From Kenya to France: Some tips
February 3, 2017
Are you moving from Kenya to France but not really familiar with the local culture? Then, it is time to read our five tips on the essential things any expat in France should know even before landing into the country!
1) A quiet work/life balance
Good news! Working in France means working 35 hours per week, having extended lunch breaks and long summer breaks. This means you will time to enjoy the high quality food, the local art and the impressive architecture.
2) But don’t be as quiet in the queues!
Depending on your country of origin, you might be used to line up one after each other when you are waiting for some service. In France, this might not always be the case. When you arrive at any shop, expect to find several people scattered around the waiting area. Thus, as soon as you arrive always ask who is the last one!
3) Désolée, je ne comprends pas!
The common language in France is French, and despite being able to survive in France with English (specially with the young people and in the big cities), if you want to enjoy your expat period the most, it will be hard to integrate if you cannot talk with the pharmacist, ask for a taxi or interact with your colleagues in the gym.
4) Greeting the French
One of the advantages of learning French is that greeting them in a proper way will be easier. French like to keep some formalities, so don’t get surprised when people refers to you by “Monsieur”, “Madame” or “Mademoiselle”. As you deepen your French knowledge as well as your acquaintances in the country, you will encounter with the tough decision of how to address to people. Should you use “vous (formal) or “tu” (informal)? This will depend on the relationship that you have established and the age of the other person (older or younger than you).
5) Welcome bureaucracy and administrative paradoxes
Despite the high quality of the services in France, you might have to go through some tedious bureaucracy at the beginning! You might need documents, proofs, certificates… to open bank accounts, set up phone lines…. And this might take some time. Prepare your patience!