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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. my plans are to move to France next September initially for 6 months and if all goes well I shall stay. I have a very good friend who is allowing me to stay at his cottage in Paimpol . I have been reading all the threads in the forum and gathering as much information as I can.
I am a carpenter and intend to make a living in France as a carpenter . Could any one please tell me how difficult is it to find work or if indeed there is any in the Brittany area. Also please could any one point me in the direction of a good French learning website. Thank you.
 
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It is 100% certain that you will not find legal work in France within your 6 months try-out period. You will NOT find any carpentry shop willing to take you on.

However, the odds will improve by 1% per year, so don't give up too soon.

You are only likely to find 'odd-jobs' amongst the ex-pat community, they'll be 'on the black' and very sporadic.

Full marks for putting a 6-month trial period in place. Bring enough money to live on with an assumption of zero income.

Spend every waking moment between now and then learning french.
 

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While Minesthechevy may have a reputation for being something of a pessimist, I have to say I very much agree with his assessment. Finding work of any type in France without a decent conversational level of French is pretty futile.

That said, however, if you are looking to relocate here for the long term, you'd do better to invest in some serious language training than to try and find web-based language training. On the do-it-yourself market, the programs put out by Assimil and Rosetta Stone are probably among the best, and fairly reasonably priced.

If you work on your language skills before you arrive and then make the most of your six month stay to try and use your French to integrate into the area in which you are staying, you may find you can create a few opportunities for yourself.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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While Minesthechevy may have a reputation for being something of a pessimist,
'May have'??? Yes, Ma'am, that's me! However, I'd much rather be tagged as a 'realist'..... it can save a lot of heartache further down the line.

I bet 9/10 folk who return to their place of origin from France end up blaming 'the French' for their perceived failure. This is grossly unfair to me; I came across this effect a few times before coming here permanently , and I'd now be willing to put a bet on the majority of them being unprepared for 'the worst scenario'.

So, in my book, preparation has equal first place with pessimism.
 

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Oops, wasn't intending to be insulting - I, too, consider you (and most of the rest of the "regulars") here to be "realists." But every now and then it dawns on me that our "realism" may look like "pessimism" to the expat wannabee.

Actually, a six-month preliminary stay isn't a half bad idea, as long as Rich is prepared to seek out information about the area, be almost aggressive in practicing the language and seeking out contacts and has the resources to weather six months with no work at all.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
o gosh

Oops, wasn't intending to be insulting - I, too, consider you (and most of the rest of the "regulars") here to be "realists." But every now and then it dawns on me that our "realism" may look like "pessimism" to the expat wannabee.

Actually, a six-month preliminary stay isn't a half bad idea, as long as Rich is prepared to seek out information about the area, be almost aggressive in practicing the language and seeking out contacts and has the resources to weather six months with no work at all.
Cheers,
Bev
well what can i say thank you all very much for your constructive advice, determination is at the top of my list. i have been to the Paimpol and surrounding area many times it is a lovely area with charming and friendly people. i am spending as much time as i can learning the language . sounds like work will be my down fall but i shall over come (some how).
 
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Bev, ABSOLUTELY no offence taken, I am pleased when my idea of realism gets taken as the 'norm'.

Rich, do NOT for ONE second think that 'something will turn up'. Sorry if Im telling Granny how to suck eggs, but nothing can ever be counted on 'turning up'. Planning, preparation, not getting tempted by any 'must-have', whether or not they are work-related, making every moment and cent count in that six-month trial - that's the only way you'll come out of the other side with anything other than a REAL idea of what you'd be letting yourself in for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hi

Bev, ABSOLUTELY no offence taken, I am pleased when my idea of realism gets taken as the 'norm'.

