear from
questionnaires that no two students have had the same experiences when applying for a
rent rebate. Hopefully if you follow the advice given here, you will be over-prepared rather
than under-prepared for the bureaucratic challenges awaiting you.
          You will also find a lot of very useful information to complement and supplement the
information        in      this     handbook       on      the     British   Council    website
(http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants-documentation.htm): in the event that
advice given here contradicts what is given in the British Council documents, always trust the
British Council documents as these will be more up-to-date.


                                                                            updated June 2009




                                               3
                  Four Important Points to Remember
Completion of the Year abroad and submission of the learning journal are
obligatory requirements for entry into Stage 3. Students who fail to meet these
requirements will not be allowed to register in September 2009. Successful completion
of the year abroad is understood as staying in a French-speaking country for the duration
of your contract as an assistant, or the university year if you are a student. If you are
                                                                          st              th
going to France as an assistant, your contract probably will last from 1 October to 30
April – this means that in order to spend the equivalent of a university year in France (30
weeks) you may not return to the UK/Ireland for the whole of the Toussaint and February
school holidays. Remember that you will be assessed on the year abroad as part of
your degree – it will count as the equivalent of a level 3 module (10% of the
degree), and will be assessed by means of a learning journal, final report and oral
presentation.

The Year abroad is not a Year Off. The purpose of residence abroad is to allow you to
spend a year in a French-speaking country developing your linguistic skills and gaining a
greater understanding of the country and people whose language, history and culture
you are studying. The experience of living abroad will also help you develop significant
professional, personal and transferable skills which will enhance your CV. It is also an
opportunity to prepare for work in final year: details of the filières and optional modules
which will be offered in your final year will be sent to you as soon as they are available,
so you can buy books and even read them in advance (!); you should also take the
opportunity to work on language weaknesses which may have become apparent in the
course of second year. Remember that you will be assessed on your development
during residence abroad in the orals, and in final-year language work.

We are here to help! Although ultimate responsibility for planning the year abroad is
yours, we, along with any other academic department involved in arranging your
residence abroad, will provide as much information, help and support as we can. You
are responsible for all practical matters, including travel to your destination,
accommodation, baggage and health insurance, registering at university and
communication with your school or employer. If you experience any problems in these
areas, you should contact us and we will endeavour to help and provide advice. Above
all, don’t suffer in silence – let us know as soon as possible if there are problems which
you have been unable to resolve satisfactorily.

You must provide us with your address as soon as possible. We will need to
contact you in the course of the year about learning journals and final year filières, so
you must make sure that the department has details of your address in France, and if
possible, details of an e-mail address at which you can be contacted. Don’t forget to
read your QUB e-mail regularly: this will be the main means by which we will
contact you. Please send this information as soon as possible to the address below:
                    School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts
                    (French Studies)
                    Queen’s University Belfast
                    Belfast BT7 1NN
                    Northern Ireland

      Telephone     02890 975365
      Fax           02890 324549
      e-mail        french@qub.ac.uk


                                           4
                               Before you go to France
It is important that you prepare fully for your year in France before you leave Northern
Ireland. You cannot begin this process too early. You will need to ensure that you have
organised finances (either for the whole year if you are going as a student, or for the first
month or two if you are going to be an assistant or on a work placement); you will also need
to make travel arrangements to wherever you are going to be based, and ensure that you
have insurance for the period; finally, you will also need to think about what you want to get
out of this year, and how you intend to go about meeting these objectives.

Documents to take with you

Not everyone will need all of the following, but each has been found to be useful by some
students in the recent past:

Current, full passport, valid until at least October 2010. You do not need a visa to travel to
any of the countries in the European Union (this includes Départements d’Outre Mer such as
Réunion and Martinique).

Birth Certificate and translation. Make sure you have your FULL birth certificate for
France with the names of both your parents (you can obtain this from the Central Registry
Office, Oxford House, Chichester Street, Belfast BT1, tel. 02890 252000.). The British
Council organises translations of birth certificates for all those going as assistants. If you are
a student of Law, European Studies or Accountancy/Finance, check with your department at
Queen’s to see whether previous students have needed to get translations and what
arrangements have been made for this. We can provide semi-offical translations where
required.

At least 8 black and white passport photos – you will need these for transport passes,
student cards etc.

A valid ISIC card – if you buy this in September it will be valid throughout 2009-10. It may
give you reduced price entry to museums and other tourist attractions. You will probably
find, though, that there are fewer student reductions in France than in the UK and Ireland.

Your driving licence in case you ever want to hire a car in France.

Travel

         Obviously, the earlier you book, the cheaper this will be. However, you should also
make sure you know term dates before booking a return flight for December, as most cheap
tickets cannot be changed after purchase (see the details of school holidays given later in
this handbook)
         In general, the easiest (and often cheapest) way to get to anywhere in France is to fly
to Paris and then travel onwards by train (see section on Travel in France, p. 15). Onward
rail travel can be booked before you leave at www.raileurope.co.uk or www.voyages-
sncf.com. Some cheap tickets for the TGV (Prem’s) or iDTGV tickets can be booked online
and printed out for travel: do remember, however, that these cannot be exchanged or
refunded, and that is you miss your train you will have to buy a new full-price ticket.
    You can fly from Belfast to Paris direct with EasyJet (www.easyjet.co.uk) or Aer Lingus
    (though the Aer Lingus Paris flight will be suspended from 23rd October). Both these
    airlines fly into Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, which is on the RER network (line B, direct to
    Chatelet, Gare du Nord etc). If you are travelling on from Paris to another city, there is a
    TGV station at the airport and it may be more convenient to catch the train from there

                                                5
   (you can buy tickets online at www.voyages-sncf.com or www.raileurope.co.uk – be
   careful about buying Prem’s or other discounted fares, though, just in case your flight is
   late, or leave plenty of time between the scheduled arrival time and the departure time of
   the train – 2 hours is recommended to make the transfer, particularly if you arrive on Aer
   Lingus as you will have to change from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 – to transfer use the
   new CDGVal service; EasyJet flights arrive in Terminal 2B, a 10 minute walk to the TGV
   station)
   EasyJet also fly from Belfast to Nice, and Flybe from Belfast to Rennes (Saturdays
   only) and Jet2 Belfast to Toulouse.
   Ryanair, Air France and Aer Lingus fly from Dublin to Paris (in Ryanair’s case, to Paris-
   Beauvais). Beauvais airport (I use the term in its loosest possible sense – you’ll see
   what I mean when you get there!) is about 1hr 15 mins from Paris, and a direct coach,
   which departs about 30mins after arrival from outside the airport building, will take you to
   near James Joyce Pub at Porte Maillot (west of the city, on Métro Line 1, and RER C).
   The coach to Paris costs about a further 13€ and can be purchased online in advance by
   following the link from http://www.aeroportbeauvais.com. From Porte Maillot, it is
   relatively easy to get to the major Paris train stations, from which you can easily travel to
   all major French cities.
   You should also check for flights to other parts of France – Aer Lingus fly to Bordeaux,
   Lyon, Nice and Toulouse from Dublin; Ryanair fly from Dublin to Biarritz, Brest,
   Brussels, Carcassonne, La Rochelle, Marseille and Nantes (they seemed to have
   flights to these destinations at the end of September; there are many other Ryanair
   routes from Dublin to France, but many of these are for the summer months only – they
   may however be useful for your return trip; you can also connect through Stansted on
   Ryanair to a wide range of regional airports. You should bear in mind that Ryanair only
   allow 15Kg of hold luggage, and will charge for anything above that weight).
   Depending on where you are posted, it may be advisable to fly to either Brussels (direct
   from Dublin on either Ryanair or Aer Lingus) or Geneva (Aer Lingus from Dublin)

        Finally, remember when flying that there are baggage weight restrictions and that
although most airlines will allow you to check in a few extra kilos, you are likely to be asked
to pay an excess baggage charge if you try to check in 50 kilos when you are only allowed
20 kilos. Ensure that you are ruthless in your packing, and think about having inessential
‘extras’ sent out by parcel post once you have settled into your accommodation, or brought
out by visiting friends. Incidentally, it can be a good idea to have some visiting friends lined
up for the end of your stay so that they can bring back some of the things you will inevitably
accumulate during your stay in France.

Insurance

        Unless you take out insurance cover, you will not be covered for the costs of medical
treatment in France should you fall ill or have an accident. Obviously we hope this doesn’t
happen, but you should be prepared for it.
        At the very least, if you are going to be working (as an assistant or for a company) or
studying you should get a European Health Insurance Card before you leave the UK – this is
available from most main Post Offices, and will cover about 75% of the costs of emergency
treatment, and between 40 & 70% of prescribed medicines. See www.ehic.org.uk.
        As a Health Insurance Card will not cover all costs of medical and dental treatment,
you are strongly advised to take out additional cover. There are two ways of doing this –
either before you go, through an insurance company here, or in France by joining a mutuelle.
Endsleigh offers a standard policy covering medical expenses, luggage, curtailment of your
stay and personal liability. They have offices in the Students’ Union, and are on the web at
www.endsleigh.co.uk. A 7 month policy with Endsleigh should cost around £85.



