2 December 2016

Roisin Astell - Expat in Paris, France

Roisin Astell - Expat in Paris, France

We’ve had the chance to talk to Roisin Astell, 23, a British expat who has moved to France alone. Miss Astell who has lived there for a year, is a student.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was born in England.


Q: What made you move out of England?

A: I decided to spend a year living in Paris as an Au Pair. After completing my undergraduate degree in History of Art, I knew that I wanted to go on to study a Master’s degree, but needed a break. I really liked the idea of learning a new language and living in another city.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: I am back in England now. After living in Paris for the year, I came back to complete a Master’s degree at the University of Oxford.


Q: How long have you been living in France?

A: I lived in France for the year, and would love to return again in the future.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I went on my own, and lived with a family working as their au pair.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Whilst it was a little strange at first living with a family that was not mine, I was welcomed with open arms and instantly felt like a member of the family. I was used to be away from my family back in England for periods at a time, as I went to University in a different city to the one where my family lives. It was difficult being separated from my boyfriend for a year, but we managed to visit each other every couple of weeks, and skype was extremely helpful!


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Before moving to Paris, and still to this day, people I speak to often mention how rude the French are, especially those from the capital. However, I do not agree with this at all! All the French people that I know are lovely people, and I’ve never had a bad experience with any locals before. As long as you consciously try to make an effort in learning the language, locals are more than happy to welcome you to their area!


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in France? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: At first it was a little bit daunting. Whereas at university you were immediately immersed into an environment with people and meeting new people every day, being an au pair was very different. I was living in Paris for three weeks before starting school and in order to meet new people I used social media a lot. Luckily there are a number of Facebook groups made for au pairs in certain cities, and in these groups, many people arrange to meet or attend large social gatherings. Once I began language school it was easier to meet people, especially those who were also au pairs or learning French.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: The biggest challenge I have found is learning the language. I definitely recommend moving to the respective country in order to learn a new language, but the difficult part is putting it into practice. When you’re first starting a new language, it can be daunting trying to speak to natives, especially if you’re shy! In order to improve you need to practice, and sometimes that means letting go of any embarrassment or nervousness, and just going for it!


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: There is so much to do in Paris, so much that I could be writing here for days! Check out my blog to see the various hidden gems of the city that only the locals know: www.roisingrace.com


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I would love to move back to Paris.