My name is Anna and I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved to France to complete my Bachelor’s degree in International Business. I attended a University in the United States for 2 years, and then attended a business school, Neoma Business School, in Reims, France for 2 years. I just completed the degree this summer, and have just moved back home to the States.
What is it that you like in France?
I love the laid-back lifestyle in France. It is so different compared to the States, especially in the workplace. It was relaxing and less pressure filled than at home. I also love the public transportation system. Where I’m from in Ohio everyone has to drive a car and I loved being able to get around, not only a city, but the country and most of Europe by public transportation. It took me a while to adjust to the amount of time it takes the French to complete a task, for instance, renewing my visa. It is such a process and no one is in a hurry (which I like), however, it was frustrating and an adjustment coming from a culture where everything has to be done as quick as possible.
Has any of the stereotypes about French been confirmed?
The one stereotype I went to France with was that the French don’t like Americans. I found it to be completely the opposite. People loved that I could speak a bit of French and loved practicing their English with me. It seemed more fascinating to them, which was fun because I was fascinated by everything in Europe.
Have you learnt anything new about your home country while living in France?
I mainly learned how complex a country is and how different we all are operated. While both France and the United States are developed countries with extremely similar amenities in life, the differences in things like politics, health care or overall safety are so vastly different. Living abroad brought those differences to light much more for me than they would ever be if I had never lived outside the States.
Did you feel yourself integrated?
I definitely felt integrated into society in France and really tried to make it my home. I did gravitate to other Americans or expats since we could share similar experiences, but I loved making friends with the French and creating a life for myself abroad.
Have you experiences any cases of racism/discrimination?
I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable in France, but I did learn that many cultures have different boundaries. Certain acts that may never happen in the States, may seem perfectly normal in France, or other European countries. So, it took me a while to adjust to those cultural differences, but I never felt discriminated against. I think I was just experiencing cultural differences first hand.
Is France a multicultural society?
I definitely think it is. I was in school with people from all over the world and many people I met were expats living in France. From my perspective as an expat I definitely saw immense diversity which made the entire experience so much more enriching, as I was not just experiencing French culture but many others as well.
What is the first thing you do when you go back home?
Eat lots of my favorite American foods, and see my family, of course!!
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