Rich, do NOT for ONE second think that 'something will turn up'. Sorry if Im telling Granny how to suck eggs, but nothing can ever be counted on 'turning up'. Planning, preparation, not getting tempted by any 'must-have', whether or not they are work-related, making every moment and cent count in that six-month trial - that's the only way you'll come out of the other side with anything other than a REAL idea of what you'd be letting yourself in for.
Hi Bev, many thanks for your words of wisdom i know in my hart that you are right and it is not going to ease and i have a lot of hard work in front of me so from today the preparation starts in ernest.and please if you think of any thing that will make my crossover ease'er please dont hesatate to say thank you , Rich.
 

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I bet 9/10 folk who return to their place of origin from France end up blaming 'the French' for their perceived failure.
This seems to be a recurring theme, the potential for complete failure and returning back home. That is loud and clear, the potential exists especially if you're overzealous and unprepared.

One simple question: Of those who do NOT end up going back home, or even among those here who are moderators and have managed to make a home in France, how many have support systems available?
There seems to be a handful of factors that have the potential to increase an individuals likelihood of succeeding but correct me please if I am wrong or being idealistic: 1. Having family or friends available to turn to if things get tough; 2. Having found a job before arriving or having the appropriate networking connections to find a job; and/or 3. Speaking French fluently.
 

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One simple question: Of those who do NOT end up going back home, or even among those here who are moderators and have managed to make a home in France, how many have support systems available?
There seems to be a handful of factors that have the potential to increase an individuals likelihood of succeeding but correct me please if I am wrong or being idealistic: 1. Having family or friends available to turn to if things get tough; 2. Having found a job before arriving or having the appropriate networking connections to find a job; and/or 3. Speaking French fluently.
I see what you're getting at - but in my experience these "support systems" tend to vary over time.

1. Having family or friends to turn to - can vary depending on where your family and friends are located. In my case, the Internet has always been a big part of my support system, especially during those first awful years here. Things started to turn around for me when I found the sort of diverse group I could begin to call friends here - and I had tried a couple different expat groups with no luck.

2. Having a job helps - though in my case, I work with/for my French husband and didn't have much choice in the matter (in part due to my illegal status the first couple years). The work environment here is very different from the "anglo-saxon" world, and I honestly hope I don't have to go out and find work in the usual sense of the term before I qualify for my pension.

3. Speaking French, yes. No one speaks it "fluently" until they have lived in France for a few years.

One big factor you seem to have missed is that of having a REASON for staying in France. Whether it's the country itself that you love, or the person you're there with (who would do so much worse elsewhere than you are doing in France), I think your motivation for coming to, and then staying in France is probably the most critical thing.

If you're there for the job, and the job goes away, then so does your resolve to stay in France (and in some cases, your leave to remain). There is also the matter of what your options are for "going home." After some period of time, going back can actually be harder than just learning to cope with the situation here.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I see what you're getting at - but in my experience these "support systems" tend to vary over time.

1. Having family or friends to turn to - can vary depending on where your family and friends are located. In my case, the Internet has always been a big part of my support system, especially during those first awful years here. Things started to turn around for me when I found the sort of diverse group I could begin to call friends here - and I had tried a couple different expat groups with no luck.
The internet can function kind of like a surrogate family. I meant specifically family/friends already living in the city where you plan to move to or at least nearby. Someone who can take you in if you end up flat broke or feed you if you are starving. Someone who can find the right office to go to for legal advice, etc.

2. Having a job helps - though in my case, I work with/for my French husband and didn't have much choice in the matter (in part due to my illegal status the first couple years). The work environment here is very different from the "anglo-saxon" world, and I honestly hope I don't have to go out and find work in the usual sense of the term before I qualify for my pension.
I've read a bit about the French work field. It does sound a bit menacing. However, if you already have a job offer when you arrive in France, the search process can be (temporarily) circumvented. Some day you may have to start from scratch which is like a death sentence for a foreigner but at least by then you may have a better idea of how things work in France. No?

3. Speaking French, yes. No one speaks it "fluently" until they have lived in France for a few years.
Absolutely.

One big factor you seem to have missed is that of having a REASON for staying in France. Whether it's the country itself that you love, or the person you're there with (who would do so much worse elsewhere than you are doing in France), I think your motivation for coming to, and then staying in France is probably the most critical thing.

