TAPIF Housing | Unconventional (and totally normal) ways to find a place to live
One of the things that seemed the most daunting about moving to France was finding a place to live, especially since I kept hearing that I should just wait until I got there to figure it out. I ended up lucking out and had to do pretty much no work, but here are some ways that other assistants I know have found housing, roughly in order from easiest to hardest:
- Ask your host teacher (or the previous assistant in your position, if you’re able to) about where assistants have lived in the past. Some schools have free or low-cost (ex: just pay for utilities) housing set aside for assistants in the school itself; if not, they may be able to recommend a place. In addition, hosts and previous assistants can be a fantastic resource on where exactly to live. For example, my schools were actually in two small villages, but my teacher and past assistant were able to tell me about some of the pros and cons to living in Bethune and in Lille. In addition, I had been hoping to find a group of other assistants to live with, but they told me that from past experience, it would be difficult to find housing that could accommodate so many people.
- Local universities may have housing available. This can also a great way to meet people!
- Check for listings on Leboncoin in your area; there’s a great guide by Quiche Lauren on some of the vocab that you might see on ads.
- Look for existing groups or networks; this can be anything from the Facebook group for your region to Couchsurfing; one assistant ended up finding housing through someone she Couchsurfed with when she first arrived. There may also be expat groups that might be worth getting in touch with. For instance, there’s an American Club in Lille (I have no idea if anyone there could help you with housing, but that brings me to my next point…).
- Talk to as many people as possible, and you might find a place to live kind of by accident! One assistant found housing after a conversation with a local music teacher.
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