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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, everybody!

Last week I posted asking questions about what to expect for the OFII appointment. I figured I could post my experience here to help others in the same situation to know what to expect.

The appointment was set at 1:30pm, and by 1:25pm the line outside the building was quite long. I was in the building after getting checked by security by 1:40. You quickly check in at the front desk, then are directed to the first of three rooms. Everything that happened was in french, most of the employees didn't speak English or understand it. After filling in your name and verifying your name on some paperwork, the director will come into the room and slowly explain everything that will happen today. She also made it very clear to not stress over today. Everybody was extremely kind and polite, they all spoke very slowly and it was very easy to understand and follow.

You will initially start with a timed 20-minute french test. This french test has 3 small sections which include:
A short page of responding to a text. It's a pretend conversation that you fill in the gaps of. For example, the text would read: " J'ai Besoin de votre aide. Puis-je vous appeler?" and then you would have a space to respond with what you would normally say. "Oui, Je peux parle dans cinq minuit." for example. Very simple, very open ended.
The next part was a short passage that you had to read, and would have 4 multiple choice questions to answer. The answers are all very clear in the text, it was very easy. Even if you don't understand french, you can just kind of play word search and find the matching words.
The third part was definitely the hardest. You are given some sort of prompt that you had to write a letter in response too. Mine was writing a letter to your electricity company after they charged you way too much on your facture. You have to write a letter stating who you are, what the problem is, and how you want it fixed. Honestly, for me this wasn't too bad as it really just is basic french, but if you struggle with sentence structure, definitely brush up on it before your appointment.

After the written test, there is a spoken test. This is the first waiting game. There were 12-15 people, but only 1 person handled the oral exam. Each test lasted from 10-30 minutes, and with 12-15 people.. if you're last (like me) you'll be waiting for over an hour. Also, there's no cell service in the room. It was truly a blast! (Not.)
Once you get called, you'll be directed to the second room. You'll be asked basic questions like when you arrived in France, how long you have been here, if you work, where you live, etc. You have to reply in French to the best of your abilities, but if you can't, that's okay. The instructor emphasized its okay if you can't answer, its just to get a feel of where your language level is, and there's nothing wrong or shameful by not being able to, they are there to help you. That being said, if you struggle with understanding or speaking, you will be required to take language classes. The minimum is 100 hours. These classes are entirely free, and they offer classes all around every department. For me, the closest classes were in Castres or Albi. They are also offered on the weekends if you work.

After this was the longest wait yet, the "interview" wait. I waited for about 30-45 minutes. The "interview" itself took about an hour. This interview was done in a third private room, with a woman who spoke almost no English, so if you struggle, you need to translate on your phone. What took a long time was just general questions, there were a lot of them. Do you work? Do you want to work? Do you know where to work?
Do you have kids? Are you going to have kids?
Do you rent? Do you buy a house? Are you going to buy a house?
Are you married? What does your partner do? Where do they work? How long?
Are you in college? What are you studying? Is it a french University? Are you going to work in France after you graduate?
Questions like this for about an hour. The woman spoke very slowly and made sure I could understand her. She understood my (poor, heavily Americanized) French with little to no difficulty though. I don't believe this was testing anything, she was writing all of my answers down, I believe it was just to gather information for some document that'll go in some cabinet and never be seen again.

What came of the third interview was information on transferring to a french university (I study at an American university online), information on how to continue my social security process, and also the dates of the mandatorily required civics classes. There are three of them, and the dates were picked at the closest centre to me ( Albi ) two weeks in advance. There are three classes in total, one every week for three weeks. (7th, 15th, 21st.) I have no idea what to expect out of these, they didn't really touch on them, just said they are required and they start at 9 am. I don't know how long they are in time, I don't know what to expect, really.

By the end, I was out at 5:10 pm. While only 3 1/2 hours, this felt like an all-day experience, and I was exhausted by the end of it. It was a lot of waiting, a lot of fumbling through french words, and trying my very hardest to speak clearly and properly. The process was just very long and the waiting times made me want to take a nap. Overall, it was a pretty painless experience. I definitely overstressed it. Also, the only document I needed was my passport. I brought a folder full of every visa-related document... and I only needed the passport. If anybody is curious about the civics classes, let me know and I can write an update on those after I finish them next month.


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