                                               6
        You may be able to find other deals through insurance brokers or from other
companies. N.B. You should always discuss the type of cover you need with an insurer
before you decide to buy their policy and check the exclusions in the policy carefully. You
should also ensure that you are covered for the whole of the period that you are in France
(some annual travel policies limit trips to a maximum of 30 days), and that the policy covers
those studying or working in the country. If you are going to be living near a ski resort, or
intend to go skiing during your year abroad, you should ensure that your policy offers winter
sports cover, or arrange extra cover for this period.
        Assistants will be covered by French social security for the duration of their stay.
French social security will cover about 75% of the costs of treatment, and a smaller
percentage of the costs of prescription medicine. If you don’t take out additional insurance
before travelling, you should consider joining a mutuelle in France. A mutuelle is a sort of
social security organisation into which you pay and which covers additional expenses not
already taken care of by social security. The mutuelle for teachers is the MGEN, and will
cover up to 95% of all medical costs (including glasses and contact lenses). When you
arrive, you should ask one of your teachers how you can join (it is likely to cost around 25€
per month). There are other mutuelles which students may wish to consider joining (MNEF,
SMENO). My understanding is that you can only claim from your Mutuelle three months after
joining, so you’ll still need top-up insurance for this period.

Find out about your town

Students currently abroad are unanimous in recommending that you do as much research
on your town/city as possible before you go. In this way you will be more familiar with what
there is to do, what the layout of the town is like and even what your school/university is like.
You should consult the Internet and travel guides (Rough Guide, Lonely Planet etc), and talk
to returning students/your school/the previous assistant. The more information you have,
the easier it will be to prepare for your year there (weather, cost of living, things to bring with
you etc.)

Fees and Finance

        Although you will not be attending classes at QUB next year, you will remain
registered as a student for your year abroad (since it is an obligatory and assessed part of
your course). Students going to EU countries, whether as Erasmus students or as language
assistant,s will have the fees paid for them under the Erasmus scheme by the Department of
Education. In addition, you will receive a small monthly allowance. Those students not
covered under the Erasmus scheme – normally because they are spending a year outside
the EU (eg. Switzerland) or not on an assistantship or studying in one of our Erasmus
partner universities – will be asked to pay half of the minimum fee (circa £600). As you are
registered as a student in the UK, you will be able to take out a student loan before you go to
France. If you have not taken out the full amount of your loan entitlement for level 2, you
may like to think about doing this now so that you have the money before departure
(otherwise it may not come through in time).
        Even if you are going to be working in France, it is recommended that you take no
less than £500 with you, and probably double that if you are going to a big city where you will
have to pay accommodation costs. You will need it until you get your first month’s salary.
There’s no need to carry it all in used £5 notes in your suitcase when you are travelling –
obviously you will need some cash (especially if you are arriving at the weekend, or going
directly to a stage from where it might not be practical to get to a bank), but you should bring
most of the rest in traveller’s cheques. You will probably also be able to use the cashcard
from your bank account here to withdraw money in France (especially if you have a Visa
delta card), but there is usually a minimum charge of £1.50 (or more) for all withdrawals –
check with your bank before you go whether you will be able to use your card and what it will


                                                7
cost you. It is highly recommended that you have a credit card with you for emergencies
(both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in France).

Assessment of the Year Abroad

As stated earlier, successful completion of the Year Abroad is a requirement for entry into
Stage 3 of your degree. In addition, the Year Abroad is assessed by means of a learning
journal, final reflective report and an oral presentation which will take place early in first
semester of your final year. Full details will be provided in the course of the month of June.
This assessment applies to all students spending a year abroad as part of a BA pathway
(eg. single Honours French, joint honours French and German, Spanish, English, History
etc.). It does not apply to students registered on a BSSc, BSc or LLB pathway. This
assessment will count as 10% of your final degree mark – it will thus be an important
element in the determination of your final degree average and degree classification.

Making the most of your Year Abroad

           It is understandable, as you prepare for your year in France, for you to be
preoccupied with practical matters such as finding accommodation and settling into the
school/university/work environment that will be yours for the year. You should however
spend some time, either before you go or at the beginning of your stay, thinking about what
you want to achieve from your year abroad, and how you intend to go about this. Obviously,
we hope that you will improve your linguistic skills, make friends with French people, visit
various areas of the country, and develop an interest in, and enthusiasm for, all things
French. It is all too easy, however, to spend all your time with other Irish or British students
abroad, to speak English all the time, never make the effort to fit in, and to find at the
beginning of May that you have not used your year abroad to its maximum advantage.
           It might be useful to ask yourself the following questions before you go, and set
yourself targets for the end of your stay:

         In what areas of French am I particularly weak?
         How good is my oral comprehension?
         How easy do I find it to read and understand written French?
         Do I need to improve my accent, pronunciation or intonation?
         How much do I know about French society, politics, history? What do I want to find
         out?
         What work do I need to do for final year optional modules?
         How am I going to avoid spending the whole year with other English speakers?
         How am I going to meet and get to know French people?
         How can I use this year to enhance my CV?
         If I want to work in France later, how can I get some work experience or contacts
         while I am in the country?
         (For joint-honours language students) How am I going to keep up my other
         language while in France?
         What areas of France would I really like to visit?

If you have a sense of what you want to achieve by the end of the year, you are more likely
to get the most out of your stay in France, and have not only an enjoyable year, but also a
productive one.




                                               8
                               When you are in France
It is inevitable that when you arrive in France you will not only feel isolated from your normal
support networks, but also frustrated by some of the difficulties that will face you – either in
finding somewhere to live or in dealing with the bureaucracy, not to mention fitting into a new
work or university environment. It is important that you are prepared for this, and that you
don’t expect the first weeks to be easy – it is often said that if you feel lonely, depressed and
ready to come home at the end of October, then you’re on course for an excellent year! The
normal pattern in the year abroad is that after the initial excitement of being in France, there
is a period of adjusting to new surroundings which can lead to a low around the end of
October or the beginning of November. Things tend to improve in the run up to Christmas,
and after holidays normally spent at home, January can be difficult. However, usually by
February people are feeling perfectly at ease in their new environment and before they know
it, the placement is at an end and they wish they could stay on longer. It is worth being
prepared for this cycle, and knowing that it is perfectly normal to feel lost and lonely at times.
And don’t worry if everyone else seems to be having a better time than you – they are
probably feeling the same way as you deep down, and might be happy to talk about it.

Accommodation

         This is always the aspect of life in France that students are most worried about – and
naturally so. Some of you will be in the fortunate position of having accommodation provided
for you (either in halls of residence, a room in the school, or a predecessor’s flat), but be
prepared for it being pretty basic, without some of the mod cons you may take for granted
here (halls of residence in France are not of the same standard as those here). Others will
not be so lucky, and should be prepared for some long days seeking out a suitable flat – this
is likely to be particularly problematic in large cities, and almost impossible to arrange from
here. You should be aware that shared accommodation of the type you may have been
used to here is rarer in France. One useful website you can consult before you go is
www.estudines.fr - this is a private company that rents out studios to students and stagiaires,
and you can reserve over the web (rents average about 350€ for a small, furnished studio).
         If you know that you won’t have accommodation provided for you, it is advisable to try
to go out at least a week before you begin work/term to find somewhere to stay, and you will
have a much bigger choice if you go out in early September (students currently in Toulouse,
Aix and Paris recommend travelling out as early as possible in the summer to arrange
accommodation – though remember that much of France effectively closes down from the
end of July to the end of August, so this is not a good time to go flat hunting). There are
plenty of cheap (though not necessarily very comfortable) hotels in French towns and cities
where you will be able to stay while you search, or you may prefer to stay in one of the many
French youth hostels (get a youth hostel card before you go).
         When you get to your city/town, check out the following as possible sources of help in
the search for accommodation:
        You should first enlist the help of any unsuspecting (and trustworthy) French person
        you can find – whether this be a co-worker, a teacher at your school or your pen
        friend’s great aunt matters not a jot (and get them to ask around for you – it is worth
        being persistent here). Write to your school/company before you go out to France
        and ask about accommodation. Get the name of your predecessor (the British
        Council should also be able to help with this) and find out where he/she stayed and
        whether he/she has any suggestions – follow up as many of them as possible before
        you go out. Word of mouth is often the best way of finding a flat, so be persistent.
        Students who have just returned from France also suggest contacting the local tourist
        agency, as they may be able to provide you with some addresses. If there is a
        university or higher/further education college in your university/town, it may be worth



                                                9
      trying to find out the address of their halls of residence and phoning them on the off
      chance that they have rooms free (it does happen!).
      The local CROUS (if you are in a University town): the CROUS (Centre Régional des
      Œuvres Universitaires et Scolaires) is the equivalent of a student accommodation
      service here, and is run by the state. Most CROUS will have a file of private
      accommodation available and may offer some help or advice – but this service is only
      available to students, so if you are going to be working, you may have to be slightly
      economical with the truth and produce your ISIC card or QUB student card…
      Addresses of CROUS offices can be found on the web at www.crous.fr.
      The local Youth Information and Documentation Centre (Centre Information
      Documentation Jenuesse) will have information on hostels or foyers (usually foyers de
      jeunes travailleurs) in which you may be able to find a room – these are similar to halls
      of residence, and are usually supervised. Some may be for students or young people
      of particular denominations (and some may be single sex).
      If you find that neither of the two agencies above, nor your colleagues/fellow teachers,
      are of any help, then you will need to start scanning the notice boards at the university
      or in the CROUS office and adverts in shop windows, and reading the local paper.
      Remember that unless an advert says that it is a ‘studio/appartement meublé’, the flat
      is likely to be completely empty and may not even have kitchen items such as
      fridge/cooker. A list of common abbreviations in flat descriptions is given in Appendix
      A at the back of this handbook.
      As a last resort, you should consider using one of the private accommodation
      agencies which operate in all French cities – the problem with agencies is that they
      will charge quite a hefty fee, but if you are having no luck finding somewhere, it may
      be worth paying the fee (this will vary, but a minimum seems to be £100, and it may
      be much higher in large cities – as much as one month’s rent!).
      The British Council has a very helpful guide on looking for accommodation in Paris
      http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants-documentation.htm          and      the
      information they provide there will also be relevant to those of you looking for
      accommodation elsewhere in France.

