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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! My name is Lisa, and I am hoping to get some honest input from those who have firsthand knowledge on moving to France. Let me start by saying that I have dreamed of living in France for many years. As a teenager we hosted an exchange student from Nice for the summer, and the obsession began :). Now, my hubby and I would love to move our family to France. We would love to be able to experience the culture and beauty, that we have only seen from afar, via t.v. or internet.

My questions:

Are we crazy? Is it even possible?

How hard is it to find a job (we are both teachers)?

How hard is it to find a long term rental?

Will it be too hard for our children to adapt (they range in age from 4 to 15)?

If we were able to find jobs, how long does the whole process take?


I have just started doing basic research on the whole idea, but I was hoping I could get some feedback here. Thank you in advance for any help.
 

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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

My questions:

Are we crazy? Is it even possible?
It's possible, but not necessarily easy.

How hard is it to find a job (we are both teachers)?
Ooh, well, finding a job in France is difficult even if you're a native, speak the language and have a local degree or other recognized qualification. That's not to say it's impossible, but you may need to be creative.

As teachers, you'll have to also be flexible. Your chances of finding work in the public school system are pretty slim. Look to the private school sector or find some way to turn your teaching experience into something a bit more business oriented.

How hard is it to find a long term rental?
"Long-term" is a relative term. A residential rental in France normally comes with a 3-year lease - at least if you're looking at unfurnished property. Furnished residential properties are considered hotel or vacation rentals and fall under rather different laws and rules.

The trick for a newcomer to France is usually that of needing three months of (French) payslips in order to satisfy a landlord's vetting for credit worthiness.

Will it be too hard for our children to adapt (they range in age from 4 to 15)?
Depends on your kids to a large extent. Do they speak any French? How well do they adapt to change, or to being the outsiders? Can they adapt to a somewhat more rigid style of schooling?

If we were able to find jobs, how long does the whole process take?
Which process exactly? Finding jobs is a longer process in France than in the US. Decisions are made slowly, in part because of the labor laws which make it difficult to fire employees - hence employers are much more cautious about hiring people they may not be able to get rid of easily (or cheaply). Then there is the little matter of getting approval to hire a foreigner and sponsor their visa.

In most cases, if one of you finds a job, the other can come over on a dependent visa, but that doesn't include working privileges.

Not trying to discourage you, but things move much more slowly in France than they do in the US. Moving over to France tends to be a long-term project - figure at least a year or two, including job hunting and all the necessary approvals.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, and welcome to the forum!



It's possible, but not necessarily easy.



Ooh, well, finding a job in France is difficult even if you're a native, speak the language and have a local degree or other recognized qualification. That's not to say it's impossible, but you may need to be creative.

As teachers, you'll have to also be flexible. Your chances of finding work in the public school system are pretty slim. Look to the private school sector or find some way to turn your teaching experience into something a bit more business oriented.



"Long-term" is a relative term. A residential rental in France normally comes with a 3-year lease - at least if you're looking at unfurnished property. Furnished residential properties are considered hotel or vacation rentals and fall under rather different laws and rules.

The trick for a newcomer to France is usually that of needing three months of (French) payslips in order to satisfy a landlord's vetting for credit worthiness.



Depends on your kids to a large extent. Do they speak any French? How well do they adapt to change, or to being the outsiders? Can they adapt to a somewhat more rigid style of schooling?



Which process exactly? Finding jobs is a longer process in France than in the US. Decisions are made slowly, in part because of the labor laws which make it difficult to fire employees - hence employers are much more cautious about hiring people they may not be able to get rid of easily (or cheaply). Then there is the little matter of getting approval to hire a foreigner and sponsor their visa.

In most cases, if one of you finds a job, the other can come over on a dependent visa, but that doesn't include working privileges.

Not trying to discourage you, but things move much more slowly in France than they do in the US. Moving over to France tends to be a long-term project - figure at least a year or two, including job hunting and all the necessary approvals.
Cheers,
Bev
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions, Bev. I truly appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me!

In looking online and reading your responses, it is clear to me that it will not be an easy process, should we decide to try. We have only just started talking about it, and I didn't know how involved it would be. When I said "process", I meant just what you answered concerning finding jobs, a rental, and being approved to even move to France.

My husband would actually prefer to do something different, as would I, but I am not sure what we could do. He is certified in History/English, and I am certified in Music, so I guess we'd have to really look into what that would translate to in other areas of work. I looked at some job sites, and can see that finding jobs would be very difficult.

As for our kids, they do not speak the language, sadly I am the only one who has ever taken French, and it was years ago. I know that would be a problem, but if we were lucky enough to find a way to move, we'd have to learn as much as we could before doing so.

I have been on a couple of rental sites, but they are the holiday rentals that you spoke of. I noticed that some of them said they would rent for a year, but I had no clue about any other rentals, nor did I know about the payslips needed for credit approval.

