Moving to France

Old Oct 17th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Moving to France

I am a 26 year old American with a wife and 3 year old daughter. I have recently been very interested in moving to France to give my daughter opportunity for a better education and a better life. I am a police officer here in the states and am also a Veteran of the US Army. I have been trying to do my research and have come upon conflicting websites. I have read that France would be a great place for me to move to but I have also read that it would be almost impossible for me to move there. I am hoping to get some information from those of you that have made the move from the US to France. Is a move like this possible for me? What is the likely hood that I will be able to get a job to support my family? Any help or information at all will be greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance.

Jason
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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France is a great country and I wouldn't mind spending a few years there myself. But I'm interested to know why you believe your child will have a better life there. The US isn't perfect but every country has it's good and bad points. If you aren't happy with where you live now have you considered another part of the US? Just a thought in case the France move doesn't pan out.

You asked if it's likely you can get a job. How well do you speak French? My cousin is married to a French lady and they tried living in France for a short time. Unfortunately he never found a job other than washing dishes because he doesn't speak good French. He finally got so discouraged they came back to the US.

Good luck with whatever you decide, I hope it all works for the best.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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I can understand many reasons for wanting to live in France but "for a better life"? Are your current living conditions sufficiently deplorable such that the only solution is to leave the country?

As for a better education, there's no guarantee that your daughter will be better schooled in France than in the US. French academic programs might excel for those in early grades but the French have many of the same problems we all face. My French friends which have had their children in both systems actually prefer the programs for the upper grades (high school) in the US over those offered on the whole in France.

If you are really concerned about giving your daughter a French education, the French government has educational programs available in the US for those who may be interested. These are of course private schools which offer the French curriculum.

Here is a map showing the locations of these institutions:

http://www.ump-fr.org/spip.php?page=...id_article=366

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for Americans who want to stay in France longer than 90 days at a time. You'll need to find an employer/sponsor who has sufficient interest in your abilities to cut through all of the red tape and expense just to employ you.

It is not impossible but this will not be easy.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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Emigrating is difficult to say the least. Your best bet is to get a job w/ an international company that has branches where you want to live. Then if you are VERY lucky, after a while w/ that firm, they will transfer you to one of their European offices. But in the current global economic situation, that is less common.

Just packing up and moving your family to France - not really possible.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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You might research employment with the United States government in France. There is an official government web page of overseas positions. There are private employment agencies for overseas jobs but some of them are just scams so be careful.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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The first step is indeed to find a job with an international company that is willing to sponsor you for a residence permit.

I would tend to agree that life in France would be more rewarding than in the U.S. -- not necessarily because of France, but because you would have much easier access to all of the surrounding countries and cultures.

One of the more interesting things to follow up would be the fact that Paris has been using foreign police officers for the past few years to help in cases concerning foreign tourists. They have all been EU police so far (Belgium, Italy, Germany, UK, Spain, etc.), but I can imagine that it could be very prestigious and useful for them to have some American police officers to help deal with one of the biggest tourist groups in the city. A motivated letter to the proper place could work wonders.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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I'd be very doubtful of a "better life", overall. However, there are some workplaces in France that are officially English-speaking, or which will hire experts who aren't French speakers. These would typically be in financial services, consulting, or computer software. You'd have to be an expert in whatever field in order to be hired.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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"Better life" is always a major debate. One of the main things to consider is the importance of money, leisure, culture, education, health care, etc.

I should mention that I work for a foreign airline where languages other than English are not considered to be essential. Although just about all of us speak French at the office, the "work" is almost all done in English.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 11:36 AM
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Hi JasonWilliams, I'd start first by checking the French embassy website and reading over the requirements for obtaining a long-stay visa in France.

As for the search for a "better education and better life" -- I think the U.S. offers plenty of opportunities for that, you just have to work hard. I speak from personal experience. My family used to be very poor, from an immigrant family, and now things are much different.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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kerouac, at your airline, would they actually hire someone who did not speak French well, though?
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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I think in your situaton it would be extremely difficult to emigrate to France. Getting a visa that would allow you to work there without having a job/sponsor already is practicly impossible. (It's much esier if you're retired and well to do - and can prove that you won;t become a charge on the state.)