Rent in France is always charged by the month, you should expect to pay around €300-350
per month in provincial cities, and more in larger centres (particularly Paris and Lyon where
you may pay twice that). However, unlike this country, as long as the apartment is déclaré
you will be able to claim a rent rebate (Aide Personnalisée au Logement – see below). You
will normally have to pay a month’s rent in advance, and at least one month’s rent as a
deposit (‘une caution’) – this will be returned to you at the end of the lease subject to the
accommodation being left in satisfactory condition (there will normally be an inspection – ‘un
état des lieux’ – at the beginning of the lease, and another at the end. You will have to sign
these, so make sure you check them carefully – and you should also make sure you are
present for the end-of-lease inspection as unscrupulous landlords have been known to claim
that regular wear and tear constituted damage, and it’s difficult to contest it when you are
back in Belfast…).
        You should also note that one of the conditions of many leases is that you take out
insurance on the flat (you may be able to do this quite cheaply through your bank), and you
will have to pay a ‘taxe d’habitation’. Unlike here, as a tenant, you will be liable for general
repairs to the flat (toilets and showers not working etc.).
        Accommodation in Paris: If you are going to Paris (or somewhere near Paris –
Versailles or Créteil) and accommodation is not being provided for you, it is well worth going
out early to try to find somewhere. The American Church in Paris is a place where
accommodation adverts are posted (65 Quai d’Orsay, métro Invalides), and publications
such as De Particulier à Particulier or Fusac advertise flats and studios to let. Both
publications also have web sites, so you may be able to do some searching before you go:
www.pap.fr and www.fusac.fr. Rent for a studio in Paris is likely to be €450-500 per month.


                                              10
         It is increasingly difficult to find short-term rental accommodation in Paris, so don’t
expect instant success (you may look for a week or longer – but it will be worth it when you
find something suitable and move in and you’ll soon forget about all the hassle). It is
certainly worth having a mobile phone for flat hunting in Paris (see section below on
phones), and it is recommended that you put together a dossier of documents (photocopy of
passport, birth certificate, your contract (or for assistants your ‘arrêté d’affectation’) and a
statement of guarantee that your parents will support you financially if necessary. This
dossier is important as you will find yourself in competition with others to rent a flat (queues
to visit flats are not uncommon) and the more documentation you have, the more attractive
you may appear to a landlord. You will also need a street atlas of Paris for flat hunting (and
indeed for the year in Paris) – you can buy these in most librairies for about €10.
         The Irish College in Paris (in the heart of the Latin Quarter) has some rooms to rent
to students for the year, however demand is always high. You find out more information at
www.centreculturelirlandais.com. The College is situated in the heart of the Latin Quarter,
but the big disadvantage is that you will be surrounded by English speakers almost all the
time…
         Assistants in small, rural towns: Some assistants may find themselves in smaller
towns where it is difficult to find suitable accommodation – in many of these cases the school
will help. If it doesn’t, or tries to make you take something which is unsuitable, complain to
the rectorat – two of our assistants recently found themselves in industrial towns in
substandard accommodation. When they got the local inspecteur/inspectrice d’anglais (or
the primary school inspector, if you are working in primary schools) involved, things were
soon resolved. This should, however, be seen as a last resort – you should try to sort things
out with the school first.
         If, as an assistant, you find that you have been posted to a small town and really find
life there incredibly difficult because there is nothing to do, you should bear in mind that it
may be possible to live in a larger town nearby (where some of your teachers may live) and
commute each day to your school. Although it may mean renting somewhere rather than
benefiting from a cheap (or free) room in the school, it may mean that you have a more
enjoyable and beneficial year. If you think you’d like to do this, don’t be afraid to discuss it
with your ‘responsable’ and other English teachers. If they don’t live in the town, they
probably wouldn’t expect you to, and you may be able to arrange lifts with one of them or
another teacher if the train/bus service isn’t great.

Bank Accounts
        If you elect to take a briefcase of used €50 notes to France with you (rather than the
more conventional methods), it will be important to open a bank account as soon as possible
when you get there. When you are discussing opening an account, you want to get a
current account ‘un compte courant’ or a ‘compte étudiant’, with at least a cheque book (un
chéquier/ un carnet de cheques) and a cash-card (carte de retrait/carte bancaire – though
unlike here, you may not be able to use your card to withdraw money from other banks’
machines, or from machines outside your region. It is worth checking this out when you
open your account), but you should also try to get a debit card (une carte bleue) as these are
widely used in France. If a bank is only offering you ‘un compte étranger’ or ‘compte de non-
résident’ take your business elsewhere as such accounts have very limited services (usually
only a cheque book). There seems to be little to choose between the major French banks,
though you should be prepared to pay for things which are given free here (particularly debit
cards: these cost between €30 and €40, but one student last year with the Banque Populaire
ended up paying €60). A number of students last year recommended Crédit Lyonnais – my
advice would be to shop around a little: ask what documentation they need to open an
account, what kind of account you will have, whether you will have to pay for a debit card
(Carte Bleue), and how long the Carte Bleue will take (some students waited over 3 months
to get a debit card – if a bank tells you this, simply go and check out their rivals!). It is also
advisable to go into smaller branches, if you can – they are likely to be more helpful with
opening the account.

                                               11
         In order to open an account you will need your passport and money for a first deposit
(usually minimum €15), but don’t lodge all your money/travellers cheques when you open
your account as without a card you won’t be able to get at it. You may also be asked to
provide proof of your address (you should get an attestation de logement from your
landlord/school/university, or bring along a copy of your lease). In some cases it will be
necessary to provide proof of income (assistants should bring along their procès-verbal
d’installation, those on work placements should take their contract, and students should try
to find something which proves their source of income for the year – letter from parents,
letter from Student Loans Company, Socrates exchange agreement etc.). When your
account has been opened, you will be given a Relevé d’Identité Bancaire – it is worth asking
for two copies of this (assistants will need to give one to their school to have their salary
credited directly to their account).
         Two points to remember: in France it is illegal to write a cheque if you do not have
sufficient funds in your account, and you will not have the same free overdraft facilities as
you currently enjoy with your bank here. If you do go overdrawn, you must make
arrangements to repay the overdraft immediately – if this is not possible, you will need to talk
to your bank manager to see if he/she can arrange a loan for you. Don’t leave France with
an unpaid overdraft on your account – you will be credit blacklisted and will find it difficult, if
not impossible, to open an account there later in life.
         Finally, you do not need a cheque card to pay by cheque in France (though you may
be asked to provide some form of identification – ‘une pièce d’identité’) – you should
therefore be particularly careful not to lose your cheque book (and if you do, inform your
bank immediately).

Carte de Séjour
       If you are an EU national you will not need to get a Carte de Séjour during your year
in France.

Rent Rebates
        If you are in rented accommodation, you should apply for a rent rebate – those
working will be able to apply for an ‘aide personnalisée au logement’, and students can claim
an ‘aide au logement étudiant’ – but you can only do this if your apartment is ‘déclaré’ or
‘conventionné’, so remember to ask this when you are considering renting somewhere.
Obviously if you are getting somewhere really cheap it doesn’t matter if it is déclaré or not as
you probably wouldn’t get a rent rebate – according to one student you have to be paying
more than ¼ of your monthly salary in rent. Rebates again seem to vary from city to city and
from region to region – this is because the amount of the rebate is calculated according to
the income of those living there, the amount of the rent, the type of accommodation and the
region. You can expect, however, to get back between 20 and 40% of your rent. Before you
go to France, you can even get a copy of the forms on the web at www.caf.fr. Otherwise you
should go to the local office of the Caisses d’allocations familiales and apply there – as with
the carte de séjour, the trick is to arrive early and to be patient. One student from last year
recommends asking to speak to someone when there so that you are clear about exactly
what documentation you will have to provide, and how to fill in the forms. Most landlords or
agencies will be familiar with APL and should be willing to help with the forms, though
according to most of last year’s students the form is relatively straightforward. You may
need to provide all or some of the following: a photocopy of the relevant pages of your
passport, birth certificate and translation, contract, relevé d’identité bancaire, receipt for rent,
passport, bulletin salaire (your first month’s salary slip). It’s worth having the original and
some photocopies – one student couldn’t get her rent rebate last year until she sent in the
original of her birth certificate and her pay slip. You should apply for the rebate as soon as
possible; the rebate will be backdated – so even if the process seems to take a while and
you are asked to provide originals of documents or need to give more information, it will be
worth it if you get a nice sum credited to your bank account! Back payments are apparently
limited to 3 months – so make sure you apply before Christmas.

                                                12
Telephones
        If you have your own apartment, it may be worth having a phone installed – this can
be done much more cheaply in France than here (about €15), and will involve a trip to the
local branch of France Télécom, armed with your passport and proof of where you live. If
there has been a phone there before, it will be helpful to know the previous person’s number
as this will speed up the process. UK landline phones cannot be used in France so don’t
bother bringing one with you).
        If you have a mobile phone, before you leave Northern Ireland, check whether it
works in France or not (you may have to set up your account for this) and what the costs of
calls there will be. You will probably want to put a French SIM card (‘carte SIM’) into your
current phone (especially if you know you’ll need to phone - and be phoned – to sort out
accommodation). Pay-as-you go SIMs are generally reasonably priced (15 euros), though
phonecalls are expensive (50 euro cents a minute at peak rate). Bouygues Télécom offer
quite good deals on pay-as-you go SIMs (Carte Nomad). Check before you go that your
phone is not ‘locked’ so that it only works with one (UK) network; if it is, pick up a cheap
unlocked phone on Ebay, or get your phone unlocked!
        If you prefer not to run up huge bills on a mobile phone, 50 and 120 unit telephone
cards (télécartes) are widely available from most newsagents and ‘tabacs’. You can also get
telephone cards from companies other than France Télécom which use a secret PIN number
- most students last year recommended these as being much cheaper, especially for those
long phonecalls home!

