I’m sitting here in Mozilla’s San Francisco office after having spent 6 months in Paris, working in our office there. While I was in France, I basically lived my life in French and spent as little time as possible speaking in English. It was an amazing time, and I’m sad to be back in California!
As an American in Paris, I noticed a bunch of interesting things about living in France both in terms of having to speak in a second language and differences about our cultures. So, I am going to spend a couple of blog posts talking about my observations and experiences. I was very lucky to have coworkers and friends in Paris who were accepting of my mistakes and willing to let me bumble my way through my trip (and patiently explain when I made mistakes, both culturally and linguistically). While my experience was in France, I think that a lot of what I learned can be applied to other countries that don’t use English as their primary language.
PAQs (Possibly Asked Questions)
My family has a special relationship with France. My parents both speak French (even though they’re both American) and both lived in Paris for an extended period of time. I have cousins and uncles who go to France regularly. As a result of this, as I grew up, I found myself surrounded to some extent by French and French culture. For example, my parents have been trying to teach me French ever since I was three. On the strength of this familiarity with French, I’ve been to France (and more precisely to Paris) several times, each of them for a month and every time I’ve been there, I’ve found myself saying to myself, “I would really love to live here.” So, when I realized that I might have the opportunity, I jumped at it.
Where did you stay?
Going to a foreign country for six months is a little awkward. It’s just enough time that it might not make sense to keep your apartment in your home city, but not quite long enough that it’s worth the hassle of finding a new one when you get back (especially in San Francisco). Fortunately, I have an “aunt” (in a very loose sense) who avoids winters in Paris by living elsewhere in the world for four months and who doesn’t like to have an empty apartment, so while I was in Paris, I was doing double duty working for Mozilla and housesitting (it’s a hard life, I know!).2 comments
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