TAPIF Housing | Where to stay when you first arrive
I know I keep saying that I got really lucky with my TAPIF experience, but once again, I was fortunate to be able to stay with my host teacher’s family when I first got to France, and they were really understanding when I could barely understand French and passed out for something like fourteen hours on my first day (maybe my second too…). For people who don’t have that option or really prefer their own space, here are some alternatives, from cheapest to more expensive:
- Couchsurfing is a great way to meet new people (and it can even lead to more permanent housing!). Along with being a great way to get to integrate into an area right from the start, it’s also free, although it’s definitely nice to cook a meal or leave a gift. The availability of hosts may vary in different regions, but there are some even in a relatively small town like Bethune. Another alternative could be checking out alumni networks to see if there’s anyone in your area who can help you find accommodation .
- Hostels can be another great way to meet people and stick to a budget, especially if you’ve been placed close to a city. If you’re really unable to find housing where you’ve been placed, you could always stay in a larger city and then commute while you search for housing, etc. If you’re in the Lille area, Hostel Gastama was fantastic (and some of the best sleep I’ve ever had!). I think it was a little more than 20 euros per night, and it’s incredibly clean with helpful staff who were very understanding of my not-so-great French. When booking hostels, I think I generally found the cheapest prices on Hostelbookers, but you can also compare it with Hostelworld.
- Airbnb is another great option for slightly longer-term housing, although it might be a little difficult depending on what your phone/wifi situation is. If you’re able to find other assistants to split with, it can work out to being less than a hostel.
- Hotels are the priciest option, but in towns without hostels or Airbnb/Couchsurfing hosts, or if you just don’t feel comfortable staying with other people, they’ll be your best bet. Booking.com can be a good place to start.
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