How to plan your relocation to France

How to plan your relocation to France

How to plan your relocation to France

Moving from your country of birth to any overseas location is a stressful experience, no matter how keen you are to get there and get started.

Whilst France isn’t the other side of the planet, it’s still a foreign country with a foreign language, a foreign culture and a totally foreign outlook on life as it’s lived. Even the weather is foreign, as it refuses to rain non-stop for at least half the year. Relocating nowadays can be far easier than in the past, thanks to the expat-friendly internet and its endless articles on moving overseas. Research into the new destination is essential in avoiding stressful situations, with Google your friend as regards everything from official sites giving visa requirements to comparisons of various regions and hints on how to survive the first few months.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred town or city, it’s straightforward to check out schools, hospitals, leisure activities and even how much commuter traffic there is during the morning rush hour. House hunting is easy online, with dozens of real estate agents’ sites showing ‘des res’ photos, location maps and full details of each property. Most French regions with a good number of expats have supportive online communities, making it straightforward to get answers to questions about every aspect of expat life including local doctors, vets, days out and stores selling British food. Posters on local forums are real people who’ve been through the immigration process and are happy to help newbies do the same. Such communities can also be the best way to make new friends, although a few shocks many result!

If the thought of a do-it-yourself emigration is simply too scary, relocation experts with comprehensive local knowledge and contacts can take the strain, allowing you to simply enjoy the experience. However, don’t be swayed from what you need and want, especially as some of their suggestions may not suit your plans for your new life. Communication is the key, and a reconnaissance trip to reassure yourself you’ve made the right decision can provide the answer to many of your questions.

Whatever you’re told to the contrary, learning French is pretty much essential for a successful expatriation to this fascinating country. Starting well before you leave is recommended and, again, the internet can help if face-to-face lessons aren’t easily available. Making French friends as soon as you are able will help your developing language skills as well as causing a great deal of local amusement, and trying to speak the language during day-to-day tasks such as shopping gives you more confidence. Pushing yourself way outside your personal comfort zone by joining groups takes some effort but is worth it in the long run.

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