12 March 2018

Mélodie Herbas - Expat in UK

Mélodie Herbas - Expat in UK

We’ve had the chance to talk to Mélodie Herbas, 27, a French expat who has moved to the UK with her partner. Ms Herbas, who has been living there for nearly three years is a PhD student. Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I was born in the south west of France


Q: What made you move out of France?
A: I wanted to learn English and travel. And the best way to discover a country is by living in it.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: I live in Manchester, England. I found a working project there, which corresponded to what I wanted to do.


Q: How long have you been living in the UK?
A: nearly three years


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?
A: I live with my partner. He followed me in this adventure and after several months of struggling to find a job that he likes he finally found work in his field.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: Sometimes yes so I just do a Skype with my family, or I go out with my friends, and I feel better.


Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: Overall English people are welcoming and helpful.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in the UK? How did you manage to find a social circle there?
A: I met a lot of people, but the difficult part is to become friends with them. I sometimes socialise with French people, but most of my friends are international or local people. I used social network such as facebook, meetup or couchsurfind to meet people.


Q: How does the cost of living in the UK compare to your home?


Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: It depends where you go, but it is around £1.50-2 for a cup of tea (sorry I don’t drink coffee)

Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: you can find a good main meal in a pub for around £6-7

Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: Around £15-20 for a main meal

Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: In a shop, you can find a good bottle of wine for around £8 in the restaurant it will be more expensive, and the price starts around £16. I don’t smoke.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in the UK?
A: It is easier to open a bank account if you have a job and an accommodation.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?
A: It was not so hard. They are used to foreigner, so they tend to help you when they can.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in the UK is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Yes and no. Sometimes it is very long before you have an appointment but most of the heath services are free.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in France or in the UK? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?
A: No I don’t have one.


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Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to the UK? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?
A: We left our staffs at my partner’s parent house, and when we had a definitive place they send us all your boxes. I can’t remember the name of the transport company but we did a comparison of prices online, and we paid around £1 per kilogram.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: Trying to find a flat that I like. For example, here they love having carpet everywhere, but in France, we love having tiles.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in the UK?
A: The positive side is that you can learn more about this country, meet new people and travel. But the negative side is that even after two years and a half I still feel that I am a foreigner in the local people mind.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?
A: Visiting the national park and going hiking. E.g.: Peak District, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: My contract is finishing next year, so then I will see. I will go there I find a job.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?
A: Go out and discover as much as you can of your new country.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about the UK?
A: For hiking, I love to look at the Walking English man blog (https://www.walkingenglishman.com) or at other blogs that I found online.