New startup offers unique glimpse into France’s expat world

New startup offers unique glimpse into France’s expat world

New startup offers unique glimpse into France’s expat world

Arriving in an unfamiliar country is a stressful experience, even if you’ve made an effort to learn the local language before you left home.

Even if you can communicate to some extent, finding your way around local bureaucracy, renting an apartment or even opening a bank account can be a confusing experience for the newly-arrived expat. In this technological age, using a search engine to find local forums with information which might help you adjust and settle in is one solution, but posts on social media often don’t relate to the immediate problems of recently arrived expats.

A recent European start-up using the English language may well be the answer to your dilemma as it includes a good number of targeted, well-researched article covering most aspects of life in your new home. Hints on housing, job-seeking, submitting your CV, renting an apartment and dealing with confusing administrative processes at present relate only to France, but the website is due to expand and include different countries one at a time.

Founder Gaetan Garnotel knows exactly what it’s like to arrive in a unfamiliar country and fight to get things right without any previous knowledge of how everything works, with his own experience inspiring him to set up his project, cleverly named Smooth World. He knows exactly how an understanding of the country’s culture can ease newcomers into making sense of their new environment. The website’s business model aims to provide free articles of interest to relocating expats along with persuading them to use his personalised services to make their transition as smooth as silk. It’s a tall order attempting to provide content covering all 27 EU member states as an European startup, but it’s needed in these days of migration for personal, political or career-oriented reasons.

Nowadays, it’s common to find entrepreneurs even in the strangest possible locations, and more sites like Smooth World would be a huge improvement on basic Wikipedia pages and endless forums giving conflicting advice at best and bad advice at worst. All expats could benefit from insights into culture, lifestyles, social etiquette and local bureaucracies, as well as how to adjust without compromising their own personalities and abilities. Whether or not they use other services provided by such sites is up to them, but the sites won’t survive unless they do.

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