Moving to France is such an exciting prospect! With all your hard work and preparation behind you, the day you receive the keys to your new French house is a defining moment, and you should be proud of yourself. What you need to do now is give yourself time to settle in to everything.
It will take time to adjust to your new life in France, so make the most of the process and give yourself time. Moving anywhere is a stressful as well as exciting experience and moving overseas even more so: after all, here is a different culture, different language and there will be a mountain of ways of doing things which may be unfamiliar to you.
The key to a happy life is to accept the changes and differences in French life
1. Embrace change…
The key to a happy life is to accept the changes and differences in French life, rather than comparing it with the way certain things would have been done in your home country.
2. Sort out the basics first – then get out there!
Our advice is to get the basics done first (make up your bed, find the kettle and the bottle opener!) and then go out to a local restaurant to take stock. The boxes can wait – your priority now should be to totally embrace your now French life. Spending some time socialising upon arrival will encourage you to get out there, speak to the locals, make friends and find the best places to shop locally.
3. Meet like-minded people
Communication is one of the most important things for any human being, be it among family and friends, people in your workplace or simply acquaintances. Think about your interests when you were living in the UK. If you went to a gym, join one in France. If you like tennis, find a club. Meeting people with similar interests is a tremendous start for friendship.
4. Practice your French
If your French is a little rusty, don’t worry. Most expats tend to find that the French appreciate you trying out their language – and they will be see it as an opportunity to try out their own rusty English on you and you should do the same with them. No-one minds if you have forgotten your schoolday grammar: just go ahead and try and you will be heard.
You will find an expat community wherever you are in France
5. Find an expat community – but don’t forget to integrate locally
You will find an expat community wherever you are in France. Your fellow British expats are likely to welcome you with open arms, which is a great help at the beginning of your new life. Integrating into the French lifestyle at the start is very important, though. Invite your neighbours for an “apero” early on. Find something to laugh about. Humour is a great leveller. Above all, smile and be friendly to everyone you meet and you will soon find yourself making friends and receiving invitations to local events. You will find that both the French and the English settle down very well in France, and after a short time, you will no doubt be asking yourself why you didn’t move to France earlier.