We hear stories. Amazing stories from our close friends and their adventures, romantic stories from people we are following on Instagram and also horror stories about something crazy that happened to the friend of a friend.
What they all have in common despite their type, is that there is always something missing in these stories. There is always a hidden piece. A part of the story that we did not get to see.
After listening to a few friends talking about their trips and adventures in France, I was amazed. I was so impressed, that their stories ended up convincing me to go for it. Just like them, I wanted to go to this country to create an experience of my own. But it wasn’t until I lived it that I found out their narratives were lacking something.
What no one told me about moving to France was that:
1.Speaking French can make a huge difference.
For some of you it may seem obvious. But for some others, like me, who think that speaking English is enough… sometimes it’s not. Your life will be way easier if you have the basics of French and your experience will be completely different if you speak the language. You will avoid misunderstandings, escape the stress of not being able to communicate and receive much more help. So if you have the chance, even if your studies and environment will be in a different language, consider learning it.
If you want to learn French for free go read the article “10 ways to improve your French”.
2.You’ll find a piece of home anywhere you go.
There are a large number of communities of different nationalities all over France. All you have to do is go out and look for them. Start by doing a little bit of networking or asking your close friends if they know someone who lives in the city you are going to. If you don’t find any connections, don’t hesitate to look for Facebook groups such as ”Your Nationality in Paris” (like “Mexicanos en Paris”). They are very helpful and they will surely make you feel at home. It is very likely that you will not be the first person from your country to land in that city, so if you are lucky, you may even find special shops with food from your region.
3.Maybe, at some point, you’ll get homesick.
It happens and it is completely normal. Leaving your bedroom, your family and your country is not easy. It gets harder when you have to pack all your life in a suitcase. It was not really my case, but I noticed some friends going through it once we were in France. What I can add to this point is that at the end of the day, no one regrets having lived such an experience. Because after all, the option of coming back home will always be there. But the option of going abroad for a brief period in your entire life, won’t come easy.
4.There is more to France than just Paris.
Small enchanted villages, cities with an incredible history, and breathtaking landscapes; France has all of that and so much more to offer. Name the type of activity, weather, and lifestyle that you prefer and you will surely find it somewhere in this country. Even if I had only been to 4 of its many regions, I can tell that there is a lot to discover either around or far away from the city of lights. No spoilers, I will let you go ahead and discover it by yourself.
5.You will change after it.
In these types of experiences, there is always a before and after. Even if you don’t realize it, you or someone else will make you see you are not the same person you used to be. That you have changed in the way you perceive things. That you have other interests now, other ambitions, beliefs and ideas. But above all… you will realize that the courage of stepping out of your comfort zone has transformed you into an adventurous person. And that from now on, you are most likely to be willing to continue going back for more.
These are just a few of the many things I noticed people were not talking about when they were sharing their experiences. A good way to keep finding others is to ask the right questions to people who have done it. For example, asking about their difficulties or what they wish they knew before doing it… but the best way to learn more about these challenges… is to discover them by ourselves.
And you? What would you have liked to know before leaving? Or if you are still hesitating about taking this adventure, what questions come to your mind?