A Conversation Coach lives with a welcoming host family and tutors the children in English for 15 hours per week in exchange for accommodation and all meals. Most placements are in the outskirts of Paris or Nice, but we do have some host families in other parts of the country. Because the volunteer commitment is only 15 hours, you'll have plenty of time to explore your host city, make new friends, and work on your language skills - or even head off to other parts of this cultural hub!
We accept applications and organize placements throughout the year! Please apply at least three months prior to your desired start date.
To apply you'll create an online account and complete a few simple web forms. You will also need to upload documents including a character reference, resume, and any relevant certifications. When you're ready, you will pay a $250 deposit towards your program fee (refundable in the unlikely event that we're unable to place you). The balance will not be due until we confirm your placement with a host family.
When we receive your deposit we'll unlock your application so you can review everything once more and submit it. Then, we'll contact you for an informal Skype interview before confirming your acceptance and sending your application overseas.
Once we've sent your application abroad, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to receive a suitable host family file. It can take longer if you've applied more than three months in advance. We will notify you as soon as a placement has been found so you can connect with the family over email and/or video chat to make sure that you are both happy with the match. Once confirmed, we will provide all of the next steps on when to book your flight, where to purchase insurance, and how to prepare to be a Conversation Coach and live abroad.
Your host family will pick you up from the airport or train station. They'll bring you to their home and will help to get you oriented to your new environment and your host children. You'll also work with your family to set up a tutoring schedule and will discuss how to get around the neighborhood, where to go and what to see! Throughout your program, our international cooperator will be there to make sure your transition is smooth and fun.
The best time to start is the early fall (September/October) when France's school year begins and the demand for English tutors is high. The beginning of the calendar year (January/February) is another popular time to start, but we place Conversation Coaches throughout the year. You and your host family will agree upon your exact program dates together.
You do not need to have professional teaching experience, teaching certification or a degree in education to apply. Instead, we require you to show that you have experience working with children and are able to informally plan activities to engage your host children.
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We like to see that you've had some experience working with children in some capacity. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids, etc. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we can never 100% guarantee placement, placement is likely as long as you submit your application about 3-4 months in advance of when you'd like to start. We have lots of host families who register all throughout the year specifically looking for American tutors (Americans are in high demand) so it would be very unlikely that you would not find a placement.
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $250 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Most of our host families are in the Paris region, but you may make requests for other parts of France. We sometimes have families in cities like Tours, Strasbourg, etc. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for Conversation Coaches at the time.
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very similarly to how we screen our au pairs. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview and pay a program fee.
The make-up of our French host families varies, but they're well known for being welcoming and cultured. They're known to enjoy discussing French life and to be interested in the American way of doing things. Most of our families are middle class and have children in either elementary or middle school.
If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
You will definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you are not a good fit. Let us know and we'll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we've found the right one! It's important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we'll do all we can to make sure that happens.
In terms of receiving a refund of your deposit, you would only be eligible for a full refund if we were not able to find a family for you after three weeks to your latest indicated start date. The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
The majority of our families, even those in rural areas have access to the Internet in their homes. The basics like electricity, water, and heat go without saying. In a rural area, it may be more difficult to access public transportation to get into town, but you will always have the option to discuss with your host family how they get around and stay social in a non-urban environment.
If any issues arise, you will want to contact our international cooperator immediately so they can mediate the situation. If things really are not working out, we will do our best to move you to another family in a timely manner.
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Schengen area (which includes France) and are permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You will simply enter the Schengen area with your valid U.S. passport. For more information on the Schengen area, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
No. You will not need to know French, nor will you be required to take French classes abroad (although you are welcome to if you want of course!) Most of our host families speak pretty good English so it's usually not a problem for our tutors to communicate with their host family.
While there is no formal orientation, you will receive an InterExchange Activities Guide and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. You will also receive lots of Teach English resources via the InterExchange Teach English Guide, sample lesson packs for beginner, intermediate and advanced English learners, and a Game Pack to keep things fun and engaging with your host children.
Because the program is relatively short-term (1-3 months), you will not be allowed designated vacation time. However, if you would like to take a few days to travel or unwind, please let your family know well in advance. They will usually be able to accommodate your request to take a few days off. Remember that your host family is your FIRST priority, so try to schedule your free time activities around your tutoring schedule.
Since you'll be traveling as a tourist on a cultural exchange program with an emphasis on your tutoring and your relationship with the host family, you will not be able to earn a salary or stipend.
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with a French SIM card purchased in France. However, if you're planning to contact people back at home, we recommend just using Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with wifi. You can find more information here.
Absolutely! We'll connect you with other tutors throughout the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for our InterExchange participants in France. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.
I have become a more patient, effective communicator … which has personal, as well as professional benefits. Living with and working for people who did not know me, my language, or my culture taught me to take my time, to think before speaking about the clarity of my message, to consider my audience, and to avoid assuming that my meaning is self-evident. George Bernard Shaw put it nicely: 'The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.' Sarah
I'm pretty sure I'm living the epitome of what summer vacations should be like. I mean, the schedule varies slightly from day to day. I don't go to the beach every single day (my host family REALLY does though!). Some days I stay home and go to the gym, work on my online class, nap or Skype with friends and family. Also, I go out and have dinner with the French friends I've made pretty often. Angie
Enjoy the French lifestyle while improving your English teaching skills!