I have been living in Toulouse for over four months now and I can safely say that my ability to talk to French people has improved in an unbelievable way. I was told before I came out to France by a man I respected that living abroad would be the making of me. I can tell you that his words proved to be true!
In this blog post, I would like to share with you some of the things that have helped me to survive out in France. So here is my four-step guide to living in a foreign country:
1. Integrate with the culture and the people.
It is very easy to go to work and just come straight home but this will lead to periods of immense boredom and loneliness. The best thing to do is to go out and meet people in cafés, bars or nightclubs. Until recently, I did not believe the rumour that a friend made on a year abroad is a friend for life but now I do.
2. Get into organisations that help you meet people.
I joined a church in Toulouse called Toulouse International Church and as a result I now have a place to go to practise my faith. If you are a religious person this point could really help you. If you enjoy your exercise, joining a gym is also a good idea.
3. Speak the language.
Even if you can't speak the local language well, at least make the effort to try and improve. This helps you become more fluent and more people will want to talk to you if they know you have something to say.
Travelling around the country passes the time but most importantly gives you memories that allow you to tell others of your experiences.
These are four things that allowed me to safely integrate into a totally foreign culture. Trust me, you don't know how young and inexperienced you are until you live abroad for the first time. That being said, to anyone who reads this and goes abroad, good luck: you'll have a blast!
Have you ever lived in a different country? Are you interested in living abroad in the future?