My three month internship placement and time living in Paris has come to an end.
Reflecting on my time on the other side of the Channel, I am so pleased with the experience I had. I had the chance to work all over an incredible city, with a great group of people and a lovely house and host family on the commuter line into Paris.
My internship placement consisted of half my time in the office working as part of the Client Relations team for the company, speaking with their clientelle and working in French. For the other half of my time, I hopped around Paris teaching English to classes of children in primary schools and the company’s English-teaching centres. Both aspects of my experience were great in terms of seeing the city and working with different groups of people every day.
Some of my highlights would have to be…
- Being greeted by 300 children in the playground as God Save the Queen blares out through the PA system
- Lots of visits from my family and Andy
- Working with such a lovely group of interns at work!
But with any great experience comes some downsides and I certainly had a fair few…
- Balancing a 35 hour working week with an 11 hour Au Pair position
- Working and teaching children in a 37° heatwave
- Difficult school children.. if you thought a group of 16 three-year olds couldn’t make you cry, think again!
Before starting my internship, I struggled to find accommodation in Paris on a student-friendly budget, and so jumped at the chance of my own house next door to a lovely French-English family in exchange for a few hours as an Au Pair for their children, all for under 200€ a month! I would recommend this living situation to others looking for a way to save some money and have more of a cultural experience, but would definitely advise thinking very hard before you say yes.
I worked a 35 hour week, travelling around Paris and teaching children every afternoon before a lengthy commute back home,. But as soon as I walked through the door at 8pm I spent an hour each evening working with the children before I could even think about cooking and winding down for the next day at work. I was in contact with the family a lot before I flew out, and although no formal contract was drawn up, we agreed occasionally I would do an hour here and there at the weekends, when possible. But this quickly escalated into a full four hours at the weekend, on top of all of my hours during the week, with little room for negotiation when I had visitors to stay.
This left me absolutely exhausted during the three months in France and often lonely as with such a regimented weekly routine, I couldn’t join in with post-work office drinks or weekend activities with my friends.
All in all, I had a great experience and got on really well with my host family too, but next year will make sure I look at an easier living situation to complement my work teaching English for the British Council.
Keep an eye out for more on my adventures in Spain for my Year Abroad, but for now, a thank you from me for reading..poolside, in Skiathos with Andy for a well-deserved break!