You have not discouraged me, and I thank you for the honest answers. I am a dreamer type, and sometimes need to be snapped back to reality:D! I don't think I am ready to totally give up on the dream, but we need to decide if we can do all that it would take, and if we even can. Have a wonderful week!

Thank you so much,
Lisa
 

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I had always wanted to live in Europe, but didn't have a clue how to go about it. As luck would have it, I had an initial opportunity dropped in my lap (though once I decided to go for it, I had to fight tooth and nail). Sometimes it works like that - something unexpected happens and then you build on it.

Having the language, however, is a big part and one you can work on.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I just want to reiterate the necessity of having the language skills to as high a level before considering moving over here. I know many people have come over with purely basic conversational level French or school French before and slowly found there way, but this really isn't a comfortable experience, and I really couldn't imagine doing this with a young family. For work, without a decent level in French there really are no jobs at all. All interviews are conducted in French - which is a terrifying experience as I have recently discovered! The paperwork as well is a nightmare, and you will not have the option to ask for an English speaking representative in most places you visit. It's also about your acceptance amongst your new countrymen/women.

Surely the dream in reality is going somewhere where all of you have the best chance and are prepared to deal with any situation and opportunity that might come your way.
 

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I just want to reiterate the necessity of having the language skills to as high a level before considering moving over here. I know many people have come over with purely basic conversational level French or school French before and slowly found there way, but this really isn't a comfortable experience, and I really couldn't imagine doing this with a young family. For work, without a decent level in French there really are no jobs at all. All interviews are conducted in French - which is a terrifying experience as I have recently discovered! The paperwork as well is a nightmare, and you will not have the option to ask for an English speaking representative in most places you visit. It's also about your acceptance amongst your new countrymen/women.

Surely the dream in reality is going somewhere where all of you have the best chance and are prepared to deal with any situation and opportunity that might come your way.
I totally second this - my French is a little above school level (and improving) but somethings, especially phone calls, are difficult. I'm retired so work environment here isn't an issue but I travelled extensively for work in both South America and Asia/Pacific and could not really achieve anything significant without translation. My wife is finding it really tough as she has no grounding in any foreign languages so has no reference for learning.

We are still enjoying ourselves here but the language is a barrier sometimes, especially in social environments.

Bon chance
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had always wanted to live in Europe, but didn't have a clue how to go about it. As luck would have it, I had an initial opportunity dropped in my lap (though once I decided to go for it, I had to fight tooth and nail). Sometimes it works like that - something unexpected happens and then you build on it.

Having the language, however, is a big part and one you can work on.
Cheers,
Bev
Thank you again, Bev. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. I am going to continue to look into everything I/we would need to do, but with a more realistic thought process! I think I am going to try to learn French either way. It is to me, the most beautiful of the languages, and it would never be a bad thing to do if only to use it on a vacation one day:).

Have a great week,
Lisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just want to reiterate the necessity of having the language skills to as high a level before considering moving over here. I know many people have come over with purely basic conversational level French or school French before and slowly found there way, but this really isn't a comfortable experience, and I really couldn't imagine doing this with a young family. For work, without a decent level in French there really are no jobs at all. All interviews are conducted in French - which is a terrifying experience as I have recently discovered! The paperwork as well is a nightmare, and you will not have the option to ask for an English speaking representative in most places you visit. It's also about your acceptance amongst your new countrymen/women.

Surely the dream in reality is going somewhere where all of you have the best chance and are prepared to deal with any situation and opportunity that might come your way.
Thank you so much for your input, and for sharing the info about the paperwork and interviews. This is just something we've begun to talk about, and I know it would take a lot of serious thinking and work to even try. I am planning on taking some sort of French lessons/courses, just because I love the language so much. I would never move to a country and not at least be able to converse properly. Trust me, where I live people get upset when newcomers don't at least try to assimilate into society. I would never want to be viewed in that way, so we would have to all learn a good bit if we were able to move to France.

You are completely correct in your last statement! If we are able to ever pull off moving, we need to be in a place that we do have the best chance for happiness. There are actually several countries we have talked about, but there is just something about France:).

Thanks again and have a wonderful day/night,
Lisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I totally second this - my French is a little above school level (and improving) but somethings, especially phone calls, are difficult. I'm retired so work environment here isn't an issue but I travelled extensively for work in both South America and Asia/Pacific and could not really achieve anything significant without translation. My wife is finding it really tough as she has no grounding in any foreign languages so has no reference for learning.

We are still enjoying ourselves here but the language is a barrier sometimes, especially in social environments.

Bon chance
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my post. I can only imagine how hard it is to talk on the phone and not be fluent, or to be in a social situation and not be able to converse. You have given me more to think about, so thank you. I know that if we are ever able to achieve this dream, that we will have to do a great deal of learning. Once again, I appreciate you sharing your experience with me.

Thank you,
Lisa
 
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