Travel in France
          The public transport system in France is much better than anything you’ll have
experienced in the UK or Ireland – fast, efficient and relatively cheap. In most provincial
cities there is a very good bus service – if you are going to be using this regularly it’s likely to
be cheaper to buy tickets in books of 10 (‘un carnet’) or buying a weekly or monthly ticket (in
Paris this is the Pass Navigo – for which you’ll need a photo!). If you are an assistant and
have to travel to work, you should be able to claim back some of your travel costs – ask your
school. You must validate your ticket when you get on to the bus, otherwise you may be
liable for a fine, and playing the dumb foreigner no longer seems to wash with French public
transport inspectors!
          If you are going to travel around France when you are there, chances are you will use
the train as internal flights are expensive and there is no national coach service. As a
student you will be able to buy discounted tickets: you can get a Carte 12-25 from the local
train station (cost €49 – you can buy this online before going to France at www.sncf.com)
which will give you reductions on all rail travel for the year. The reduction will depend on
whether you travel in peak periods or not – the SNCF divide the year into red, white and blue
periods: red is peak period (usually around the beginning or end of school holidays), white is
the weekly peak time (usually Friday afternoons, Sunday evenings and Monday mornings),
and blue is normal. You won’t get a reduction on train travel during ‘red’ periods, but will get
25% off the cost of travel during ‘white’ periods and 50% off during ‘blue’ periods. The Carte
12-25 will also give you reductions on Avis car hire, flights to the US with United Airlines and
travel to London on the Eurostar – profitez-en!
          You can also get other reductions by booking your ticket well in advance – these are
known as Prem’s tickets and can give you reductions of up to 60% if you book 30 days in
advance. The only problem is that you cannot change your reservation once you have made
it, but if you are organised it can work out cheaper than using the Carte 12-25. You can also
book certain special TGV journeys online at idtgv.com (these run from Paris to Marseille,
Nice and Toulouse, and can cost as little as 20 euros one way from Paris to Toulouse at the
end of September). For Prem’s and iDTGV tickets you order them online and print out the
ticket.
          You must also validate (‘composter’) your ticket before you get on the train – you do
this by inserting it into one of the orange date stamp machines at the entrance to the

                                                13
platforms. If you do not ‘composter’ your ticket you may be liable to pay a fine on the train.
This does not apply to tickets you’ve printed yourself.

Safety and Security
        On the whole, most cities in France are no more dangerous than Belfast. However,
as a foreigner you may be more vulnerable simply because you do not know what signs to
look out for and what areas to avoid. Once you arrive in your town/city it is worth finding out
from someone in your school/university/company what are the areas to avoid at night. You
may also find that certain types of behaviour which are perfectly acceptable here are
misinterpreted abroad – this may include dress codes, women drinking alone in bars etc. In
certain areas with large Arab populations, women may be more open to verbal abuse or
harassment – if this happens to you, the best advice is to ignore it and simply to walk on
(you will notice that this is what the locals do). But this type of incident is rare, and you
should not let it get to you. Take sensible security measures and you should have no
problems during your year abroad:
       don’t walk home alone at night
       don’t give out your phone number or address to strangers
       don’t get into a car with someone unless you know you can trust them
       view unsolicited friendliness with caution
       don’t open your door until you know who is there
       keep your door locked at all times
       if you feel particularly worried, carry an alarm or a mobile phone with you
If, however, you are the victim of crime or an attack, report it to the police and inform the
French Department immediately. You should also make sure, before you go to France, that
you have the telephone number to cancel all your UK/Irish credit or bank cards in case these
are stolen when you are abroad. You should similarly get a number to cancel your Carte
Bleue in the event of theft from your French Bank when you open your account. If you lose
your passport, you will need to contact the local British or Irish Embassy/Consulate
(addresses are given in Appendix B).

Medical Treatment
        In France there is no need to register with a doctor and you will be free to choose
your own doctor should you need to go and see one. However, unlike here, the system for
medical treatment in France is that you pay for all treatment and then claim a refund. This
refund will be based on standard consultation rates, so before you go to see a doctor you
should make sure that he/she is ‘conventionné’ (ie. that he/she doesn’t charge higher rates
which you won’t be able to claim back). The consultation fee will be around €20, though you
will pay more for ‘out-of-hours’ consultations (weekends, nights, holidays). You should try to
get the name and address of a good doctor in your area from your teachers/the CROUS
office/your colleagues/a local pharmacie (which should have details of doctors on duty at
night/during the weekend). When you go to the doctor you will be given a ‘feuille de soins’
(statement of treatment given to you by the doctor at the end of the consultation). If you are
given a prescription you will have to pay the pharmacist for the medicines. In order to claim
a rebate, you should attach the ‘vignettes’ (sticky labels) from any prescribed medicines to
this ‘feuille de soins’ and take it with your passport and your Social Security Card (Carte
d’assuré) to the local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (ask your pharmacist where this
is and ask him/her to check that your ‘feuille de soins’ is properly filled out). At the Caisse
Primaire d’Assurance Maladie you should find a counter for EU members where your claim
will be assessed and then you will be sent to join a queue to wait for your rebate to be paid
out.
        For minor ailments you should consider consulting a local pharmacist before going to
the doctor – they can advise on basic medicines and treatments and save you a visit to the
doctor. It is also worth bringing some basic supplies with you (aspirins, plasters, flu



                                              14
remedies etc) as these are generally more expensive in France, and can only be bought
from pharmacies.
       If you have an on-going medical condition which requires regular medication, make
sure you have sufficient supplies of this medication with you and keep a note of what your
doctor here has prescribed for you – it may help if you have to go to see a French doctor.

French Universities
        Those of you going out to France as students should be prepared to find yourselves
in a very different environment from the one you are used to here. Universities in France are
much larger than here, as all students who pass the baccalauréat can enrol on a course
(though the failure rate at the end of first year is about 50%). Classes are therefore larger,
and seminars (‘travaux dirigés’) may have between 40 and 100 students in them… Do not
expect the same level of staff-student interaction as here – some lecturers may only be in
the university one or two days a week, and will only see students during their office hours
(‘heures de permanence’). Most of you will, however, have one lecturer in charge of you as
Socrates or foreign-exchange students, and it is to this person that you should address all
queries or problems.
        Most French students study at their local university and tend to go home at the
weekend. There is no real equivalent of the Students’ Union in French universities but there
will be a range of sporting and academic associations that you can join, and the local
CROUS does act as a focus for some social and cultural activities. Libraries also tend to be
smaller than here, so you may find that you will be expected to buy more books as copies
won’t be available to borrow.
        For students studying Law, see the advice at the end of this Handbook.

Cost of Living
        In general living in France is not much more expensive than here (especially once
you find the cheaper supermarkets and shops – though the current exchange rate between
the Pound and the Euro will probably mean that those initial few weeks until you get paid will
be more expensive) – most of last year’s students found food, wine, eating out and clothes
to be slightly less expensive than in Belfast, though drinking in bars, going to nightclubs and
the cinema can be more expensive. Most students recommended bringing a duvet with you.
And don’t forget to bring travel adaptors with you for all your electrical goods – it’s cheaper to
buy them here than in France. If you can fit them in, it might be worth bringing the following:
mug, plate, bowl, cutlery, a travel iron, alarm clock, tin opener, scissors and some basic
medicines. This should help you keep costs down in the first month. And don’t forget to
pack your Oxford-Hachette French-English dictionary!
        You should expect non-French foods to cost more than in the UK – cornflakes, baked
beans, Marmite, peanut butter, teabags, instant coffee etc (but why would you want to spend
a year in France drinking instant coffee and eating cornflakes?). If you absolutely cannot
survive without these, you may need to arrange to have your own private supply sent over at
regular intervals! Other things which are often more expensive include toiletries, greetings
cards and chocolates. Books are however much cheaper, so get reading for final year!

Integration
            There is no point in hiding the fact that when you go to France, you may find it
difficult to establish a new group of friends and social circle. Think about it – how many
French exchange students do you know in Queen’s? How much interest did you show in
your French assistant at school? When you arrive in France, you will most probably find
yourself in the middle of established social circles – you will have to make the effort to get to
know people and to get involved. Don’t give up even if you find yourself in a small town or
feel that your French isn’t up to socialising: all problems can be overcome if you persevere.
And try not to spend all your time with other foreign students or assistants – these groups
can provide useful peer support and reassurance, but they won’t help you to meet French
people and further your understanding of the country whose language you are studying.

                                               15
            Particularly at the beginning, you should accept all invitations (within reason), and
if you find that you aren’t free that weekend/evening, suggest another day when you are free
(otherwise the invitation may not be renewed). If you have particular interests – cinema,
sport, church, music – you should try to find out about groups that meet in your area and go
along to them and speak to someone at the end about getting more involved (check out at
the local Tourist Information office, Town Hall or Centre Information et Documentation
Jeunesse for a list of clubs and activities in your area). If you don’t have any particular
hobbies, think about trying something new – taking evening classes, getting involved in
volunteer groups, learning a new language, giving private English lessons, offering to babysit
for a colleague’s children. The activity may not excite you, but it may be a way of meeting
some new people, who may in turn introduce you to others. Assistants may find it useful to
enrol in their local university as an ‘auditeur libre’ – this will allow you to attend classes (but
you won’t be enrolled for a specific course and won’t sit exams) and may help you to meet
people as well as preparing you for final year. You can also get to know French people by
taking a part-time job of some sort (many of our students have, in the past, worked in Irish
bars – there seems to be at least one in almost all major cities in France now), by giving
private lessons (try to arrange these by word of mouth through colleagues rather than by
advertising so as to avoid unwelcome phonecalls) or by advertising for conversation
exchange (French-English).
            Whatever you do, remember that you will get nowhere if you don’t take the first
step – the people around you will have busy lives, and may not take the time to involve you
unless you take the initiative. They may simply assume that you already have a very full
social life, and wouldn’t want to be invited to their maison de campagne for the weekend!

