The net TAPIF monthly stipend is around 790€, leaving many TAPIF assistants wondering, “Is there any other way I can get some more cash??” The answer is YES!
1. Check with your school.
First things first, check with your school! Some schools will offer free or cheap housing to language assistants in an internat, which is housing for language assistants and sometimes even teachers. Some schools might even offer a small paycheck if you’re willing to perform some light RA duties for students living on the campus.
Depending on the Académie, you may also be eligible to teach English classes over holidays. Get in touch with your contact person or the principal at each school you will be working with and find out what your options are.
Some assistants can find work as part-time babysitters or as au pairs. Au pairs will often be provided with housing and/or a paycheck in exchange for their work. Some families will want you to speak English with their children, while others may just want the experience of having someone from abroad join their family for a while! Since you’ll only be teaching during school hours, you may be able to easily arrange your schedule to work for a family when their children are outside of school.
3. Under the table work.
Know anyone in your area with a small business? Does your landlord have a business of their own or need small property management jobs done? Does anybody need translations or an interpreter? I once helped an English acquaintance who didn’t speak a word of French fill out his CAF paperwork; easiest 10€ I ever made. Don’t hesitate to ask around and see your options. One assistant in my region worked one day a week at her landlord’s restaurant and got reduced rent!
4. Writing and online work.
Everybody and their sister wants to start a travel blog; travel blogs can be a lot of fun, but the challenge comes in making money from them. Don’t expect to get sponsorships and a big paycheck right off the bat. While you work on building up your readership, there is other paid online work to be had.
As an assistant, you’re not supposed to be officially working on top of your teaching hours, so any online jobs you have will need to pay you to a US account. If you’re good with writing and editing, find some online editing jobs. Get certified to grade SAT essays. You can even tutor people back home via video chat! You might be able to find some translation jobs as well; although many of these may require that you already be certified.
5. English lessons.
Teaching English lessons is the most obvious one, because it’s the most common one. You can offer to tutor students at your school and in the surrounding areas; post flyers in at universities and around your city to see if anyone wants a conversation buddy or private tutor.
And you don’t necessarily have to be paid in cash to gain something from giving English lessons. If you’ve found someone who wants conversation sessions and you also want to improve your French, organize an exchange where you speak French for one hour and then English for another! If you need to carpool to work, offer to speak in English with your driver in exchange for a free ride. It may not be much you’re saving per ride, but in the end it will add up. I gave my landlord weekly English lessons in exchange for lower rent. 25€ per session and one session per week meant that my rent quickly dropped 100€ per month.
Important Note from Allison:
Technically, if you are living in France for more than 183 days out of the year, you are a French resident for tax purposes, and you need to pay French social taxes and income taxes on all of your worldwide income. That means that even if you are a US citizen, you should ensure you have the proper visa to take on other jobs outside of TAPIF EVEN IF THEY’RE THROUGH US COMPANIES. It’s worth pointing out that if you do not declare this income to France and pay social charges on it (25.1% for autoentrepreneurs), you are technically committing tax evasion.
Now, for the types of situations Alix has outlined above, it’s very difficult, if not impossible to get caught, and it’s unclear what the consequences would be. Certainly, if you are only in France while doing TAPIF, it would be very unlikely that you would be caught before the end of your contract. However, if you plan on staying in France long-term, I HIGHLY recommend ensuring that any side-work you may do, even from the comfort of your living room, be declared so you do not run the risk of visa issues, tax evasion charges, and French jail.