After the initial month of feeling sad about leaving Durham, I realised that I wasn’t appreciating this opportunity enough. I was living in such a beautiful and culturally-rich city, with loads of opportunities, people to meet and things to do. Once I pushed myself to meet more people, I made a great group of friends here in Paris. Simply saying yes to opportunities allowed me to meet way more people and do things out of my comfort zone. My love for the language has grown, as has my appreciation for the culture and the way of life here.
Now, regarding cultural misunderstandings/shocks, there are a few things I’ve had to get accustomed to over here. For example, every morning I have to high-five everyone in my office (yes everyone). I’m not sure if this is a start-up thing or a Parisian thing, but saying good morning and fist-bumping is expected here, and I’m not a massive fist-bump girl. Apart from that and the distinct difference in terms of French humour and British sarcasm, I’ve personally felt that I’ve come to fit in quite well. The French do have a reputation of being slightly cold, but most people I’ve met have been very polite and welcoming, pretty much the same as British people. The only thing I really miss is Cadbury’s and a good cup of tea (French milk is just not the same).
I have really felt my ability to be independent, confident and open to new people and experiences improve dramatically and after an initial bump in the road, I am truly enjoying every moment of my new-found life in Paris.