Today, let me tell you more about the new expat service which has been created by a real Lyonnais, experienced in the expat services, and with an expat experience herself, who is totally passionate about helping others! Could you think of a better set of qualities and skills?
Please meet Mademoiselle Guiga – the founder of Expat in France
If you are planning to move to France if you are passionate about France if you are planning to visit France, keep an eye on Expat in France. I, myself, love the content that is being created by Mademoiselle Guiga. On top of that, she is extremely helpful if you need any tips, advise or expat services in France. Do not hesitate to contact her and prepare your move and stay in France stress-free!
- Who you are? What do you do? And why in France?
I’m Guillemette. I’m French from Lyon. I’m a serial expat and I have lived in 6 different countries. My name is very difficult to pronounce wherever you are from and it is even difficult for French people to remember, so I have had many nicknames, but the one I relate to the most is Guiga.
Besides my personal experience of expatriation, I also made expatriation a career as I have been assisting expatriates to relocate from one country to another for the past 10 years. I have worked in London and Barcelona for big multinationals and also for the University of Lyon. I organized and coordinated the home search, the move, the school search, the visa and residence permit requests, healthcare affiliation,… everything that expatriate needed to be set up in their new home!
After 10 years of working in the relocation industry. I wanted to help all the expats that didn’t get the chance to have relocation packages paid for by their employer. So I took the plunge and created Expat in France. Expat in France is still a newborn as I created it during the lockdown. I’m working hard to give as much free and useful information to expats arriving in France.
2. Do you help Expats OR Do you get help as an Expat?
My motto is definitely to help others!
This is the reason why I have been helping expats for the past 10 years and this is also why I created Expat in France. I love expatriation and cultural discovery but I also think that a little help with kind tips is always welcome!
Settling in a new country is a new beginning. Everything is new, exciting, sometimes scary, and it can be easy to lose confidence when we don’t know the local codes. So my first objective is to help expatriates to nail the French red tape with detailed and professional information. It is not easy to find comprehensive information about French administrative processes in English. I want to give expats all the tips so that they can settle with more ease in France and also gain confidence in setting up their life in France.
For example, finding a new home when arriving in a new country is one of the main challenges an expat will face. Until proper housing is found, it will be very hard for anyone to feel safe, and really start their new life abroad. Housing is at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the individual to feel secure. For this reason, I have prepared a free expat guide to help expats to find a long term rental in France. It can be downloaded on Expat in France blog and it will help expats living in Lyon or anywhere else in France to:
– Understand the French rental market & prepare their home finding and adjust their requirements
– Tips to find a rental without a guarantor
– Apply for CAF housing benefits (not only for students)
– Understand their rights & responsibilities as a tenant in France, and much more
Once the most important elements are in order like housing, healthcare, residence permit, it is easier to feel ready to discover France. And, this is often when first the cultural shock kicks in… As a French national and a serial expat I want to give expats coming to France the keys to understanding French culture. For example, the French way of greeting with la bisee can be so confusing for so many expats!
3. How does it work for Expats in Lyon?
Being from Lyon, I communicate a bit more about Lyon than other locations in France and give some of my local tips. I will continue doing it as this city is in my heart, but I also want to speak to all expats coming to France, to the French countryside, other French towns and cities, and the Parisian expats.
Expat in France is still in creation but I’m planning to provide professional and friendly online assistance to expatriates coming to work to France at an affordable cost.
I want individuals to be able to get access to relocation assistance like the multinational expat packages but via an online service. I will launch it next year. I will, of course, continue to provide free information accessible to every expats in search of free professional information and French culture tips. Once this is ready I will let you know. So, stay tuned on the social media to be the first informed, and be part of the community as I will make specially tailored made services to the first expatriates interested expats to participate.
4. What are your Top 3 Tips For Expats in Lyon?
Register to regular activity: Continue your hobby in Lyon and do it at the local association. Go singing, for example at the International Lyon Choir, or go running, practice yoga, anything you like that will help meeting people, make new friends and turn Lyon into your new home.
Go out to meet people: Moving to another country is about leaving our comfort zone and often being lonely until we create our new group of friends. It takes time to recreate this support system and this new community. It takes a lot of effort to go to a new place where we don’t know anyone, don’t necessarily speak the language, don’t know the codes… But it is so much worth it!
Don’t give up on the French: French people and French language can seem so difficult to win over. People from Lyon are not always very warm at first and it takes time and a lot of perseverance to make local friends. If you keep on making the effort, reaching out, organising meet-ups, they will slowly become close and loyal friends. It is the same with the French language, keep on trying. You don’t need to speak perfectly, and the more you practice the better you’ll speak and the more you’ll make local friends. It is a virtuous circle, the result of your hard work. Keep it up!
5. What are Your Top 3 Useful For Expats Resources
Besides finding great information on Expat in France blog, I think it is very important to be part of a community, make new friends and discover the culture. The 3 below organisations will help you to do it each one in a different way.
The KoToPo is a Lyon association in the Croix-Rousse area promoting intercultural discovery and language learning. They organise monthly language exchange in 16 different languages. This is a great way to make new friends with other expats or French people wanting to practice a foreign language. They also organise exhibitions, concerts and have a small bar.
If you are like Aga and adore Lyon, then you should join the OnlyLyon Ambassadors network. This network helps to improve Lyon’s international influence. Special events are organised regularly for ONLYLYON ambassadors. You will meet new people and expand your network. Network is key in Lyon, especially if you are starting your business or looking for a job. And the registration is free!
Lyon International puts in contact French families with foreign visitors to share a French meal together to facilitate cultural discovery and integration. This is a great opportunity to meet locals and discover French homemade cooking. The association also organises other activities in Lyon such as the Beaujolais region visit or going to a Lyon museum. Check out their events calendar.
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