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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Advice: The Essentials of Living in France

As I was tutoring a lovely student today I got to thinking about what one really needs to survive in France.. I looked around at the books and the things I use on a daily basis and decided to create a list to impart this information for any 'future expatriates' or even for current expatriates...

The Essentials to Survive as an Expat in France
  1. Basic Understanding of French:  When I say basic, I mean you'll be able to survive with very minimal French.  My advice though is to improve upon this asap... because you'll get stuck with some real snooty customer service- like I did... today.  See.. I had to call Velo'v to change the card to my Técély.. and I got a bit lost on the phone.  I got it done in the end, but I can say more than 'bonjour' and 'au revoir.
  2. Measuring cups/spoons that are 'Bi-Count':  Bi-Count means, in my words, able to measure in cl/ml as well as cups/tablespoons.  Recipes in Europe are on the metric system, if from the US, we are on the imperial system.  Very confusing.
  3. French-French Dictionary:  Not an English-French... because you'd be surprised how that can actually prevent you from learning French.  It helps to understand the synonyms of French words- and if you are REALLY at an elementary level.. well then go for the English-French.
  4. The Book:  Yes.  I mean Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  It's my guide to complicated French dishes, and the best way to impress my French in-laws.. plus it makes me feel very 'Julia Childesque Era:  my Life in France'.  It's fun to sweep around a small French kitchen making the very dishes she made when she herself was discovering France.
  5. Some Clothes 'in fashion':  When I say this, I mean look around pictures of France.. people don't wear berets, despite the stereotype... right now it's a very tights and big sweater type thing- and also very bright pastels... like the 80's in America.
  6. English Grammar for Students of French:  If you don't own this book... go to Amazon and BUY IT NOW.  It simplifies the complexities of French grammar and explains exactly what is a subjunctive and when does one use the imperitive.  Very very helpful.
  7. A Copy of Rosetta Stone:  Helps to verbally practice the language, it's actually a very useful program that I tend to use every now and then.. helps by visual recognition- great for beginners.
  8. Podcasts:  A great way to listen to French on a daily basis.. RFI.com offers 'slow French news' very helpful... and plus most Podcasts are FREE!
That's about the top 8 things I tend to use on a daily basis.  Other things will be describe later, such as, how to make a CV... where to find tutoring gigs.  Opportunities that studying in France can bring someone.

Until later;


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