If you have problems…
           Although we hope this won’t be the case, problems may arise. Hopefully many of
these can be solved by the teacher responsible for you or by your Socrates Co-ordinator. If,
however, they cannot help, you should get in touch with French Studies at Queen’s and the
British Council in Belfast for advice, or if you are on a Socrates exchange through Law or
European Studies, you should contact the relevant department. A French Studies tutor
normally visits students whom we have sent out as assistants during reading week of first
semester (early November) – logistically it is impossible to get to see everyone, so he/she
usually tries to get to 4 or 5 major centres around France, and this visit can provide an
opportunity to discuss problems, or indeed for the tutor to try to help resolve the problem if
you have let us know about it in advance.

Preparing for final year
        The purpose of the year abroad in France is to enable you to improve significantly the
standard of your spoken French. This will not happen miraculously just because you are
there for 7 or 8 months. You will be assessed in final year at a much higher level than in
level 2, and you will have 2 oral exams (one in first semester on your year abroad, the other
in May). It is up to you to make the most of the opportunity of living in France to make sure
that your French improves. Broadly speaking, you should set yourself the following
objectives:
       interact as much as possible with French speakers
       improve your comprehension of both spoken and written French
       extend your vocabulary
       improve your oral fluency
       develop a better French accent and intonation
       become more sensitive to the different registers of French (informal, formal, spoken,
       written)
Don’t be too daunted by these – we don’t expect you to come back speaking like a French
person, but we do expect to see the benefits of the year in France in your final year



                                                16
language work. There are a number of ways you can go about improving your French while
you are away:
      speaking to people is the best way of improving your oral skills – follow the tips given
      above to maximise interaction.
      listen to the radio regularly (France Inter rather than NRJ) and concentrate on what is
      being said to improve your oral comprehension – you should find that this will
      gradually improve.
      read French newspapers and magazines regularly, and note down new vocabulary or
      expressions that you could use in written work when you come back to QUB. This will
      also help you to keep abreast of current affairs which will be useful for your final-year
      written and spoken language classes. By the end of the year you should be able to
      read a newspaper article and understand most of it without a dictionary – you will
      need this skill for final-year résumé writing.
      watch the TV and go to the cinema to see French films.
      read books for final year modules, or ask friends and colleagues to recommend good
      paperback fiction as bedtime reading – you could start with writers like Pennac,
      Nothomb, Vargas and Daeninckx.
      try to write French regularly – think about writing a summary of a film or TV
      programme you have seen, or an article you have read and ask a French colleague to
      correct it (and offer to do the same for them in English if they want). Pay careful
      attention to the problems they detect – whether it be vocabulary or grammar. Bring a
      grammar book with you so that you can refresh your memory on grammatical points
      that you may have forgotten – you will have more time to devote to this in France than
      in the stressed environment of final year.
The more you immerse yourself in a French environment and surround yourself with written
and spoken French, the better your own French will become (and it is of course easier to
create this type of environment in France than in Belfast).
        If you would like more advice on improving your French while you are away contact
one of your tutors.

The learning journal
           You will be required to complete a learning journal during your stay in France. In
your learning journal you will be asked to reflect on your experiences, your linguistic
progress and your social activities. You will complete an entry every fortnight during the year
and then write a reflective report based on these experiences. The journal must be handed
in by September 2009, and will be read by tutors in French. It goes without saying that if you
have completed the journal carefully during the year and thought about your experiences you
will have more material to draw on for both the reflective report and the oral presentation
than if you hastily throw something together in May.
           Apart from the fact that you have to because it will form part of the assessment of
the year abroad, it is worth taking the time to complete the journal properly as it will:
          provide a record of your year abroad
          it will help you to set objectives, and to review progress during the year
          it will help you to identify areas (linguistic, personal, professional) in which you are
          making progress
          it will also provide useful material for when you are drawing up a CV or preparing
          for interviews, and thinking about what you did on your year abroad and what you
          got out of it.

How was it for you?
           Ultimately you will get out of the year abroad what you put into it – if you make an
effort, you will have an enjoyable time in France, make new friends and gain a wealth of
experience. You can expect to return a more mature, more self-reliant, more confident
person, with enhanced linguistic ability, a range of skills which employers are looking for

                                               17
(initiative, independence, the ability to manage your time, the experience of coping alone in a
foreign culture, presentation skills, the ability to work in a team, teaching experience etc.).
Make the most of it, and ENJOY!|




                                              18
                             Information for Assistants
All those appointed as assistants will, in due course, receive a very helpful information pack
from the British Council. The information given below will probably duplicate some of that,
but it also aims to provide some more information based on the experiences of students
working as assistants last year. The British Council information will be the most up to date,
so follow the information and guidance which they give you, just in case this has changed
from last year.

Summary of your duties
        You will normally be appointed either to a primary school, a collège (pupils aged 11-
15) or to a lycée (15-19 years, or older if the lycée has BTS students). You may be shared
between two or more schools – the maximum number of schools you can work in is 3. While
the prospect of being shared between schools may not seem like an enticing one, it does
have some advantages, notably that you will meet more teachers. The drawback can be
travel to the schools, particularly in more rural areas – if travel to a school is difficult you
should raise the matter with the school concerned (could a teacher come and pick you up?),
and if this doesn’t work, contact the ‘responsable’ in your académie.
                                    st             th
        Your contract lasts from 1 October to 30 April in France, and you are contracted to
work 12 hours a week. You will receive the usual school holidays (see below), but otherwise
you should not be absent from your school without prior permission.
        The monthly salary last year was approx €944.87 gross, but a compulsory 17%
deduction was made from this for social security leaving €775. You should get paid at the
end of October, but if you don’t you should arrange to get an ‘avance sur salaire’ from your
school (you will normally need to apply to the ‘intendant’ for this – the ‘intendant’ looks after
the day-to-day running of the school). You are not liable for French tax on your salary, but
you may be liable for UK tax on return, especially if you had a part-time job during in the year
before you left for France (you should check this out with your tax office before you go to
France).
        You should remember at all times that you are in a post in the French education
system and you should adopt a professional approach to your work – observe the
conventions of dress in your school and conform to these; be punctual and prepared for your
classes; say ‘vous’ to other members of staff (at least until they say that you can ‘tutoyer’
them).

On receipt of Nomination Papers
        You should receive your nomination papers to the particular school(s) you are being
sent to in July. When you receive these you should send the yellow acceptance form
(AD/F9) to the British Council – these will be distributed in June. When the British Council
receives this form they will send you further information, including the name and address of
your predecessor (if this is available) and a copy of their questionnaire. However, the British
Council only has details of former UK participants (your predecessor may have been
American or Australian), so you may have to try to get their name and address from your
host school. The host school will normally be the first one listed on the nomination papers,
and you should write to the school as soon as possible (a basic letter is given below in
Appendix C) to say that you are accepting the post and to introduce yourself. This letter will
also allow you to ask for the name and address of your predecessor, for details of the
teacher who will be in charge of you (it is a good idea to write to him/her before you go) and
to enquire about what accommodation the school may be able to provide you with. Do not
expect to receive an immediate reply to your letter if you write at the end of July as most
French schools are completely closed during August – if you haven’t heard anything by early
September phone your school and speak to the head (proviseur in a lycéee, principal in a
collège), and ask for the phone number of the English teacher who will be responsible for
you.


                                               19
Introductory courses/stages
        Each académie in France organises a ‘stage’, usually at the end of September and
you are expected to attend these. There may be follow-up ‘stages’ later in the year (many
assistants find these to be more useful than the introductory ‘stage’). Details of the ‘stage’
will be sent directly to you by the French authorities. At the ‘stage’ you will have a chance to
meet other assistants and the person in the rectorat (equivalent of Education and Library
Board for each region) who is responsible for assistants. You will also learn more about your
duties and be given (hopefully) some more tips on teaching, and learn more about the region
and education system you are going to be working in.

Arriving at your school
          Most assistants go directly from the ‘stage’ to their school – you should contact one
of the English teachers before the ‘stage’ to let them know when exactly you will be arriving
and ask for directions to the school (or ask whether someone might be able to come and
collect you). If you know you won’t have accommodation provided for you and go out to
France earlier in September to find somewhere to live, it would be worth arranging to visit
your school then (not least because the teachers should be able to help you with finding
accommodation). Try not to arrive in your school on a Friday with the prospect of a lonely
weekend in sight (or if this is unavoidable, try to arrange to meet someone on the Saturday).
          When you arrive, you will have to sign your ‘procès-verbal d’installation’ (payment of
your salary depends on this). You will also need to provide the ‘intendance’ with a copy of
your ‘relevé d’identité bancaire’ once you have opened a bank account (so that your salary
can be credited directly to your account). You will also need to organise social security
registration through the ‘intendant’ in your school – you will be issued with a ‘numéro
d’affiliation’ while you are waiting for your ‘carte de sécurité sociale’ (you will need this to
claim for the reimbursement of medical expenses). If your school is providing you with
accommodation, you will also need to get an ‘attestation de logement’ from the ‘intendant’.
          The English teacher in charge of you should talk to you about your timetable and
your duties – but be prepared to wait for some time before your timetable is finalised!
          You should try from the beginning to become fully involved in the life of the school.
Traditionally French schools have organised fewer extra-curricular activities, but you will find
that there are some clubs and sporting events organised – get involved in these activities if
they interest you. You should also make contact with teachers of other disciplines which
interest you (Music, PE, French Literature, German) and perhaps ask if you can sit in on
some of their classes (this may be particularly useful if you are in a lycée). Say hello to other
teachers in the Salle des Profs or in the corridor and try to engage them in conversation and
show an interest in what they are doing (ask one of the English teachers to introduce you to
other teachers). If you can, have lunch in the school – the food is usually of a high quality
(and relatively cheap), and it’s a good way of meeting and speaking to other teachers. You
should also try to get to know the ‘surveillants’ at your school – these are university students
paid to supervise students, and will be close to your own age. They are a useful source of
information on the school and on what to do in the town/city.

