Expats helping expats feel at home in France

Posted on 15 May at 6 PM in France
Story link: Expats helping expats feel at home in France
Expats helping expats feel at home in France

Expats helping expats feel at home in France

Moving to France can be the most exciting move of your entire life, but what to do when the excitement wears off?

One aspect of emigrating which seem to be ignored is the fact that, wherever in the world they’re living, people need people. Wherever you’ve come from and wherever you’ve landed, exchanging brief, bilingual ‘good mornings’ over the garden wall just doesn’t crack it. Most would-be expats promise themselves they’ll at least learn the basics of their host country’s language, but a far smaller number actually manage to do so.

Often, the lack of communication leads to isolation, with depression following not so very far behind. Recent surveys reveal those without linguistic talent or even enough time to study are restricted in their local activities as well as lacking a support network. If you’ve chosen France as your ideal destination, taking into account you’d learned enough French in school to at least start to cope, you’re at least one step towards establishing yourself in a community sense.

Another plus is that expat communities are now scattered just about everywhere across the popular country, fulfilling all the needs of lonely, isolated new arrivals. For example, one local group, Vivre Ensemble en Minervois, now has in excess of 200 members from some 20 countries, including French citizens who’ve just moved to the region. Based in Olonzac, the group organises activities suitable for all ages, including language workshops in German, Spanish, English, all levels of French and even Occitan, the language of the Languedoc.

As well as the linguistic essentials, the group has its own clubrooms in the centre of town, arranging diverse activities such as cultural trips, art classes and walking tours of the region’s towns and glorious countryside. Perhaps the most popular group is the one dedicated to learning more about and enjoying the region’s famous wines. Its members all agree the group is an enthusiastic supporter of the local industry as they regularly visit vineyards from Carcassonne to Narbonne in their never-ending search for the perfect vin rose.

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