If you're there for the job, and the job goes away, then so does your resolve to stay in France (and in some cases, your leave to remain). There is also the matter of what your options are for "going home." After some period of time, going back can actually be harder than just learning to cope with the situation here.
Cheers,
Bev
Personal motivation for moving is pretty important as you point out. I would have to tell you my life story as to why I want to move to France but I'll spare you the boring details. There are some people who simple want a change of scene or are adventurous and want to move elsewhere. It seems to me this type of motivation is insufficient.

I think wanting a new way of life is a good motivation and with that comes choosing a country that has more positives than negatives. Where I live now, the negatives far surpass the positives. I don't want to raise children where I live now. I feel like the French culture has more to offer than the American.
 
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This seems to be a recurring theme, the potential for complete failure and returning back home. That is loud and clear, the potential exists especially if you're overzealous and unprepared.

One simple question: Of those who do NOT end up going back home, or even among those here who are moderators and have managed to make a home in France, how many have support systems available?
There seems to be a handful of factors that have the potential to increase an individuals likelihood of succeeding but correct me please if I am wrong or being idealistic: 1. Having family or friends available to turn to if things get tough; 2. Having found a job before arriving or having the appropriate networking connections to find a job; and/or 3. Speaking French fluently.
All of which would naturally contribute to the possibility of a successful outcome. As would having an independent income from one's home country, having purchased one's future home outright, having previously lived in the country of destination on a temporary basis, or having visited it for work and/or leisure reasons to the point of becoming extremely familiar with its quirks.

But what point are you trying to make here? "Support systems" don't just materialise out of thin air; they are worked at, and earned, in most cases. The ones you mention (and the ones I added) are not some kind of privilege that separates one sort of 'fortunate' person from another kind of more 'normal' expat. People aren't, in most cases, just dealt a good hand.

Acting responsibly, particularly if the move implies bringing family along with you, simply means that you have taken as many steps as possible to give yourself the best chance of success. The groundwork has been done, to the best of one's ability.

Even then there are no guarantees. People die, get sick, relationships go wrong, financial catastrophes happen. Any or all of these can strike. All the more reason to give yourself the best chance of seeing a life-changing move through - note the active, and not passive nature of the processes involved. Pure luck doesn't give you prior language ability, contacts, knowledge, financial security. Planning and hard work, on the other hand, do.

And as Bev says, there is far more to the situation than the physical advantages one can give oneself. Motivation is possibility the most important factor in success or failure. The problem is that in many cases there is at least an element of greener grass syndrome. Certain would-be expats are not making a positive move, but are consciously or unconsciously looking to escape from a negative situation. This is a major handicap from the word off. It doesn't preclude any chance of success, but it is a big limiting factor.

Toughness of character is tied in with this. Just how tough are those on the rebound from a failed or failing situation, or how tough will they be when their idealised notion of an alternative lifestyle doesn't live up to its billing? High expectations usually only go in one direction - downhill. Realists mostly only get what they expect, so there are few surprises.

Personal motivation for moving is pretty important as you point out. I would have to tell you my life story as to why I want to move to France but I'll spare you the boring details. There are some people who simple want a change of scene or are adventurous and want to move elsewhere. It seems to me this type of motivation is insufficient.
Actually I think the above would-be expats have at least as much chance of success as those who are prompted by the following motivation....

I think wanting a new way of life is a good motivation and with that comes choosing a country that has more positives than negatives. Where I live now, the negatives far surpass the positives. I don't want to raise children where I live now. I feel like the French culture has more to offer than the American.
... for the reasons I gave above... ie an underlying negative rationale, mistaken for a positive one.

Adventurous types may crash and burn, but they often have a certain strength of character and devil-may-care approach. And they are prompted by positive motives, not negative, escapist ones. Someone can claim that he is motivated by the positives in seeking a better quality of life, but the odds are that after the initial euphoria has subsided, he will begin to see his new home in a different light.

