Published on Expatfinder
Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Leeds, UK
Q: What made you move out of your home country?
A: To see the world from a different angle
Q: Where are you living now?
Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: I was travelling and just happened to get the opportunities here. Firstly a job teaching English, then playing the double bass, then getting married, then making cartoons and now public speaking in SEO…
Q: How long have you been living in France?
A: 26 years
Q: What has been the most difficult experience you’ve had when you were new in France?
A: Getting through the barrier of being alone and not speaking the language. I almost went back to the UK on several occasions in the first year. Glad I didn’t.
Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in France? What was your experience with these?
A: Initially, yes as movement within the Eurozone was not as easy as it is now
Q: Are you living alone or with your family?
A: I became an expat at 22 years old – before having a family
Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in France? How did you manage to find a social circle in France?
A: Once I picked up some of the languages, making friends was quite easy. After 26 years, I speak French almost like a native, and making friends is even easier! I have friends from all sorts of backgrounds / nationalities.
Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?
A: Go to local events, even if they are outside your comfort zone. Joining in the local life with an open-minded, friendly attitude is vital if you want to fit in.
Q: How does the cost of living in France compared to your home?
Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: 1.50 EUR
Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: 12 EUR
Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: 40 EUR
Q: How much is a bottle of wine?
Q: How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: 8 EUR
As I left 26 years ago, I don’t know what the equivalent prices are in the UK.
Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: The French are wonderfully friendly people. If you make an effort with the language, and have an open-minded, friendly attitude they will be welcoming.
Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in France?
A: Positive – the food, the weather, the friends.
Negative – the cost, the administration.
Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?
A: Not very often
Q: How do you cope with homesickness?
A: I don’t suffer from Homesickness
Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: Maybe. I have moved around quite a lot over the years so there is no reason I wouldn’t, if the fancy takes me :-)
Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
A: Running out of money and having no job a few years ago. But even then, the desire to move back to the UK was not strong.
Q: What tips can you give other expats living in France?
A: Make an effort to learn French – it makes all the difference in relationships.