Once you move into your new home, you might suddenly find yourself suffering from culture shock.
This unpleasant and disorientating experience often happens when people suddenly get uprooted from one place and immersed in another. Acclimatising to new dominant social norms and ways of doing things can be difficult, and this can lead to feelings of confusion and even physical symptoms like sickness.
It’s normal to feel this way, even in a place like France where it’s relatively easy to make trips back to see family, friends and all that is familiar. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve made the wrong decision, or that you’re homesick or unhappy. It’s more common than you think.
To lessen the impact of culture shock, it’s important to be prepared. Spend some time meeting and talking to French people with an open mind: if you’re quick to judge the French way of life as unusual or out of the ordinary, it will take longer for you to get used to it.
Bread – known in French as pain – is one of France’s favourite foodstuffs. You can pick up bread almost any time of day from a local boulangerie (bakery), and it’s wise to try out a few different boulangeries in different locations around your new town first to see which is best.
Markets are very popular in France, and almost all major towns will have one at least once a week. This is an ideal opportunity to try out French cuisine and to enjoy some of the finest foods made by French butchers, bakers, confectioners and more. It’s not just food, either: household wares, clothes, and much more are all available.
Hit up cafes and restaurants
In France, many shops and offices will close at lunchtime – often for quite long periods like a couple of hours. Lunch is probably the most important meal of the French day, and it’s often accompanied by a glass of wine or a coffee.
While it might take some adjusting first, just embrace it! Eating a relaxed meal in early afternoon with friends, family or colleagues a lovely part of French culture, and you’ll get used to it in a heartbeat.