Are you a student looking to find learning and teaching experience outside of Canada? Would you like to get paid while learning also? Getting a comfortable and well-paying job outside your country while also learning might be difficult. However, we have some good news for you as you have very little to worry about.

There are several opportunities to work as a language assistant, and even better a French language assistant. This way, you get the chance to teach your native language anywhere in the world.

Working as a French language assistant is one of the career options for native French speakers who want to explore a career path in academics aside from teaching. So even if you don't know how to teach French, you can travel to other countries where language assistants are highly needed. In this article, we would be providing you with everything you need to know about being a language assistant outside of Canada. Learn how to teach French.

Who is a French Language Assistant?

A French-language assistant is a person who offers assistance to a French teacher during his/her class.

A woman in a classroom
French language assistants are hired to assists teachers in their duties. Source: Unsplash

This position is usually available primarily for native French speakers, people who are residents of French-speaking countries such as Canada or France because French happens to be one of the languages with high demand globally. There are several opportunities for French native speakers as foreign language assistants outside of Canada. All you need do is search the right places for them. However, being a non-native isn't a limitation either, as there are several opportunities to teach French outside Canada.

Is There Any Difference Between a Language Assistant And a Teacher?

Yes, there are differences between a language assistant and a teacher. A language assistant helps the language teacher to do his/her work better and faster. That is, a language assistant works closely with the language teacher and the students (in this case, the French teacher), to help the students learn faster while reducing the burden of teaching students, especially when it has to do with beginner French lessons.

Another difference is that there is a high probability that the language assistant understands more than one language while the teacher understands only one language.

The language assistant also works strictly under the direction and supervision of the language teacher, while the teacher takes significant decisions concerning the class.

Career Opportunities for Language Assistants Outside of Canada

There are several schools outside of Canada that provide ample opportunities for foreign language assistants.

To find these schools, you can check for the programme list on their websites to choose your options. As schools differ, so does the payment, the working hours, the criteria for selection, and the working conditions of being a language assistant.

Countries where French language assistants can find great career opportunities include:

Native English-speaking countries for French language assistants who plan to relocate to an English speaking country. Here are some countries that have great opportunities, and take language assistants.

  • United States of America (USA)
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
Man writing on a desk
You need to do research to find job opportunities for language assistants. Source: Unsplash

Native German-speaking countries for language assistants who will like to relocate to and work in German-speaking countries, here are some countries where French language assistants are offered favorable career opportunities.

  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Austria

Most native Chinese-speaking countries also offer career opportunities to French-language assistants, while also giving you a chance to learn their native language.

  • China
  • Taiwan

While working as a French language assistant in these Spanish-speaking countries, you also get the opportunity to fine-tune your Spanish skills.

  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Bolivia
  • Costa-Rica
  • Argentina
  • Spain
  • Peru
  • Dominican Republic

Other Countries with Opportunities for Language Assistants include:

  • Italy
  • Belarus
  • Portugal
  • Egypt
  • The Netherlands

How to Become a French Language Assistant

The pay, criteria, working hours, and working conditions vary from one country to another, and they all determine how to become a French language assistant in those countries. Some criteria are needed for you to qualify as a French language assistant regardless of the country.

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  • You should be a native French speaker or French national residing in France.
  • You should be a student at a French university and have completed at least two years of your degree, regardless of the subject or course.
  • You should have held a role as a volunteer or teacher of French (this is not compulsory in all countries).
  • You should be within the age range of 20-35 years.
  • You should have a fair pass in French; with at least a B1 (this is not applicable in the Netherlands and China).

When sending applications, you must diversify and send to your top 3 choices of schools in these countries. By sending different applications, it boosts your opportunity of being chosen by at least one.

This programme is entirely accessible to those who have had volunteer jobs in teaching, are aspiring teachers, have an interest in education, or have taught in one or more language schools which may not necessarily be French lessons. Although having previous teaching experience is not required or compulsory, it will boost your chances of landing a role as a French language assistant in an international school with a good pay and many other benefits.

For this, you would be required to provide certain documents - means of identification, your university transcript (if you are a still a student), A cover letter alongside your resume. If you intend to apply for this programme, applications for the position of a language assistants in various schools are usually open during the first few months of the year (January to March).

After applying, response time may vary depending on the school where you applied to. It could take weeks for some and months for others.

You should expect to get a response from most schools at specific times of the year. This is largely dependent on the country where the school is located.

  • April: China, Belarus, Switzerland, India, Taiwan and the Netherlands.
  • May: Austria, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Ireland, Egypt, etc.
  • June: United Kingdom, Italy.
  • July: New Zealand, Australia, Peru.

The response is usually timely as language assistants are to resume immediately, depending on the school. It is done this way to make it easier for you to create a healthy relationship, not just with the teacher, but also with the students.

How Long Can Language Assistants Work?

When applying for this programme in any country, it is essential to have an informed idea of how long you can work as a French language assistant. The time you would spend as a language assistant varies with each school’s curriculum. In some schools, you are allowed the chance to renew your application while in others, you aren't. In schools where you are not allowed to continue your application, the period of your programme ends as soon as the academic session finishes.

Woman teaching students
Language assistants usually work for a year in a school. Source: Unsplash

Many schools in these countries may allow you to renew your application and stay for a second year:

  • Austria
  • Argentina
  • Egypt
  • Italy
  • India
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia
  • The United Kingdom
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Being able to continue your job is an excellent choice for you if you are a student hoping to get some experience.

Ready to start this journey and explore the world?

Regardless of whether you are a native French speaker or not, this is an excellent opportunity for you to widen your experience and also explore the world. If you are a non-native, you could explore career in teaching French broad, provided you are a fluent speaker and have a teaching licence that allows you to teach at your location or internationally. If you need improvement in your French skills or even your teaching skills before trying this out, you can always hire a private tutor with Superprof. This way, you get the knowledge you need and fine-tune your skills before taking on the world.

After doing this, you can opt to take either group tutorials, online-tutorials or even face-to-face tutorials to get the most of your training.

As much as this is an exciting and thrilling experience, it is crucial to consider several vital factors before trying it out. Although this may be for a year or two, you should think about how easy or difficult it would be for you to get accustomed to the new culture outside of Canada

Culture shock is one of the many challenges many French language assistants and teachers face when they kick-start their dream career in a land far away from their home country. If these factors are well figured out, then you can make that application, dust up your bag, and get going as soon as you can.

You stand to gain so much from this experience such as acquiring new teaching skills and knowledge, cultural diversity and awareness, networking and even transferable skills. It would be a great choice to give this a try.

Whether you want to explore career opportunities as a French language assistant or a teacher outside of Canada, it’s vital to prepare yourself mentally and stay focused as you make one of the best decision in your lifetime.

Learn more about French teaching.

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