Expat Voices: Joan McBride on living in France

Expat Voices: Joan McBride on living in France

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Joan McBride believes she would have "no quality of life" if it wasn't for France but wishes the government would help more people learn the language.

Name: Joan McBride

Nationality: British

City of residence: Near St Jean 'Angely, 17400

Date of birth: 04/07/1946

Civil status:  PACS

Occupation: Retired

Reason for moving to France:  To bring some serenity to my life. Something that I was not previously able to achieve for many years.

Lived in France for 16 months

What was your first impression of France?  
I´m Home

What do you think of the food? 

An acquired taste

What do you think of the shopping in France? 
Getting better. Locally there has been an upturn in availability of products from other countries. Giving a slightly better choice/price. Long may it continue!


What do you appreciate about living in France?
A sense of belonging. Good neighbours (All French)

What do you find most frustrating about living in France? 
My inability to learn French quickly enough so as to deal with all the administration also to interact more readily with all my neighbours.

What puzzles you about France and what do you miss since you’ve moved here? 
I have lived in Spain so anything after that does not puzzle or surprise me.
I miss good English tea. The “stuff” they sell here is passed of as English but is not the same.

How does the quality of life in France compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Without France, I would not have a quality of life.

If you could change anything about France, what would it be? 
An open market place for goods and services, allowing for more competition where the customers can get a better deal.

What advice would you give to a newcomer? 
Consider why you chose to live here. Be prepared for some compromise.

Any newcomer to a country has to find their feet. Unfortunately, some find it more difficult. Particularly with the language. It is not laziness. I have come across British people in supermarkets desperate for assistance. Turn to another Brit for help, only to be told, “Why don’t you learn French like we had to do?”

As far as I am aware The French, government only places importance on “working/school age” people learning French. The places are limited. The private lessons go beyond my pension pocket so I have to make do with “pick it up as I go”.

I would like to see more facilities (government backed) available to all ages. It would help with better integration.

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1 Comment To This Article

  • oliviadog posted:

    on 12th August 2009, 17:02:01 - Reply

    I totally agree that France MUST find a way to teach French to foreigners of all ages and learning styles at an affordable price! Until then, they need to shut up about it.