Moving home is always both an exciting and stressful experience. Moving abroad takes time and a great deal of planning. The key to a successful move lies in early and thorough preparation. Here are my top tips for a happy new life in France!
Planning and more planning comes first. Read up all you can about the area you are moving to and if you have children, get them involved in the research. Ask friends and family and seek our forums on the area – you may even find you make future friends this way.
Go with the attitude that things might be unfamiliar to start with but that this is completely normal. Understanding the fact you may feel a little out of your depth will enable you to settle in much more easily – go with the flow!
France has a generally more laid-back lifestyle: embrace it. Take time to sort out those boxes and get out and about in your village or town: breathe it all in.
Join in local clubs/societies. You are more likely to make friends with people who have similar interests. You will be surprised how many English folk you meet too!
Invite your neighbours over for an “apero” when you move in. We have found that our French neighbours are very friendly and besides, remember that people LOVE to give advice!
Ask questions of any fellow British people who have done the same as you are doing; find out about their own experience and compare notes. The mere fact of discussing your own situation with them will immediately create a bond.
If you have children, it is a good idea to plan the timing of your move to France to coincide with the new school term. Your children will make friends quickly and simply by chatting at the school gate or attending your child’s school activities, you will find that you make friends and your social life will begin.
Take up French classes. Don’t be afraid about making mistakes: no-one minds. The very fact you are trying to speak the language will mean you get extra Brownie points!
Make a plan to speak to family and friends back at home once a week, preferably on Skype or facetime so they can see where you are. Keeping in touch with loved ones is very important for you and for them too.