Meet Finlay. A Kiwi expat in France.
Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?
So far I have lived in London and a small town in France called Fontaine Le Port, which is about an hour south of Paris. I lived in London for about 2 months but struggled to find a solid job and afford living costs that are involved with London. Luckily I had a contact who was able to get me this job in France where I have been based for the last 3 months.
What took you there, what do you do?
The thing that took me to France was the job opportunity.
The job, well its very unusual. I work on an estate, which is owned by the Sultan of Oman – essentially it’s his holiday home in France. He has a big workforce here maintaining the grounds and establishment, and there’s also a horse show team, which is where I work, looking after the show horses.
How do you find living overseas on your own?
Lets put it this way, it’s definitely not been smooth sailing. I had never lived alone before, always flatted or lived with the olds. It’s challenging, but rewarding at the same time. I’m glad I came by myself as it’s forced me to open up more and make new friends and contacts. Its hard to find your feet but when you do its an achievement.
Your favourite spot/s?
I do enjoy Paris obviously. It’s expensive, but it really is a cool city and has great nightlife.
Other spots would include a small town called Fontaine Bleu, which has one of the biggest chateaus in Europe built there. It’s just a nice typical French town that’s not caught up with too many annoying tourists.
And also Nice is great – especially in the summer when it’s nice and warm and the ocean isn’t too bad either. Not to mention the amazing views also from the hills!
What do you miss most about home?
Definitely friends. It was hard leaving them that’s for sure. Of course you make lots of friends when you travel, but its nothing like the ones you grew up with. Also just the relaxed lifestyle in New Zealand. Coming from a country of 4.5 million to a city like Paris or London of over 8 million is ridiculous. It’s like they are always in a hurry for work or something small – its not life or death, they need to slow down and enjoy things more.
Hardest/ worst thing about living abroad?
Speaking French. In saying that it’s easy enough to get by. But the French are very proud. They may speak English but they choose not to speak it to you just because you can’t speak French – which I guess is fair enough. I find them really hit or miss. They either love you or do not want to give you the time of day. That’s just the way it is.
Best thing about living abroad?
Just the all around experience I think. I think you get to see more of the world and experience different cultures and ways of life. How do you know your going to love living in one spot your whole life if you haven’t tried anywhere else?
For those who only have a short time in France?
That’s a toughy Liz… I can give you 2 options. definitely spend a weekend in Paris. They have plenty of tourists attractions of which all are impressive. ive been let down by others traveling but not in paris. Or just head to the south, to Nice, Montpellier or Marseille. It’s really beautiful there and perfect for a relaxing weekend away – there’s even a few topless sunbathers too if your into that haha..
What was the best thing that happened to you/ best experience you’ve had since living abroad?
Think would have to be the Contiki tour I did when I first arrived. just a good bunch of people having a big party for a month. We got to see so many different countries as well, which helped me determine where I might want to live. Everyone is in the same boat on the tour and ya make good mates and contacts in different parts of the world, which is wicked.
Best travel story?
Haha. Plenty of good ones but there is certainly one that stands out most. We were in Rome with Contiki and having a big party (as usual on Contiki). Anyway I had a bit to much to drink and as I went to step outside (wearing jandals, in the rain, on a slippery surface) (excuses) I slipped over. For some reason my hands didn’t want to break my fall and instead my head did. Next thing I know I’m waking up in an Italian hospital on my own, with no idea where I was… I ended up with 10 stitches in my head too. But when traveling you really just have to roll with the punches.