Tuesday, July 9, 2013

guest post: How to Make France Your Home Away From Home

Relocating to a new area is always a challenge. From the expenses incurred during the actual move, to the emotions that come with leaving family and friends behind, a major relocation presents a number of obstacles that few people can handle or are willing to undertake. Move to an entirely different country, and you've upped the ante. Whether you’re in France to study, taking a gap year, or relocated for love, no matter how much research you've done, nothing can prepare you for the new region where you'll be living. You may have even purchased a travel guide or investigated the area using online resources. Though you may feel prepared for your new life and adventure abroad, you won't fully know the lay of the land until you've arrived.

Whether you've lived in different countries or have never left your homeland, you're bound to be anxious and uncomfortable in your new surroundings. By becoming familiar with your new neighborhood and city or town, you'll ease many of your initial fears. Once you get settled into your accommodations, spend a few days getting to know your space. Walk the town, check out shops and restaurants, and locate where the hospitals, emergency services, and libraries are. Still don't know where to begin? Here are a few tips to help you get adjusted to your new setting.


 Meet and Greet

The best way to get accustomed to a new place is to talk to those who already have an intimate knowledge of the neighborhood and city. Chat up your neighbors, especially those within your age group, and ask them the essentials about your location: where the grocery stores and markets are, where you can do laundry, where the closets public transportation stops are, and any safety tips they may have. You may also want to gather extra ideas for getting around, find out where some of their favorite local restaurants, coffee spots, bars, and shops are, and what activities or events are popular in the the town. Connecting with your neighbors is key to maximizing your experience living abroad. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get in contact with other expats in a number of popular cities and countries.

Take Your New Hood by Foot

Taking a jaunt around your community is a wonderful way to adapt to your new environment. Map out a route, and allocate a couple of days to walk throughout the city and its accompanying areas. Bring a pen and pad to write down any valuable information—cool shops, troublesome areas, affordable places to dine, and solid watering holes. Walking about the city can also lead you to come across some amazing gems, like a funky cafe, a nice spot to watch the sun set, or a shop that sells clothing similar to items you’d fine at any M&S.

Indulge in the Environment

The most significant part of your experience abroad will be getting to know and learning how to feel at home in your new town. Take in all the action: try local foods, engage in activities you couldn't do back at home, watch popular, local sporting events, and take part in anything free that's offered to you. Remember to take pleasure in as much of this new and exciting journey at every twist and bend.
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