You don;t say what your educational background is or career trainign - but if you're thinking about being agendarme without being a Franch citizen - that ain't gonna happen. And you can usually nly get a work visa if you have a very specific ability (such as a noted opera singer) and the job cannot be filled by a local. And having any sort of career there without fluent French really isn't an option.

As for a better education and a better life - there are a whole ton of places in the US (with no entry requirements) that have that. You just need to look for them. My parents live in nassau county, which has numerous excellent school districts and the pay of a poice officer with 2 years experience is about $45,000 (without overtime).
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 01:07 PM
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WillTravel, several of our managers do not speak French at all. They speak Arabic.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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I do not approve of people who do not encourage people with a dream but instead tell them why it is too difficult or why they should not bother trying.

I fully encourage JasonWilliams to pursue his dream, even if he changes his mind somewhere along the way. Strangely enough, I feel that some of the people here would be much more positive in helping someone from another country who was trying to relocate to the United States.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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Have you ever been to France? Have you ever seen the square footage of a French apartment? Do you think that you could adapt to it? Do you think you could afford an apartment that would be comfortable for you?

Can you connect the dots between your dream and reality, before even considering feasibility?
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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"The square footage of a French apartment" is pretty broad... I imagine it ranges from the same tiny boxes we have in our cities to larger homes in more rural cities. He said "France," not "Paris." And we have no idea of JW's means or connections.

I agree with kerouac - it's not our place to step on JW's dreams. If you really want to do this, then of course it's possible.

That said, Michael did ask an important question: have you spent time in France? If you haven't, you and your family should plan an extended trip there. Date it... get to know its wrinkles as well as its beauty before you marry it.

If you have spent time there, then start talking to people you've met. Putting the idea out there tends to open doors and raise ideas you didn't even think of. That happened to me... the last time I went to Europe by myself, I came away with opportunities for work in both Amsterdam and Paris. I only speak a little French and even less Dutch... as my friends said, "You can learn when you're here."
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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I don't want to step on the dream either but the OP only said he has read about France and this concerns me. I would like to hear more from the OP about his knowledge of France.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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There are ups and downs involved in any change, and moving to another country is a big change, no matter how prepared/unprepared you are. I moved to Switzerland never having been there and knowing no German (well, 5-10 words) and loved it--after the first few difficult months. Years later I moved to a part of France I knew very little, with very rusty high school French, and within a week felt surprisingly at home. Both times, I left a house I owned in California and lived in a cottage where ice formed inside the kitchen door, and a tiny apartment up 81 steps. IMHO, living in a different country can be a wonderful experience and it is possible to be flexible enough to enjoy the ups despite the downs.

JW, if you want to live in France, I hope you get to do it. Having an employer who will sponsor you for a residency permit would help; otherwise, restrictions about how long you can stay would require you to leave periodically. Do you or your wife have European relatives (parents or grandparents) through whom you could obtain citizenship that would give you access to all EU countries, including France?

Good luck following your dream.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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I think what a lot of people are responding to is someone who wants to move someplace they haven't been based on perceptions they've acquired by reading. I would think thaat before seriously considering moving to France one would

1) do some research on the requirements from the only reliable source - the French embassy
2) visit for some extended period of time to get at least a flavor of what the country is like
3) have some sort of plan as to what they would be able to do to make a living - or at least a list of marketable skills
4) some plan for learning at least basic French (for the whole family)
5) have some understanding that life is better in France (in terms of educations, healthcare etc) partly because the taxes are enormously higher

He says this is primarily to get his daughter a better education and a better life. He doesn't mention interest in French culture, style of life, living conditions or political or social attitudes.

There are many other way to get your child a better education and life.

I don't want to discourage someone who approaches this in a serious way - but at the moment this seems to be a fantasy not an aspiration related to reality. If you want to make your dreams come true it takes a lot of work (research, planning, learning, understanding) - not just a wish.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 07:10 PM
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I hope you get there. It's been my dream but too late for me.
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Old Oct 17th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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kerouac, it makes sense that your airline would hire Arabic speakers, but would they hire any unilingual English speakers to work in Paris? That said, I know that opportunities can exist to work in Europe using language combinations that one might not expect, and I know unilingual English speakers are hired for certain roles.
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