Moving to a new country for work is never easy, more so when you’re relocating to a country like France where English is not the first language. In most cases, you are going to deal with culture shock as you try to learn a new language, not to mention other hassles like understanding local laws and making new friends.
Luckily, we wrote this guide so you can identify the five biggest mistakes to avoid beforehand if moving to Paris as an expat. Take care of these, and we can guarantee relocating to the French capital will never be smoother!
Not learning French sooner
As we mentioned, language barrier is inevitable when you move to France; most people here communicate in French. Our advice? Learn the language as soon as possible.
Failure to understand and speak French will limit your interaction with people and make it harder for you to integrate quickly with the rest of the people you meet.
You can take online French classes or teach yourself through YouTube videos. The goal is to learn French, make friends, and interact better with people.
Not finding an apartment before relocating
When moving to a massive city like Paris, the last thing you want is to find yourself stuck with nowhere to stay because you didn’t plan well in advance. This is why booking accommodation is necessary before landing in France.
The good news is there isn’t shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. For example, you may decide to use a hotel or rent one of the many furnished apartments in Paris.
Before that though, do some web research on the best areas to settle in this city, the average rent in these areas, and districts to avoid. You want to stay in the safest possible zones (referred to as arrondissements) that are close to your workplace.
Overspending and/or not saving enough
Paris is full of life, but that also means it can get super expensive to live here. If you are not careful and disciplined with your money, then you can end up spending more on luxuries than save.
As an expatriate, it is important to establish your roots and invest in your future. You need to save to buy a home or start a business. Don’t end up spending all your money on needless things like excessive entertainment or eating out too often. The idea is to make and save more money than you spend.
Not joining a community
As an expat, life in Paris can be lonely and isolating. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way if you are ready to put in some effort. Try to interact with people in your area of work, but be ready to encounter outright rejection from many residents. Not everyone is friendly here, unfortunately.
The situation gets worse if you still can’t express yourself in French; it makes finding friends harder unless you share some common interests.
So what’s the solution? Join a community with people with whom you share similar interests to help you settle faster in Paris. One way to find such communities is by joining an international church. There, you will find people who understand your situation and challenges and are willing to help.
If you are not a church person, then you can find support communities via Facebook groups or by attending meetups.
Make your appointments with French institutions before getting here
France is a country in high demand, and thousands of expats apply to live here every year. The application process is quite intense, with plenty of paperwork involved before you can be accepted to legally live here.
If you would like to avoid disappointment, then make sure to book your appointment before going to France, as the French administration can be quite slow. Make sure to check which documents are needed, and also ensure that you have multiple copies of any crucial documents.
Ready to relocate to France?
As an expat, living in Paris (or France in general) can be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Life may feel isolated at the start especially if you don’t know the French language yet. But with a little effort, you should find it easier to make a few friends who will help you settle in quickly and also show you around.
Overall, Paris is an exciting city once you get used to it and learn the French culture and language. All you need before moving here is to prepare adequately and avoid making the five mistakes we discussed in the article.
Enjoy your stay in the ‘City of Love!’