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Things To Know Before Moving To France

La France, also known as the Hexagon is located in Western Europe and popular tourist destination.

By the looks of it, it is not impossible that many people would love to migrate in this country. Sorry to break your imagination because I am about to show you the reality. France is located at the crossroads between 4 completely different countries with very strong distinct cultures. The only way for it to develop as a country was to create its own strong culture, which is unique but also contains a bit of its neighbor's.​

In 2018, there were 6.5 million immigrants living in France—9.7% of the total population (of 67 million) but these were only documented ones and yes, there are so many undocumented. But unlike in the US, France is actually lenient when it comes to undocumented migrants. After a few years of living and working, they eventually became eligible to apply for Carte de Séjour. But this doesn't mean you should be an illegal, no, please do not. It's too risky.

  •  Learn French –English will not help you -French people are historically not very good with foreign languages. The more French you will know the better your experience – people will be nicer and more patient. If you move in France, English is not useful in terms of integration and career improvements. So,start browsing and sign-up on a French course now!

  • Learn some courtesy -The best example is the numbers of bisous (kiss) per city or town – for example the numbers of bisous per city or town in France. Like in île de France or Paris and its suburbs, the bisous are only 2 and you start from left to right. While other regions have 3 bisous and they start from right to left and right. And it can be awkward if you do not know this.

However, French people are not attached to form. It s a bit of a cliché but it does have some truth. They tend to consider that focusing too much on appearances and being overly nice is hypocrisy. On the other hand restraint is viewed as a quality. Which is probably why Japanese culture is so popular in France.

  • France is not just Paris – This is very very important. The capital is Paris, but the entire France does not look like Paris. There are Paris suburbs, campagnes or countryside, especially in the central part of the country, there are smaller cities and my favorite cities by the sea. One thing I like about France is that in every region or parts, the cities look different. For example, when you go to North-East like in Alsace for example, the architecture kind of look similar to Germany and when you go to the South, oh my favorite you know Nice and Cannes, the vibe is really different. It's already a Mediterranean lifestyle. They eat late and they have long siesta! This lifestyle is similar to Italy and Spain. It's a great Summer vacation place, especially when you want to just chill and be lazy-It's perfect. Typically,Parisians are regarded as pedantic and arrogant by non-Parisians, they do not smile for no reason and Parisians usually regard non-Parisians as uncultivated. This is also a cliché but it highlights a strong divide between Paris and the rest of France.

It is also similar to the Philippines. Some Tagalogs laugh or joke about the accent of Visayans when they speak Tagalog. They think that all Visayas are war-freak or tough and talk like the infamous, Annabel Rama, in France it exists too.

  • Public Education and healthcare are meant to be universal and free. – There is not much racism or discrimination in the country. This is because France is built as a profoundly egalitarian society where all individuals are equally important.  This has changed over the years, however France remains very attached to the idea of equality. In practice it means that you should treat everyone with equal respect, even your hotel staff, a bus driver or a waiter at the restaurant. No one will accept to be talked down to. So from age 3 to 16 kids are obliged to go to school. All public schools are free, so there is no excuse for parents not to send their kids to school. This is contrary to the Philippines where I grew up because in Philippines education is optional, so it is also up to the parents when to send their kids to school. I started school at 5years old as a kindergarten student and at 6years old I moved up straight to 1st Grade.

  • France has the best healthcare system in the world – but make sure you understand the rules and optimize it. You can get prescribed medicines or have a medical check-up, give birth etc. without paying. You can also receive a good amount of allowance when you are sick.  Maternity allowance while being pregnant and another allowance after giving birth on top of (kind of) birthday gift in cash directly deposited to your bank account. Kids receive allowances until they are 3 years old and all mothers receive allowances for having 2 or more children. And of course let's not forget to mention my favorite benefit, having sunglasses for free (once every 2 years). These are just a few among many other types of allocations the country provides for their citizens, residents and expats (depending on their employment contract). Of course you have to understand that we do pay taxes like all other countries, but in France, you can feel it is not wasted, you really make use of what you pay.

  • French people tend to love talking about their culture and its worldwide appeal. They are also very self-conscious about its decline. Knowing a bit of French history and culture will get you a long way to start a conversation. Just don t be surprised if they do most of the talking.

  • French people and religion – it is assumed that French people are not religious, however this is not true. A lot of them are practicing Christian (both catholic and protestant or born-again) especially among the more traditional social classes and Islam is also very present. But the history of the Christian faith is also very tied to French history and in a very unique way – at some point the Pope was even based in France. Even those who do not practice religion learn about it through the history of the country, or for cultural reasons. Do not assume that French people do not respect religion or are ignorant of it. Many Public holidays are actually based on Christianity. I am talking beyond Christmas and Easter here. Those are of course holidays in all Christian countries, but here in France even the Ascension days of Jesus and Mama Mary and the Pentecost day are holidays in France and we don't do that in the Philippines even though we really claim to be a Christian nation. So that was a bit surprising to me.

  • Get to know some regular food you will eat in France – If you're Asian and you cant't live without Asian food then you have to think twice. Well, if you will be relocated to Paris, no problem. There are many Asian stores in the city, but if you will be moved to the countryside or a small town, then you might starve. So it is best to be familiar with French food. They might sound or look weird at first, but try who knows, you'll end up liking it. For example, I wasn't eating duck, until I arrived in France and tried the confit de canard and now, duck is my favorite next to chicken!!

  • The French administration is slow – This means that all your administrative applications like your carte de séjour or your securité sociale applications will take time to be approved. So, patience is a virtue when it comes to administrative stuff in France. Knowing this, will make you be more prepared. Meaning, before you submit your application make sure that all your documents are complete or even more than complete. Just add more documents that you might think would be needed even though it wasn't really listed in the requirements. This way, you avoid wasting time to go back and forth. It will take them weeks to process just to tell you that "monsieur it is incomplete you have to add this document" then it will take another weeks for them to process.

  • Book a rendez-vous – In English the word Rendez-vous is being used to refer to a date or an arrangement to meet someone, especially secretly, at a particular place and time, or the place itself. But in French it simply means to book an appointment and this is literally everywhere - from banks to (most) restaurants, museums etc.

​May this information serve you well and help you prepare as you navigate into this new world.​

For more information about your type of visa and what should you do to get a job or residency in France, feel free to contact us. One of our consultants will surely get back to you.

Things To Know Before Moving To France: Welcome
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