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How to quickly overcome culture shock when moving to France

By April 10, 2017July 25th,

How to quickly overcome culture shock when moving to France

April 10, 2017

France is a popular European expat destination attracting many British, South African, UAE and other EU citizens. Despite the melting pot of cultures that mingle under the Eiffel Tower, France is known to be a country that can be difficult to settle into. This is because it has both language and cultural differences that need to be embraced if you are going to start feeling like a local. If you’re heading to spend an expat sojourn in France, here are some tips to help you quickly become settled:

Tips for emigrating to France

Start learning French – even before you arrive

The French are very proud of their language and speak it all the time! To truly become assimilated and feel part of the French culture, you need to start learning the language and speak it every day. You’ll find the locals very tolerant of your halting speech – they’ll respect the fact you’re giving it a go and will help you find the words you’re looking for.

Learn to appreciate a good cup of coffee

The café culture had its roots in France and a great deal of business and socialising is done on the local street cafés, while enjoying a good cup of coffee. The French are not as passionate as the Italians are about taking their coffee without milk, so you’ll be excused for ordering a café au lait.

Give up cereal for breakfast

If you start your day with a bowl of cereal, don’t expect to continue this when arriving in France. ‘Carbs’ in France during breakfast consist of pastries, croissants or rolls, which are dipped into coffee or hot chocolate.

Forget about supermarkets

You will find the occasional supermarket in France, but locals shop at the daily market – where they get all their fresh bread, meat, vegetables and fruit. Once you’re au fait with the French language, you can start bargaining with the locals and you’ll end up with far more fresh produce than you’re used to. What’s more, once you’ve tasted the wonderful quality of this produce, you’ll never want to go back to your plastic-wrapped supermarket fare.

Develop a healthy respect for wine

The French are known to drink a glass of wine with their lunch and evening meals. The big thing to note is that this is usually one glass – not a bottle! By law the French have to carry breathalyser kits in their cars to ensure they never drive over the limit and if you are caught without one you will be fined.

Improve your wardrobe

French people, especially the women are renowned for their chic style. If you like dressing down on the weekends and favour your old pair of tracksuit pants and a hoodie, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb. Even on weekends, French locals look impeccable.

Get used to air kissing

Kissing cheeks, or the air next to the cheek, is a traditional French greeting – although men are not expected to kiss other men in a business environment. The tradition is usually one kiss on each cheek, although it can be up to three or four. Kissing to greet or say goodbye is usually reserved for friends and family and not colleagues.

If you’re planning on immigrating to France or investing money offshore and need financial advice, contact us today.  We’re here to help you unlock your South African wealth and put you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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