From France to Norway, Sri Lanka, US and China - Expat Interview With Veronique

Published: 28 Feb at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,China
Since 2010, Veronique, is the author of the successful blog, Expat Forever. She is a French citizen, a multi-expat – she lived in Norway, Sri Lanka, the US and now China – and the mother of two Third Culture Kids. But she is not only that. She is also a professional writer. Her first book, Finding Your Feet In Chicago – The essential guide for expat families, was published in August 2012 by Summertime Publishing. Now living in Shanghai, she discovers her new surroundings day after day and shares it on her blog as well as her tips about expat life as an active accompanying spouse.

Meet Veronique - French Expat in China
Meet Veronique - French Expat in China

Here's the interview with Veronique...


Where are you originally from?
I am originally from France. I was born in Lyon.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am now living in Shanghai in China. But I am a multi-expat since I lived in Norway, Sri Lanka and the US.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I’ve been living in Shanghai for six months and we are going to stay for three years, so until 2015.

Why did you move?
We moved because of my husband’s job. This is the main reason for our multiple relocations around the world.

Finding Your Feet In Chicago
Finding Your Feet In Chicago
What do you do?
I am a writer so I can work from anywhere. My last book is about Chicago where we lived for four years. This is a practical guide for expat families relocating to this city. The title is Finding Your Feet In Chicago and it is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Edition.

Did you bring family with you?
Yes, our two daughters relocated with us.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It is always a very challenging period even after several international locations. Even if you know the different steps, you cannot avoid the emotional roller coaster. It is just part of this way of life. You have to accept it and be patient with yourself and each member of the family relocating with you.

Chinese Lantern - Century Park Shanghai
Chinese Lantern - Century Park Shanghai
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, it is very easy to meet and socialize with expats in Shanghai. The expat community is large, diverse and extremely organized. So it makes things easier. But it is more difficult to make local friends, mainly because of the culture gap and the language barrier.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
The cost of living in Shanghai is rather high especially for expats. In Shanghai, you can find anything you like, but you must be ready to pay the price (especially for imported items) and spend time looking for it.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Most of the expats are not allowed to drive. Therefore you must rely on taxis, public transportation or if you can afford it on a personal driver with a car. It can be frustrating especially if you are used to be independent.

Shanghai - The Pearl Tower
Shanghai - The Pearl Tower
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The most difficult aspect as a multi-expat is saying goodbye to friends and not knowing when you will see them again for good. New technologies are very useful to keep contact but it will never replace real bonding.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I have already experienced a repatriation to my home country, France, from 2005 to 2008 (after Sri lanka and before the US). I have to say it is more difficult than the expatriation in itself because living abroad has changed yourself and usually you are not prepared at all to repatriation. You are really an alien in your own country, which can be disorienting. I think the best way to approach repatriation is to take it just as an expatriation again. You have to have the same attitude to make friends, socialize, learn what has changed and so on.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn the language of your host country.
  2. Get involved in your local community.
  3. Keep doing or start a new hobby or sport.
  4. Discover your surroundings little by little until knowing your new city like your pocket.
  5. If you are an accompanying spouse and cannot work locally, go back to school or volunteer in something you like and can use professionally when going back home for good.


Veronique and her book - Finding Your Feet In Chicago
Veronique and her book - Finding Your Feet In Chicago
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I started my blog Expat Forever in 2010. My goal was to give a realistic point of view about the expat life, especially when you are an accompanying spouse. There are a lot of cliché about expat spouses spending their full day by the pool or at the shopping mall. There are also spouses who are active, create their business and volunteer in charity. Being an expat spouse and a parent is also sometimes challenging. This is this reality that I share on my blog, which deals with expatriation and all topics related from an active accompanying spouse and mother point of view.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted via my blog

Veronique blogs at http://expatforever.blogspot.com which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already (language: French). Her fabulous book has an Amazon listing page here: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Feet-Chicago-essential/dp/1904881688. If you appreciated this interview with Veronique, please also drop her a quick comment below.

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