Teaching duties

The type of classes you are called on to teach will vary from school to school: in some cases
you will take half the class for an hour while the English teacher has the other half; you may
be involved in the classroom with the teacher; you may be asked to organise a voluntary
English Club or to record material for the school. You should not be asked to teach a full
class of over 30 students, and you are entitled to refuse to do this if your school asks you to.
You are entitled to a period of observation of classes at the beginning (1-2 weeks), and you
should insist on this.


                                               20
        The school timetable is likely to be very different from what you were used to: classes
start at 8am and may not finish until 6pm, and most French schools do not have classes on
Wednesdays and instead teach on Saturday morning. Very few assistants are asked to
teach on Saturdays, but this is allowed – you should try to negotiate so that you have
Monday off in return, or see if you can teach every other Saturday.
        It is unlikely that you will have your own room, and will probably have to get the key to
the room you are teaching in before you go to it (and possibly fetch your class from the
playground – this is particularly true of collèges).

You and your classes
       The following points include advice on teaching – some of it will seem obvious, but it
may help with some of the initial problems (and don’t worry – your teaching will improve in
the course of the year as you build up your confidence):
      Get a list of pupils’ names at the beginning and try to learn them (even set some
      written work as returning work is a good way of learning names)
      Be punctual – you can control a class much better if you are in the room before they
      arrive.
      Find out early on how you get photocopies made (it may not be possible to have them
      done at the last minute) and how you book a TV and video.
      Be firm with discipline at the beginning – it is much easier to relax discipline as you
      build up a rapport with a class than to try to restore it if you have started off being too
      friendly. Find out from the English teachers how you should deal with troublemakers.
      Be enthusiastic and only speak English in class (and even outside class) – if you start
      to use French the pupils will take advantage of this. Use pictures and mime if
      necessary to explain something rather than resorting to French.
      Don’t do all the talking – you are there to get them to speak English.
      Choose your vocabulary carefully – younger pupils will have a very limited range of
      English.
      Be clear, speak slowly, be prepared to repeat yourself – and be prepared for
      comments about your Northern Irish accent (pupils will be used to American or BBC
      English and will be completely unaware of regional variations). Don’t take comments
      about your accent personally.
      Plan your lessons carefully in collaboration with the English teachers – they may have
      particular things they’d like you to cover, or indeed ideas for you.
      Have more than enough material for an hour – and always have back-up activities if
      you find the one you had planned on using is too difficult, and try to vary the range of
      activities (always reading a text or doing role play will become boring for students).
      Use authentic and relevant material.
      Don’t speak only to the gifted children. Encourage everybody.
      Be patient.
      Don’t expect enthusiasm. Reward the class for good work.
      Be confident, even when you’re not. Try not to shout all the time -and save your anger
      for when it is really needed.
      Have a sense of humour; learn to laugh at your mistakes.
      Don’t let teachers make unfair demands of you. If you take on extra, make sure it’s
      your choice.

Resources
         Much useful English language material for classes can be found on the internet, and
I’ve listed a number of useful sites below. You might also like to buy the Sourcebook for
Teaching English as a Foreign Language by Michael Lewis and Jimmy Hill.
         Games and simple activities work well with students of all ages, and groupwork or
role-playing in pairs is a good way of getting students to speak English in class (without the
pressure of doing so in front of all their classmates). Think about designing puzzles,

                                               21
quizzes, activities involving asking questions or directions, using Pictionary to teach and
revise vocabulary, filling in the blanks exercises with songs etc. Dvds of Friends apparently
work well with Terminale students. With older students at lycée you can also use magazine
articles to start discussions and debates (read newspapers and magazines over the summer
with a pair of scissors in your hand!).
        Bring some authentic materials with you – maps of Belfast that you can use for
directions, timetables for role plays, teenage magazines, information on pop stars, cartoons,
pictures, music CDs etc. Some information on Northern Ireland may be useful for older
pupils, but don’t expect them to be interested in the intricacies of the political situation here.

Holidays over school year

France is divided into 3 zones for the purposes of school holidays – holidays at Toussaint
and Christmas are common for all zones, but the February and Easter holidays are
staggered. The académies in the three zones are:
   Zone A – Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes,
          Rennes, Toulouse.
   Zone B – Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours,
          Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg.
   Zone C – Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris, Versailles.

ANNÉE SCOLAIRE 2009-2010

                                ZONE A                    ZONE B                 ZONE C

Rentrée des
                       Mardi 1er septembre 2009
enseignants (*)

Rentrée scolaire des
                       Mercredi 2 septembre 2009
élèves

                       Samedi 24 octobre 2009
Toussaint
                       Jeudi 5 novembre 2009

                       Samedi 19 décembre 2009
Noël
                       Lundi 4 janvier 2010

                       Samedi 13 février 2010     Samedi 6 février 2010   Samedi 20 février 2010
Hiver
                       Lundi 1er mars 2010        Lundi 22 février 2010   Lundi 8 mars 2010

                       Samedi 10 avril 2010       Samedi 3 avril 2010     Samedi 17 avril 2010
Printemps
                       Lundi 26 avril 2010        Lundi 19 avril 2010     Lundi 3 mai 2010

Début des vacances
                       Vendredi 2 juillet 2010
d’été (**)



In some cases your school holidays will be different to those given above (particularly for the
Toussaint, Hiver and Printemps holidays). This is because some schools now work on the
‘semaine de 4 jours’ and have in return to work 12 extra days. You should check on arrival
whether your school is one of those participating in this pilot scheme.

Of course, although the ‘rentrée des profs’ is 1st September, your contract will not begin until
 st
1 October.


                                                  22
                           Information for Law Students
All this information comes from students who have studied in these cities. The views
expressed are those of the authors… NOTE that some of this information is over 3 years old
now: please bear this in mind when consulting this section (please do let us know if you have
more up-to-date information which would benefit future students: you can e-mail this to
n.harkness@qub.ac.uk)

Toulouse

Accommodation
        In Toulouse there are two types of accommodation: public and private halls of
residence. Public halls don't have any cooking facilities and are on the outskirts of town. As
such then this type of residence should be last on the list as renting a room from a landlord
would be a better option. The problem with private halls is that the university doesn't allocate
them, the student has to apply for them. The application form must be submitted before the
end of APRIL In my opinion, private halls are the best option, particularly as they are close to
university and to the centre and you can claim back rent rebate. If you have to rent
accommodation from a landlord you must go out to Toulouse no later then the end of June
as this is when all the good and reasonable flats are available. You should spend a week in
Toulouse in June that way at least you will obtain accommodation and can get to know the
place before you go in September (it won't seem that much of a shock). Also, all of this
years students will still be in Toulouse then and they are willing to help and advise anyone in
terms of accommodation and the general way of life out there.

University
       You will have to sign a contrat d'études when you enrol at the University through the
Erasmus office. This is basically a list of the modules you will be taking. Here is some
advice on modules from a student currently in Toulouse:
         Core module that you have to take is European law. This is a 3rd year module in
         Toulouse so look under the module section termed ‘licence’. There are 2 European
         modules, one in each semester. You don't have to do both but it will reduce your
         chance of failing if you do. Exams at this level are oral based and you will have to
         take a tutorial as well.
         The rest is left up to you to decide. My advice would be to do anything that has
         introduction in the title eg. intro to public/private law. These are 1st year modules
         and are easy to understand. Exams in 1st year are written. You can take a tutorial
         with each of these which is oral based: take them as they are an easy 2 ECTS
         credits. The one module to avoid is 2nd year civil law - it is a nightmare to
         understand and to pass.
         Most of the teachers are very sympathetic towards you but only if they see that you
         are trying to make an effort. If all of you do the same modules then in tutorials you
         can nominate yourselves to do a class presentation on a subject. It’s very easy and
         you will gain the sympathy vote from your teacher in any oral exam.
         You are expected to hand in pieces of work but you can avoid it by handing in any
         written work at the end of the semester. Attendance is obligatory but not strictly
         enforced (interpret that as you want!!).”

      UT1 is excellent for sport but they are very strict on documentation. To play at any
competitive level you have to have a medical in France. Don't worry: it’s quite harmless and
quick. Anyone who plays tennis should sign themselves up for classes (no matter how good
you are) as the courts are excellent and the level of training is conducted by a professional
tennis coach.


                                              23
Nightlife
        The Erasmus association organise many soirées for students - one every night of the
week in a different venue. Not always the most appealing of places but cheap booze but do
be prepared to stand outside - small bars, lots of people. The Frog and Rosbif English bar is
quite popular especially during sport events such as the Champions League and the 6
Nations. Going out can be quite expensive. Bodega Bodega is just one of the local
nightclubs, but they do rip you off by giving you your change in tokens rather than Euros,
therefore you have to spend them all in the club. Some of the clubs are poky and tacky and
definitely don't go alone if you are a girl. There are lots of cafés to sit in and watch the world
go by (which the French seem to do all day every day). This is nice in the good weather,
especially in the evenings.
        Toulouse is one of the smallest cities on offer and is student based. As such the
weekends can be a dull affair as much of the good nightclubs are on the outskirts of the city.
The general format is that nightclubs don't open until 1am. If you have to pay to get in then
its a good club - if you don't, avoid it as it will be a sleazy pit!!

