Expat Stories…

One of the most useful ways to get helpful information and support about moving abroad is by listening and learning from other expats and their experiences of moving to a new country.

So we have compiled interviews from Expats all over the world who have made the bold decision to move abroad.  

We hope that by listening to their personal stories you will find inspiration and tips and tricks on how you too can make the move abroad.  

So before you know it you will be living your dream life abroad!

1. Brief Description of Self…

Mae, 17 year-old female student.

2. Where did you move to and from

I moved from Mallorca, Spain to Reims, France.

3. Who moved with you…

I moved alone to live by myself.

4. Why did you decide to move abroad?…

To enrich my pursuit of higher education (BA) in the field of social sciences by being in a culturally, socially, geographically, and linguistically different place. I also wanted to take advantage of my time in university to live somewhere I may never live again.

5. How did you go about deciding what country you wanted to move to?…

After living in Spain as an American, I knew I loved Europe, but also wanted something new (while still staying in Europe). Safety was also certainly an important factor, as I would be moving alone as a 17 year-old female. My family is also in Spain, which was a meaningful factor, as I wanted to be in a different country from them while also being able to visit easily, quickly, and inexpensively. I also sought a country that had a relatively similar language to where I lived (Spain), which France certainly offered. My choice ultimately came down to feeling like France would offer the right amount of culture shock: a balance of familiar and unknown.

6. What did you do before you moved that helped you prepare for the move abroad?…

Obtaining a French minor-student visa, and getting rid of many of my belongings, like clothes and items. I moved only with suitcases, and shipped nothing. I also reached out to future classmates before moving, to arrange meet-ups before the year even started.

7. What was the most challenging part of leaving and moving?… 

The geographical and climate-related change has been the hardest. In addition to being away from my family, which can be difficult as a minor, I also have had to adjust to rural, country-side, land-locked living. It is beautiful, but certainly different after living near the ocean my whole life. Additionally, the climate where I now live is distinctly different from that of where I grew up. Northern France is cloudy and rainy (but lovely!).

8. What actions or choices made settling into your new country easier?….

Learning French, of course, has been helpful and necessary. But even more important is making French friends. They have helped me make and attend medical consultations, cosmetic appointments, and legal/administrative obstacles – things my current level of French cannot do.

9. What has been the best part of moving abroad?…

Seeing and meeting new people and new ways of life: all of the little things that people do differently – from how they do their laundry, to what they eat for each meal, to how they greet each other.

10. What has been the most challenging part of moving abroad?

The language barrier can be difficult. However, everyday I learn new words and it becomes very rewarding to have a long conversation with someone in a new language.

11. What do you wish you would have known before you left or what would you have done differently ?…

I would have started my visa-obtaining process earlier. Do NOT wait!

12. What person, website, resource or app was helpful when relocating abroad?…

The official French government website was useful for learning about my visa and obtaining it.

13. Please provide any other information, or thoughts not included in the questions above…

Go abroad! You won’t regret it :). 

 

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