Print Posted By Lost in France on 14 Jun 2009 in Real France - Expat Interviews

From the USA to Expat in Paris

Joshua moved to France from the US in 2004 and lived in Bordeaux for a year before moving to Paris.

ParisWhat made you move to France and how long have you lived here?
After graduating from university in 2004 with a degree in Business Administration, I wanted to live and work in a foreign country. I applied to hundreds of jobs all over the world, but didn't have much luck. Finally I found an English teaching Program in France - - and took it. That makes almost five years I have been here.

Which part of France do you live in, and what's it like to live there?
I spent one year living in Bordeaux, and then moved to Paris. Bordeaux is beautiful because it has so many universities and day trips to the beach is so easy. However I prefer Paris because it is bigger and there are more things to do.

Open quote. Interviewee gives their moving to France tips Bureaucracy is a nightmare here! Maintain a very organized folder of all of your important documents. Close quote

What is your age?
28 years old.

Where were you born?
Virginia, USA.

Do you work, if so what do you do and how difficult was it to find work or start a business in France?
I work as an Communication Consultant for a small firm specializing in TOEIC preparation. It is a great job to have because obtaining a visa is relatively easy, the pay is sufficient, you meet influential businessmen that may help get you a job in their company if you want, and the schedule is flexible, which allows you to focus on other interests. A great job for writers, artists, looking for other jobs, etc.

When I am not working there, I am a writer/researcher for, a database of international psychological job hunting techniques to improve your chances for finding employment and convincing companies to give you a work visa.

Your best tip or advice to other people considering moving to France?
1. Work for a company that has offices in France, and apply for a transfer. That way the company helps you out on all of the difficult things such as moving, visa application etc.

2. Begin networking well before you arrive by joining online communities so you'll have people to help you. Professional directories, even though there may be a membership fee, usually have a directory of members. Have that list ready and send them your CV as soon as you arrive in France and are readily available to meet for interviews.

3. Bureaucracy is a nightmare here! Maintain a very organized folder of all of your important documents. The worst feeling in the world is frantically searching through your house knowing you have an important visa renewal with the prefecture the next day, and you can't find your most recent electricity bill!

4. For ALL meetings with the government, wear a business suit. They take you more seriously and are, sometimes, more lenient on you.

5. Even if you plan on moving here permanently, buy a round trip ticket that is valid for up to a year. That way, worst case scenario, you always have an out.

6. Peak employment recruiting times in France tend to be Sept-October, and again in Feb-Mar. Plan your arrival a month or so before recruiting picks up, that way you settled in, used to the way of life, and can get all the administrative stuff out of the way so aren't wasting your time waiting for the recruiting season to start.


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