Safety
         The most important thing to note is that if you are blond-haired and female you will
suffer some form of harassment. Normally its from the Arab population and in the form of
verbal abuse. Chill out and just walk past them as they are looking for a reaction from you.
At the start you will feel very intimidated but you will get used to it. This is normal in most
cities in France. What you should avoid at all costs is walking home at night alone - this
applies to both males and females. Toulouse is a very old city with cobbled streets and many
alleyways. As such you will never fully know the city in detail and you can find yourself in
problems. Stick to the main routes ie. past the shops. Make sure that preferably a male
student (who you know well) will walk you home. If you do feel uncomfortable walking home
avoid speaking in English and carry with you at all times a rape alarm and your mobile
phone.

Travel from Toulouse
        Toulouse is quite good for travelling if you want to go to Barcelona which is about 5
hours by train and would cost about £25. Paris is 5-6 hours away depending on whether you
take the slow train (cheaper) or the TGV (dearer but faster). The Cote d'Azur will also be
popular when it gets hotter. To get to Italy it is cheaper to go via Lyon. The SNCF do
special trips at weekends for a good price as do the Erasmus associations in your host
university.

Weather
         September and October were still really hot. Sudden change on 1 November when it
felt colder than Northern Ireland in January. In December it reached -12°C when we were
coming home. Definitely bring a warm coat, gloves, scarf and woolly hat. It gets warmer in
March, bring some summer clothes back after Easter.

Lyon (updated 2009)

Some advice from a student currently there :
      Queens requires 40 credits to pass the year including an FEC equivalent.
      HOWEVER Jean Moulin requires 52 credits for their diploma (DEUF-Diplôme des
      Études Universitaires françaises) - that includes the compulsory tutorat (2 credits), a
      2hr orientation class each week and FLE (4 credits per semester), a 2 hr French
      language class per week. There was some confusion over which qualification we
      were trying to achieve and unfortunately we didn't take enough credits in the first



                                               24
       semester and had to take a lot more in the second to try and get the DEUF giving
       ourselves a lot more work.
       Students should therefore pick up to 25 credits each semester for the DEUF. We
       later found out that a translation course and sports courses at the University count
       towards the DEUF but also for Queens. Also you have to study at least one tutorial
       or TD as they call it. I would recommend droit constitutionnel or droit civil. Stick to
       first year subjects for the TD.
       The orientation course provided by Jean Moulin did not honestly seem worth the
       money for what was provided. It cost 200 euros and we basically went to class for 2
       weeks and they provided 2 or 3 Erasmus Soirees but the people we met on the
       course did turn out to be our long term friends over here so in that sense it was
       beneficial.
       I would recommend students to find colocataires, preferably French to practise more
       often and meet French friends through their flatmates. Do not get a studio as the rent
       is unbelievably expensive even with CAF (www.caf.fr- the French rebates system for
       students).
       When you arrive the first thing you should do is go to Jean Moulin and register. Then
       you can get a bank account and then you can get CAF organised. These things rely
       on the order you do them as French administration is so fussy. You need proof of
       scholarship to get a bank account. You need a bank account to get CAF. But you
       also need proof of residence to get these last two. This was a nightmare to sort out at
       the start.
       I would also recommend students to get a student TCL pass as soon as possible
       which is 5 euros for the card and then 30 euros for each month. This is then allows
       unlimited travel on bus, metro and tram. On the other hand, although Lyon is big
       there is the Vélo V system which provides a bike hire system across the city with the
       possibility of a weekly pass for 3 euros and the first half hour free of travel. Although
       the city is imposing at the start you soon find out that it doesn't take long to travel
       around it and you can always exchange the Vélo V every half an hour to avoid
       paying, so you have a very cheap means of transport.
       Get SKYPE, this will keep your phone bills down as calls between Skype accounts
       from computer to computer via the internet are completely free.

Louvain-la-Neuve

Belgium,country of chocolate, lace and 500 different beers!!!

Travel to Belgium
         Flights to Brussels National from Belfast though may require change in London and
then take the train from the airport, changing at BRUSSELS NORD and going on to
Universite de Louvain la Neuve. Flights from Dublin to Charleroi check out cheap Ryanair
flights for this one, and remember, sometimes a return flight is cheaper than a single, even if
you don’t need it! From the airport, take the bus from outside to the train station of Charleroi
and then the train to LLN (may require a change at OTTIGNIES. NB, there is also a Louvain
in Belgium. Don`t be fooled like some people were, they are 2 different towns!

Accommmodation
        Obviously, this is the most important thing to get sorted out, as you will require an
address to register for university etc so they can post you out your student card and other
information. It may be that you cannot move into your room until the Saturday prior to term
starting though there are places you can stay (address and phones nos below). You can
either call to reserve in advance or go over a bit early and look for something yourself
(advisable to go about 1 week in advance). Either option is fine, and you can view the room
before agreeing to take it. There are 2 main types of accommodation: - Kot-à-projet. These

                                              25
are basically flats with 8-18 people in them, and which have a different theme and who will
often organise different things during the year eg, the Nature Kot, Kot Erasmus, Astrokot etc.
These are normal flats with 8-12 people, sinks in rooms but with communal kitchen, living
area, loos and showers. You could always opt for a studio, though these tend to be more
expensive and are often only for 1 or two people, and aren’t the best for integrating into the
very lively Belgian social life. Plus you will find that your French improves most by chatting
to the people you live or socialise with. When taking a flat, expect to pay around 35 euros for
administration costs, a deposit, possibly around 100 euros and your first months rent, usually
around 180 euros. Rent is paid monthly, and electricity bills every two months the latter are
personalised to whatever you use in your own room and a share of what was used in the
communal areas. Remember to bring your own bedclothes as these are not provided in the
rooms. Though at some stage ALDI will probably sell duvets and pillows.
        Useful addresses:

            Info logement
            Place Polyvalente 1
            1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
            Tél: 010 47 22 92
            Opening hours 10-12 & 1,30-4pm

            Kot Erasmus
            Place des Paniers 1
            81348 Louvain-la-Neuve
            Tél : 01045 12 28

            Le Relais
            6 Rue de la Gare
            1348LLN
            Tel : 0104865 65

Bank Accounts
        It can be useful, but not necessary, to open a bank account when you arrive. To do
this, you will need a deposit, your address and your passport. The Fortis bank in Place de
l’Université is quite good though it is worth checking out other banks for what they offer to
students. Usually, you will just receive a card, which works to withdraw money from the
bank machines and also as a switch card in shops.

Carte de Séjour
       Ignore everyone who ever mentions this (ie all those going to France). There is no
such thing as it in Belgium, and if you ask about it, they shall just give you strange looks!!

Telephones
        There are plenty of public phones and call centres around. It is also worth checking
to see if you can put a Belgian sim card into your mobile if you have one (you may need to
check if you have to get your phone unlocked to do this). Alternatively, your ko-koteurs may
wish to have a phone installed in the kot, whereby you can share the line rentals etc.

Travel
       It is worth getting a Go Pass, which costs around 35-40 euros. This allows you to
take 10 single trip journeys between any two train stations in Belgium. This is really good,
especially when going to places like Bruges, or Antwerp or Liège as the cost of travel
normally is a lot more expensive. Also, its worth checking, when going places like


                                               26
Luxembourg, Paris, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, that weekend travel may be cheaper, or may
be more expensive. Also, for longer journies like that, check the buses Eurolines.

Safety and Security
         The town itself is reasonably safe, though it is nevertheless advisable to stick to well
lit areas and walkways, and get someone to walk with you at night.

Medical Treatment
       It isn’t necessary to register with a doctor when you arrive (unless you are often sick!)
Mostly, you are simply recommended to go to the Pharmacy yourself and ask them for
something. Its good to take out insurance with a private company before you leave for
Belgium, for health, travel etc. Check for different quotes.

Laundry
        You may be one of the lucky ones to have a washing machine in your kot, if not,
there is the grand total of about 2 laundries in the town, where you will head to with
pocketfuls of change. To wash one load costs 2,30 euros and there are also dryers. Be
prepared for this to take some time and remember weekends are not the best time as all the
families go then with 6 million loads of washing. While waiting, there’s a lovely coffee
shop/bar above the USIT office beside which serves fab vanilla milkshakes!

Université de Louvain la Neuve – a few points
         Your letter of acceptance is really important, don’t lose this. And don’t forget some
passport photos. Tutors and admin staff are only usually available particular hours (which is
really annoying) usually around 10-12 and then 2-4 or so. Be prepared for classes to last on
average 2 hours, though the EU law class is once a week for 3 hours! Oh yeah, did I
mention the possibility of 8:30am starts?! Most Belgian students go home at weekends so it
can be very quiet and most partying is done mid-week, so travel is good for the weekends
(or for recovering). There is a computer room in the law building, though there are only about
20 computers, so at times there may be a wait. To access the computers, you need to get a
NOMA code off K. Swaelens (Secrétariat des étudiants), which you will then bring to the
computer guy in the law building and he will give you a username and password. This
process may take a while. Rooms are subject to change or even cancellation without prior
notice. Try to pick your modules asap, and go to different ones to see what the teacher is
like, how easy they are to understand etc. Just make sure you get your credits approved!
Enquire of tutors as to the possibility of taking oral exams if you wish. Most tutors are very
accommodating to Erasmus students. (I said MOST, definitely not all). A copy of the course
notes can be bought at the Service de Cours, which is just round the back of Chez Adèle
(the Cercle de Droit on Rue de Bruyères). There can be a lengthy wait here. Tuesday 1-
3pm Wednesday 1-3pm Thursday 4:15-6pm.
         You can find details of courses offered and ECTS points for each on the following
website: www.drt.ucl.ac.be/echanges .