That doesn't mean he was wrong in his initial appreciation of the pros and cons of an alternative home, just that he simply lacks the experience and on the ground knowledge for a genuinely accurate appreciation, something that only comes with time spent in situ. And his reasoning is bound to be coloured by his negative feelings towards the country he wishes to leave.

Finally these are rough guidelines, not some kind of fixed rule. The most detailed and well-prepared planners can meet with disaster, fly-by-wire optimists or escapists do occasionally find their Shangri-La's. Most people fall somewhere between the two. As it happens I'm a good example of both extremes on different occasions, but that's another story - and doesn't change the odds on which of the two alternative scenarios is most likely to work out well :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
am i doing the right thing

This seems to be a recurring theme, the potential for complete failure and returning back home. That is loud and clear, the potential exists especially if you're overzealous and unprepared.

One simple question: Of those who do NOT end up going back home, or even among those here who are moderators and have managed to make a home in France, how many have support systems available?
There seems to be a handful of factors that have the potential to increase an individuals likelihood of succeeding but correct me please if I am wrong or being idealistic: 1. Having family or friends available to turn to if things get tough; 2. Having found a job before arriving or having the appropriate networking connections to find a job; and/or 3. Speaking French fluently.
hi minesthechevy, i have local French friend who is the local handy man and the intension is to work with him for and gradually take over his business as he is comeing up for retirment. my main down fall is the language i am finding it difficult.
 

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I just want to throw in my opinion with regard to the whole starkly realistic advice that the regular posters provide to forum members posing their questions.

The realism is great. Worst-case scenarios or 'most-likely' scenarios are very useful when planning on making a huge lifestyle change.

However, sometimes there is an inferred undertone of 'don't even bother'. Granted, pulling up sticks and moving to another country with the intention of living there permanently is a big undertaking, but even if you end up going back home after 6 months, what's the damage?

As mentioned above, if you are willing to make such a move you must have certain adventurous characteristics.

So, even if a person makes the move and has to go back after 6 months or a year have they really failed?

If you are a person who is running away rather from someting rather than running toward something, even if your move doesn't work out, you won't be coming back to the same situation that you left.

Being prepared, even to the point of having a plan 'C', is very important. But, risks are worth taking.

Oh, and if you aren't highly employable in your own country, chances are you won't be highly employable in another.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
hi bev .more Perle's of wisdom i am beginning to question my own mind as to weather or not i am doing the right thing or not, you have sow-en a little seed of doubt any way if i do not do it i will all ways be wondering Werther it would have worked or not so as i have nothing to loose i shall grab the bull by the horns and go for it.
i have local French friend who is the local handy man and the intension is to work with him for and gradually take over his business as he is coming up for retirement. my main down fall is the language i am finding it difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just want to throw in my opinion with regard to the whole starkly realistic advice that the regular posters provide to forum members posing their questions.

The realism is great. Worst-case scenarios or 'most-likely' scenarios are very useful when planning on making a huge lifestyle change.

However, sometimes there is an inferred undertone of 'don't even bother'. Granted, pulling up sticks and moving to another country with the intention of living there permanently is a big undertaking, but even if you end up going back home after 6 months, what's the damage?

As mentioned above, if you are willing to make such a move you must have certain adventurous characteristics.

So, even if a person makes the move and has to go back after 6 months or a year have they really failed?

If you are a person who is running away rather from someting rather than running toward something, even if your move doesn't work out, you won't be coming back to the same situation that you left.

Being prepared, even to the point of having a plan 'C', is very important. But, risks are worth taking.

Oh, and if you aren't highly employable in your own country, chances are you won't be highly employable in another.
hi froud. thanks for your thoughts they are thought full and meaning full. i will never know unless i try. i realize it will be very difficult to start with but as time goes on it should get easer i hope hehe.
i have local French friend who is the local handy man and the intension is to work with him for and gradually take over his business as he is coming up for retirement. my main down fall is the language i am finding it difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The internet can function kind of like a surrogate family. I meant specifically family/friends already living in the city where you plan to move to or at least nearby. Someone who can take you in if you end up flat broke or feed you if you are starving. Someone who can find the right office to go to for legal advice, etc.



