Sunday, November 8, 2009

decisions, decisions

So my blogging mojo has been's week 6 of teaching in France and as of yet, no pay. As an American, I know that it is so typical of me to bring up money..but really, France? Eating cereal is getting kind of old. Supposedly, we should be receiving something next week..but my faith in their word ran out a long time ago. I'll believe it when my account isn't -2.65€ anymore. The worst part is that we just had vacation and I couldn't go anywhere! Consequently, a large portion of time was spent surfing the Internet and sleeping. Really, the only productive thing I did was research grad schools in Paris and a few in the States. I've decided that I would really like a Master's degree, and I need to do it next fall or I won't do it at all. Plus, in France, if you're older than 28, you aren't eligible for student health insurance. If I start next fall, I should finish right around when I turn 27 (scary).

However, going to graduate school in France presents me with some hard questions. Do I plan on staying in France? France has a funny little loophole for French citizenship. Two years in the country and a degree from one of their universities, and you're eligible to be a French citizen. However, I'm sure they expect you to integrate into French society, and all the paperwork to actually get citizenship would take at least a year. I don't know if I want to live or work here long-term. So here I am, in 2009, debating on whether or not I'll still want to be living here in 2013 or 2014. But there are obvious advantages to getting my education here:
-It's (nearly) free. About 600-1000€ for the year, including health insurance.
-The degrees are much more tailored to what I want to do (combining journalism/communication and languages)
-The proximity to other countries and their languages
-Mandatory internship abroad
-Staying in Paris
-My assistantship is renewable, so I could have an income while going to school (it'd be a lot of work, but many do it)
-The university I'm most interested in is in the same department I work in
-I'm already here, so registering is much easier
-No GRE required; admission process much easier

-Living in Paris is expensive
-Most likely can't get student loans to help out with costs (there are ones out there for US citizens abroad..but the schools I'm looking at aren't on their approved lists)
-It's a big time commitment (at least 2 1/2, 3 years)
-Far from home

After nine months of being an assistant, I don't know if I'll want to do it again. University registration is months away, but I really like having a rough idea of what I'm going to do so I can plan accordingly. If I choose to go back to the States, there are some disadvantages:
-The cost (varies, but at least $10,000 a year..probably more)
-I haven't taken the GRE yet and the next testing date in Paris is in February..and a lot of schools' apps are due at the end of 2009
-I haven't really found any program yet that I feel fits me
-I have absolutely NO IDEA where I would want to go. East coast? West coast? Florida?Texas? Midwest (meh..)?

Anyway, I know this isn't that interesting. Really helps me more than anything to write it out. All I know is I'd really like to continue my education, and if it comes down to cost (I am poor), staying in Paris would be the more practical choice. And I love Paris. But a year or two from now, I might really miss home and want to come back.

One thing I did do during break was see this guy (below) that I went to high school with play in a band here in Paris. Kind of weird to see someone I knew from my 'lil town in Iowa in Paris, France. Some photos from the show (called FOLK OFF!):

The view from the family's terrace

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