And finally….
        Don’t forget adaptors if you are bringing electrical things from home. You are not
going to the Bahamas (unfortunately), the weather is similar to Ireland it can get very wet
and very cold. Dont use soixante-dix, it is septante, and quatre-vingt dix is nonante. You can
head out in Brussels at night, though be prepared to wait til 7am to get the first train home
again. Oh and to the girls in particular, going out in LLN is not like going out in Belfast, you
can go to a nice quiet pub, but most students opt for the cercles, where you should be
prepared to get covered in beer and do not wear things out that you don’t want wrecked (I’m
thinking lovely new shoes etc here). Finally, sit back, relax, drink lots of hot chocolate and
eat loads of gauffres (very addictive), you’re in for a totally fabulous year!



                                               27
Bordeaux (new information for 2009)

The Erasmus exchange with the Université Montesquieu Bordeaux 4 was new for 2008-09.
Advice from students there this year is:

      Avoid University Halls: 4 showers between 40 and the same for toilets! Bugs
      everywhere, 2 hobs and no fridge for an entire floor and just generally dreary and
      inconvenient to live in. Only stay in one of the 'villages' if it is a newly built one.
      Otherwise, an apartment, studio or colocation in the Gambetta, Victoire, Victor Hugo,
      Meriadeck, Tourny or Quinconces areas would be the best.
      Rent is much higher than Belfast and a monthly loyer of 350€ is quite reasonable for
      a nice place in the centre when you take into account the 100€ you will save after
      housing benefit.
      These areas are all about 20 minutes on the tram from the University but the tram
      system in place is excellent. A 12 month pass cost 175 euros.
      ‘Bordeaux4 does not permit Erasmus students to take any 1st year modules so the
      fact that we had not studied French law in great detail before we left was to our
      disadvantage. I would recommend Droits constitutionnels européens with the TD.’




                                            28
                        Don’t just take my word for it…
All but one of the following come from QUB students who have recently returned from their
year in France (and therefore survived!) or are currently abroad:

     ‘Although speaking French may be daunting at the start, go for it or you will have an
     incredibly lonely year … Once you get into the swing of things it is incredibly good fun’

     ‘Go out there and enjoy yourself and if you put your all into it you will get 150% back
     from the French and your school. It’s one of the best experiences ever … if you don’t
     want to go, I’ll go out again!!’

     ‘Don’t expect your French to improve immediately or else you will be disappointed and
     discouraged. Your comprehension will however improve dramatically.’

     ‘Be – or pretend to be – enthusiastic! Your school will notice this and respond
     positively. Above all be confident – the French seem to respect you more for speaking
     up.’

     ‘Your fears about going to France are much greater than any problems you will
     encounter. At the end of the day, however reluctant you may feel now to disappear
     from family and friends for a year, it is a fantastic opportunity that you will most
     definitely enjoy.’

     ‘The year abroad is a unique experience, one which you will always remember fondly.
     It is your first step into the real world away from university. A challenging step which
     never fails to impress would-be employers. They are very curious about what you
     achieved whilst in Europe.’ (Quoted by Linda Hantrais, The Undergraduate’s Guide to
     Studying Languages)




                                             29
Appendix A – Glossary of Abbreviations in Accommodation Adverts
The different types of accommodation in France are as follows: chambre meublée (a room in
a shared house), studio (one room with a kitchen – usually in one corner of the room – and a
bathroom), F1/T1 (one bedroom with a private kitchen and bathroom), F2/T2 (same as an F1
with an extra room –either a bedroom or living room), F3/T3 (two extra rooms) etc. The size
of apartments in France is often quoted in metres squared, which includes all floor space.
Roughly speaking, if you are looking for a studio or flat for one person, 30-50m2 will be
average (with less than 20 m2 small, and over 50 m2 large). All accommodation in France is
unfurnished unless stated otherwise (so look for a studio or appartement meublé), and
unless the advert says that the flat has a ‘cuisine équipée’ you may simply find an empty
room with a sink! Some studios will have a ‘coin cuisine’, ‘kitchenette’ or ‘cuisine
américaine’, which means that the kitchen is not in a separate room.
      Some common abbreviations which you will encounter in adverts for accommodation
are:
          appart. (appartement) – flat
          av. (avec) – with
          b. état (bon état) – in good condition
          cc (charges comprises) – service charges included in the rent
          centr. ville (centre ville) – city centre
          ch (chambre) – bedroom
          ch. c. (chauffage central) – central heating
          cuis. équipée (cuisine équipée) – fitted kitchen
          ds (dans) – in
          env. (aux environs de) – in the area of, close to
          hor. bur (horaires de bureau) – office hours
          lib. (libre) – free (from a certain date)
          m2 (mètres carrés) – square metres
          maxi (maximum) – maximum
          mens. (mensuel) – per month
          p. (pièce) – room
          part. à part. (particulier à particulier) – private let
          pers. (personnes) – people
          poss. cuis. (possibilité de faire la cuisine) – cooking facilities
          quartier résid. (quartier résidentiel) – residential area
          quartier univ (quartier universitaire) – university area
          quinz. (quinzaine) – fortnight
          rech. (recherche) – is looking for
          sdb. (salle de bains) – bathroom
          sem. (semaine) – weekly
          tb (très beau/belle) – delightful
          tél. (téléphone ) – telephone
          tt conft (tout confort) – all mod cons
          URG (urgent) – urgentl(ly)
                                                              (from the Oxford-Hachette Dictionary)




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Appendix B – List of British and Irish Embassies and Consulates in
                         France & Belgium
United Kingdom

Paris

Embassy
35, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré - 75008 Paris
Tél : 01.42.66.91.42
Fax : 01.44.51.34.83
Web : http://www.amb-grandebretagne.fr/

Consulate
16, rue d’Anjou – 75008 Paris
Tél : 01.44.51.31.02

Bordeaux
British Consulate
353, boulevard du Président Wilson – 33073 Bordeaux
Tél : 05.57.22.21.10
Fax : 05.56.08.33.12

Brussels
British Embassy
Rue d’Arlon 85
Brussels
Tél: 02 287 6343

Lille
British Consulate
11, square Dutilleul - 59800 Lille
Tél : 03.20.12.82.72
Fax : 03.20.54.88.16

Lyon
British Consulate
24, rue Childebert - 69002 Lyon
Tél : 04.72.77.81.70
Fax : 04.72.77.81.79

Marseille
British Consulate
24, avenue du Prado - 13006 Marseille
Tél : 04.91.15.72.10
Fax : 04.91.37.47.06

Montpellier
British Consulate
271 Le Capitole - Bât.A - 64, rue Alcyone - 34000 Montpellier
Tél : 04.67.15.34.04




                                             31
Nantes
British Consulate
16, boulevard Guisthau - BP 22026
44020 Nantes
Tél : 02.51.72.72.60
Fax : 02.40.47.36.92

Nice
British Consulate
"Le Palace" - 8, rue Alphonse Karr - 06000 Nice
Tél : 04.93.82.32.04
Fax : 04.93.82.48.24

Toulouse
British Consulate
c/o Lucas Aerospace - Victoria Centre, bât.Daurat - 20, chemin de Laporte - 31300 Toulouse
Tél : 05.61.15.02.02
Fax : 05.61.15.08.92

Ireland

Paris
Embassy
4, rue Rude - 75116 Paris
Tél : 01.44.17.67.00
Fax : 01.44.17.67.60

Brussels
Irish Embassy
Rue Wierlz 50
1050 Brussels

Tél. 02 235 6676

Lyon
Irish Consulate
c/o CIRLY -58, rue Victor Legrange - 69007 Lyon
Tél : 06.85.23.12.03
Fax : 04.78.56.48.47

Antibes
Irish Consulate
"Les Chênes verts" - 152, boulevard J.-F. Kennedy - 06160 Antibes
Tél : 04.93.61.50.63
Fax : 04.93.67.96.08

Cherbourg
Irish Consulate
c/o Irish Ferries - Gare maritime Sud - Quai de France - 50100 Cherbourg
Tél : 02.33.44.11.11
Fax : 02.33.23.44.40




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         Appendix C - Elements of a basic letter to your school

You can adjust and add to this to suit your needs:


Your name and address                                               (Place), le (date) 2008
(in capitals)


Monsieur le proviseur,*

C’est avec le plus grand plaisir que j’ai reçu ma nomination comme assistant(e) d’anglais
dans votre établissement pour l’année scolaire 2008-2009. Je vous confirme par la présente
que je serai en mesure de prendre ce poste à partir du 1 octobre.

Vous serait-il possible de me faire savoir quelles seront à peu près mes fonctions et s’il y
aura la possibilité de loger soit au lycée (collège) même, soit en ville?

Il me serait également utile de savoir les nom et adresse de mon prédécesseur et du
professeur d’anglais qui s’occupe de l’assistant d’anglais. Ces personnes pourront me
fournir des détails indispensables sur mes fonctions dans l’école.

J’ai l’intention de participer au stage préparatoire organisé a (place) du (date) au (date), et
compte arriver à (place) dans la matinée/l’après-midi/soirée du (date). Je me présenterai
dans votre établissement aussitôt que possible après mon arrivée.

Dans l’attente de votre réponse, je vous prie de croire, Monsieur le proviseur (or alternative),
à l’expression de mes sentiments respectueux.

                                           Signature

* Monsieur le proviseur in a lycée. Monsieur le principal in a collège. Madame le proviseur
for a female head of a lycée. Madame la directrice for her collège equivalent.




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