France is one of the most popular expat destinations in the world. The land of wine and cheese, as some people call it, is alluring. It is full of adventure, fun, and opportunities, but it also at times has its drawbacks. As a newly expat living in France, my dream was to devour fresh croissants every day, indulge in wine and cheese, and visit world-renowned museums.
France first captured my heart in 2019, before I ever decided to move abroad and start a new life here. All the great things about living in such an amazing country (great cities, “joie de vivre”, architecture, culture) enticed me to move and start a new life here. However, what most people don’t consider (myself included) are the challenges that might come up and not preparing adequately for them. Life can be achievable as an expat in France, but only if you’re ready to go through the cons and adapt even before you move. There are things that you’ll have to face and accept even before moving. This means getting prepared on how to tackle it. But what are some of the pros and cons of living in France as an expat? Let’s dive in:
Opportunities to travel Europe
Being an expat in France provides a great opportunity to travel. Here, you can travel and enjoy Europe from any end. France is a part of the Schengen Area, which allows for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in 26 European countries. France is interconnected amazingly with other parts of Europe, making it easy for you to travel all over. The country alone has incredible landscapes – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Coast to Corsica to some amazing canals. The first thing to blow your mind is France’s waterways, and after traveling from one end to the other, you get to experience and appreciate the beauty in the region. Here, there’s no shortage of places you can discover in like ten lifetimes and get amazed every time.
Knowledge of the Expansion of French culture
If there’s one thing France has no shortage of is culture. For people interested in French culture, living in France has a lot to offer you. This is a country full of art, history, and culture. From the food culture where you enjoy some of the best food and wine in the world. Affordable, high-quality wine, which you can buy direct from the producer. Pastries, bread and cheese, and more.
When it comes to art, you get to enjoy a lot of it, from the likes of the Louvre housing the Mona Lisa to the beautiful landscapes and beaches of Normandy. All buildings with historical significance in France are never brought down, and instead, they’re restored to retain their history. And have we talked about the “Iron Lady,” the Eiffel Tower? Imagine seeing this beauty any time you want?
Personal Growth and development
An important life event, such as moving abroad and be coming an expat, can often trigger the process of personal growth and development. Change is inevitable to anyone who lives in another country with a different culture. Being an expat helps you grow into your best self and discover your full potential. Personal growth and development is a transformational process, in which improvements are made physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
The result is a more satisfying and meaningful life, which is evident in your relationships, place of work, self-image and self-confidence, as well as your worldview. You will find meaning and purpose in yourself that was absent before. Life goals will become possible.
Building New Relationships
France has some of the most social and friendly people in the world. It’s much easier to connect with other people and make new friends in France. Networking becomes easy with such friendly people, and it’s easier to get better opportunities with French people than in other places like the United States. Starting a new life in France only requires a positive mindset, and soon, you’ll find yourself visiting and going out with friends enjoying the country together.
This is the difficulty of adapting to the new country’s new circumstances. Some people experience culture shock when they move to other countries. This especially happens when you move to a country where the cultural values are different from those back home. Moving to an exotic country like France with different social values and cultural norms presents a challenge in adapting to these new circumstances. The good thing is once you adapt and become able to identify with these new values, life goes on smoothly.
This is a huge challenge if you don’t speak or understand French. While some countries in Europe speak English, France isn’t one. If you’re thinking about starting a new life as an expat in France, you’ll need to learn French. Once you start learning and conversing in French, it becomes easier to find a job, make friends, and live with people in general. Be ready to learn French if you’re planning on moving abroad to France.
The “New Kid” Syndrome
The new environment and the new way of life in France can also pose a challenge. Have you ever moved to a school when you were young? Everybody in the school knows you’re the new kid and keeps on throwing glances at you? The environment is uncomfortable in the new environment until you get used to it. As an expat living in France, you can’t outrun the “New Kid” syndrome. You’ll have to get used to it and show these people that you belong so they can accept you as one of their own.
Living in France is an experience like no other. It is an interesting and challenging experience that keeps you curious and growing. Getting to know the culture and language, traversing through this beautiful country, and experiencing the country firsthand is a lovely experience. Living abroad continuously pushes you to learn about the culture, language, and yourself and what’s important to you. You get the chance to rediscover yourself and understand your chance tolerance. While there are many pros and cons of living as an expat, living in France is incredible and one of the best experiences in life, and I encourage everyone to try it.