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EXPATS

How do you compare to a typical expat in France?

A new survey is full of revealing facts about expats in France, why they came here, what they love and what they loathe. So how do you measure up?

How do you compare to a typical expat in France?
One in four expats to France came to country because of a relationship. Photo: AFP

The study by the global expat network InterNations looked at expats in 64 countries. Here's what it has to say about foreigners living and working in France.

You came for love

It should come as no surprise that one in four expats moved to France for the most French of reasons — amour. Some 14 percent came because their partner was already here, while another 11 percent came over with their partner. 

Meanwhile, 60 percent of France's expats are in a relationship, which is close to the global average.


(Photo: Colourmewonderfulx/Flickr)

You found settling into France really difficult

France's rank is shockingly low when it comes to ease of settling in: it ranks 59th of the 64 countries InterNations looked at.

Perhaps that's because the locals aren't thought to be the most accommodating bunch. Nearly one in three expats in France said the French were “were less than welcoming” to foreigners, against a global average of 16 percent.

On the plus side, 57 percent of people said getting used to French culture wasn't too much of a challenge.

You think leaning the language is crucial

Expats in Singapore or Switzerland may be able to get by on English alone, and never have to look at a dictionary, but the situation in France appears to be very different.

In fact, 76 percent of people said getting by in France without the French language was tough. By contrast, that figure is only 45 percent in neighbouring Switzerland, and it's 52 percent in Germany.

Language was also a key part of their decision-making process for nearly half of all expats moving to France.

You aren't exactly impressed with the French economy…

While you like the lifestyle  — expats in France work an average of 37.6 hours a week against a global average of 42 hours a week — you don't think much of France's economy.

Only 48 percent of expats interviewed by InterNations saw the French economy in a positive light. That's well down on the worldwide average of 65 percent.

And even less impressed with your career prospects

“France is probably not the best place for pursuing a career: in the Job & Career subcategory the country ranks 55th. Expats in France are also somewhat more worried about unemployment than the average,” reads the report.

You enjoy the travel opportunities France offers

Expats in France love to travel and many like to take advantage of its place at the heart of Europe, but also the decent transport system, including the highly rated TGV high speed train service.

“A major factor behind the ease of travel is probably the local transportation system, which leaves only 5 percent of the respondents unhappy,” the report says.

But you could do with earning a bit more cash

Around a third (31 percent) of expats in France have an income in the $25,000 (€28,100) to $50,000 a year bracket, some way above the 22 percent global average.

A further 16 percent of people earn from $50,000 to $75,000 — in line with the worldwide average — and close to one in six people take home between $12,000 and $25,000. 

At first glance, those figures don't look too bad, but France ranks 55 out of 64 countries for personal finances. That's partly because France is not particularly cheap. For cost of living it comes in at a lowly 41st place.

You are generally happy with education and healthcare

On a positive note, 79 percent of expat parents give France's education system the thumbs up, despite ongoing criticism of schools.

Healthcare also has a high approval rating — 81 percent of people rate this positively. Some 77 percent of expats in France also say health care is generally affordable, against a worldwide average of just 55 percent.

 
(Photo: Shutterstock)

And you are pretty happy with your life in France

Around three in four expats in France (77 percent) are happy with their life in their new home. To break that down, 11 percent said they were “very satisfied”, 35 percent said they were “satisfied”, and 31 percent said they were “mostly satisfied”.

Only 1 percent said they were “not satisfied at all”.

SEE ALSO: Expat life in France – what's good and what's bad

Do you have things you like or don't like about living in France? Tell us in the comments sections below.

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EXPATS

From TV to snacks: Tips for how to get your home comforts in France

Here are some tips for how to get your favourite TV shows and snacks whilst living in France so you can enjoy at least some of the comforts from home.

From TV to snacks: Tips for how to get your home comforts in France
Photo: AFP
There’s nothing quite like sitting down in front of the TV with a cup of tea and Mars Bar or Snickers.
 
But tuning into the your favourite shows or hunting down your favourite tea bags isn’t always easy when you’re living in France.

The easiest way to tune into English-language TV from your home in France is via a satellite dish. 

For Brits living in France, installing a dish and FreeSat box will get you up to 140 TV and radio channels from back home, so you can tune into the latest series of the Great British Bake Off without a hitch. 

You make a one-off payment and then you’re set – no contract necessary.

To set your satellite connection up and pointed in the right direction, get in touch with an installer such as The French HouseDD ElectronicsDigiTV Solutions or FreeSat in France

But if you don't fancy (or just can't) install a big dish on your house then watching TV via the internet is your other option.

There are sites like Film On TV, which used to be free, but now you'll probably have to pay to watch your favourite channels, although it still offers some programmes free for a certain amount of time.

Many expats have turned to VPNs (Virtual Private Network) for their laptops which essentially disguises what country you are in, so you can watch your favourite TV programmes online.

But TV companies like the BBC and Sky are cracking down on VPNs and making it harder for expats to connect. However the EU is putting pressure on broadcasters to allow people to watch TV no matter what country they are in. SO things may change for the better in the future.

Finally, British expats who split their time between the UK and France BBC iPlayerAll4Sky Go and ITV Hub all allow UK TV licence payers to download programmes and keep them for around 30 days. So you could stock up when you go home and settle into the sofa for 30 days when you get back.

American readers missing their TV shows will be pleased to know there's an option for you too. 

Digital satellite provider CanalSat will make sports fans very happy – it broadcasts ESPN so you never have to miss a baseball, NFL, and American football game again.

You can also tune in to CNN, NBC, and even catch The Tonight Show. 

As long as you don't mind waiting a few months after the programmes have been aired, a subscription to Netflix may be the perfect solution.. 

Netflix gives you access to its latest original TV series and many others, including shows from NBC, the CW, ABC and the BBC. 

Hulu's also a great alternative, with SNL, South Park, and Modern Family ready to watch at any time, from anywhere. 

Once you’re sat in front of your favourite series, the matter of finding your favourite snacks from home can be just as difficult. 

Some French supermarkets have world food aisles where you might be able to strike it lucky.

But more often than not they're a jumble of products and you never know what you might find. 

Brits missing out on Marmite, Cup-a-Soup, and McVitie’s biscuits can place online orders with websites like British Cornershop and Brit Superstore who deliver straight to your door. 

And if you're in Paris, don't forget there's always WH Smiths on Rue de Rivoli and the numerous Marks & Spencer outlets around town, which offe plenty of snacks and indeed some decent meals.

The American equivalents, My Little America and My American Market, also promise all the Pop Tarts, Hershey's and Lucky Charms money can buy. 

If you’re based in the capital, a trip to La Grande Epicerie in the 7th arrondissement will satisfy any food cravings. 

The upmarket shop has treats from America, the UK, Italy, India and Asia

But it will come at a cost: one can of Heinz baked beans will set you back almost three euros and a box of Froot Loops cereal costs €12.25. There is also the English, Scottish, Irish epicerie at cité de Vauxhall near Place de la Republique which offers English ales, cereals and sweets.

With the American holiday season coming up very soon, make sure to stop by Thanksgiving grocery store in Paris' 4th arrondissement (for the non-Parisians, there's an online shop too). 

Aside from New York bagels, Jello, and hot sauces, the shop stocks all the must-haves for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners: yams, cranberries, and turkeys, as well as home-made desserts. 

Amazon is also any expat's friend for finding the taste of home. 

But getting your family and friends to bring your favourite snacks from home is always going to be the least expensive, and most reliable, way to source your home comforts. 

By Anna Schaverien

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