I've read a bit about the French work field. It does sound a bit menacing. However, if you already have a job offer when you arrive in France, the search process can be (temporarily) circumvented. Some day you may have to start from scratch which is like a death sentence for a foreigner but at least by then you may have a better idea of how things work in France. No?



Absolutely.



Personal motivation for moving is pretty important as you point out. I would have to tell you my life story as to why I want to move to France but I'll spare you the boring details. There are some people who simple want a change of scene or are adventurous and want to move elsewhere. It seems to me this type of motivation is insufficient.

I think wanting a new way of life is a good motivation and with that comes choosing a country that has more positives than negatives. Where I live now, the negatives far surpass the positives. I don't want to raise children where I live now. I feel like the French culture has more to offer than the American.
i could not agree more
 

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However, sometimes there is an inferred undertone of 'don't even bother'. Granted, pulling up sticks and moving to another country with the intention of living there permanently is a big undertaking, but even if you end up going back home after 6 months, what's the damage?

As mentioned above, if you are willing to make such a move you must have certain adventurous characteristics.

So, even if a person makes the move and has to go back after 6 months or a year have they really failed?

If you are a person who is running away rather from someting rather than running toward something, even if your move doesn't work out, you won't be coming back to the same situation that you left.

Being prepared, even to the point of having a plan 'C', is very important. But, risks are worth taking.

Oh, and if you aren't highly employable in your own country, chances are you won't be highly employable in another.
I think you'll probably find that most of our "negative" type posts are directed to people who seem to be missing some fairly important component in their plan. For someone who is well prepared and knows the country and the area they are looking to move to, it depends a bit on their precise question.

In my case, at least, I've seen a number of folks come over and not have the option of just going back to the same situation they left. Maybe it's more common among the American expats, due to the expense, hassle and distance for making a move to Europe.

I've also had the experience myself of having to re-adjust to life back home after a year away - and it can be a more difficult adjustment than the initial move to a "foreign country" because everything has changed in the time you've been away.

There's nothing wrong with giving up and going back home. Not everyone is cut out for the life of an expat.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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hi minesthechevy, i have local French friend who is the local handy man and the intension is to work with him for and gradually take over his business as he is comeing up for retirment. my main down fall is the language i am finding it difficult.
You might - and I stress 'might' - find an easier time with this as a plan. Concentrate on your techical skills and your ability to draw sketches to show what you have in mind - ' a picture is worth a thousand words'.

Take photos on your phone of the speciailised things in your trade and ask folk 'Qu'est le mot francais pour cette chose?' Its crude but it works, and you'll learn.
 

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However, sometimes there is an inferred undertone of 'don't even bother'. Granted, pulling up sticks and moving to another country with the intention of living there permanently is a big undertaking, but even if you end up going back home after 6 months, what's the damage?

As mentioned above, if you are willing to make such a move you must have certain adventurous characteristics.

So, even if a person makes the move and has to go back after 6 months or a year have they really failed?

If you are a person who is running away rather from someting rather than running toward something, even if your move doesn't work out, you won't be coming back to the same situation that you left.

Being prepared, even to the point of having a plan 'C', is very important. But, risks are worth taking.

Oh, and if you aren't highly employable in your own country, chances are you won't be highly employable in another.
I think you're absolutely right when it comes to being employable, provided your chosen profession is of value in your adoptive home.

Support systems aren't developed out of thin air of course but if you're lucky enough to have them there's no shame in that. The best thing you can do is give yourself the best chance to succeed. I think rich1 has already a couple of those three things that can increases his chances at making it. Although the language piece is certainly a big one that cannot be ignored. A trial period attempting to learn the language and get by in France is not a bad idea but a safe exit would be appropriate to factor into the equation in case things do go bad.

A new way of life is just that, a new way of life. It isn't necessarily "greener". Bev was right to bring up motivation for moving but that is essentially a personal thing. It will be different for everyone.
 
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