Year abroad in France, from England to France.
France in a nutshell. British perspective.
So I hope you've come here because you want to hear about a first person view of the differences between living in England and France? Well you've come to the right place, i'm going to be going over the things i've noticed the most whilst being here. Firstly though i'm going to give you some history to as why I am here.
I am studying French & business studies at university and got given an opportunity to study abroad for a year in a city called Grenoble which is in the south east of France.
One of the first things i've realised since being here is the language. I know this sounds stupid, but I never realised the way you speak in French, can not be put down on paper the same way. There are two different ways to say things, whether you're with your friends or out with your parents rather than writing down what happened on paper. It also makes me realise how many people actually don't speak English. English people seem to have the misconception that everyone in the world speaks English, and the truth of the matter is that it's false. I've been here for 2 months and sure lots of people can speak English, but even the students struggle to make sentences that make sense and require me to speak French to them sometimes.
The next one is food. Stereotypes of french people, baguette, coffee, wine and a cigarette? You know these stereotypes are exactly correct. Everywhere you go, you will most likely see someone smoking, it's very popular in France, but I have been made aware that they are raising the tax on smoking for the start of next year, so perhaps this will change, but coming from England, there are definitely more smokers here than in England definitely. I don't think it's if you smoke, it's when you smoke. Same with the coffee, you walk past restaurants during the day, and there will be people outside drinking a coffee talking with a friend on their 2 hour lunch break. 2 hours for lunch, it's the norm here. Wine, it's just win with an extra e. In England I could drink almost anything from Jägermeister to Strongbow to Stella, but ever since i've come to France, the only drink on the menu for me is wine. A pint of beer in a pub here, averages at €6. Roughly you would pay £5 for a pint of beer, or you can get a bottle of wine for €3.15. You do the math, wine it is. They have isles dedicated to red wine, another for rosé and another for white, it's splendid!
The next is culture, and so far I am enjoying experiencing french culture. For example, when you go to a supermarket, they do NOT give you plastic bags to take home for free. You have to take your own or struggle with your arms full of shopping. I think this is so good, it forces customers to not have the stupid plastic bags which are thrown out when they break. If everyone just buys 4-5 reusable bags then it'd make a drastic change. Also they are so weary of thieves here. When you go into the store, they check your bag, and if there's an item in the store which is sold, they sticker it to ensure the staff knows you haven't stolen it. Also something I think which is linked the the culture is how green the french are. Bottle banks are on street corners in town, so if you're drinking and walking into town, rather than throw your bottle in a bin, you throw it in a bottle bin, the majority of the bins here are separated into paper, plastics and other. Also the Mcdonalds here in Grenoble run on 100% green energy. Amazing.
I hope you've enjoyed my little teaser of French life, I most likely will be adding to it as I live my year abroad. Any questions about this article, please do ask and I hope i'll be able to answer them!