Friday, June 22, 2007

Work in France, without the visa!

While working on my M.A., I had a lot of time to dedicate to researching jobs for post graduation. At the time, my ideal job involved working for the French government in the realm of economics/trade; but I didn't know where and how. I came across a website for the DREE (Direction des Relations Economiques Exterieures) which seemed perfect, or so I thought. After working arduously on a cover letter and resume in French - I sent them off only to be rejected (very formally and properly) with a written letter sent from Paris letter months later.

Luckily, the story doesn't end there. As I was networking in NYC and trying to speak with as many people in the French-speaking/New York City world - I ended up with an interview with someone at the DREE office in NYC. What began as an informal interview turned into 3 hours of interviews with 4 people, one of whom was the top boss and three weeks later I was hired. MAGIC!

All this to say that there is an entire field out there open to Americans (or other anglophones equipped with proper U.S. working papers) with extensive backgrounds in French/French Studies and who have some previous experience in business. Working as a Trade Attache for the French Embassy Trade Office in NYC was my dream job and an incredible/invaluable experience - serving essentially as a consultant for the French government advising French exporters on their business and export strategies for the U.S. market - you can work in a number of market segments; consumer goods, transportation, wine/food...

If you have the French language skills - there are a myriad of these agencies located stateside; working for the governments of France, Canada, Monaco, Switzerland, Belgium... all these countries have offices that hire U.S. staff as "locals" (agents locaux) to work in public affairs, tourism, trade & investment, and/or cultural affairs.

The following is a non-exhaustive listing of such agencies, based in the States:

French Embassy - Trade Offices in U.S. :
Invest in France:
Invest in Canada:
French-American Chamber of Commerce:
Development Economic Western Switzerland:
Greater Zurich Area:
Location Switzerland:

Monaco Government Tourism Office:
French Government Tourism Office:
Canada Government Tourism Office:

French Embassy - Cultural Services:
Swiss Embassy - Cultural Services:

French-American Foundation:
French-American Cultural Foundation:
Alliance Francaise:

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