French Expat Living in USA - Interview with Floriane

Published: 14 Oct at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Floriane is a 24 year-old French expat who arrived in the United States three months ago on a fiancée visa. She came to the United States, more precisely to Michigan, to join her American Companion and got recently married. She is currently waiting on her adjustment of status to become a permanent resident and is helping her husband with his online business in the meanwhile. Her blog is called mrsfroggyandmreagle where she talks about their trips, her expatriate life and also, she explains in details the immigration process she went through. Floriane's expat blog is called Mrs Froggy and Mr Eagle (see listing here)

Lake St Clair, St Clair Shores
Lake St Clair, St Clair Shores

Here's the interview with Floriane...


Where are you originally from?
I am from the South of France and spent a few years in the North East of France.

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in the United States. More precisely, I live in Michigan, around Detroit.

How long have you lived in USA and how long are you planning to stay?
I have now lived here for 3 months and I plan to stay for as long as we decide to stay here.

Lincoln Park, Chicago
Lincoln Park, Chicago
Why did you move to USA and what do you do?
I moved here to be with my Companion on the long-term and while I am waiting on my adjustment of status, I am helping him managing his online business.

Did you bring family with you?
No I did not bring my family with me.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Living in a foreign country is a lot of changes at the same time.

I did not have any problem adapting to the language because I have always spoken English with my Companion and also, I was studying this language at college before I left to come here which is a big advantage.

What was hard was to pass from being a citizen to being a person who is not yet established in a country. It takes a lot of paperwork and waiting.
Yes, I miss my family but there are many ways I can contact them to update them on what I am doing here and it's the same for them.
Also, when I miss the food of my country, I am still able to find French products here which can appear as nothing but which warms my heart and made me feel better when I was homesick.
I am still working on the measurements. As you know, the United States is the only country which is not using the metric system. And learning a new system when you have used the metric system your whole life has proven to be difficult but is not something that is insurmountable.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I have not socialized with other people yet as I have only been here for three months and, most of the time, I was busy taking care of all the paperwork to be able to stay here and also to get married.

View from the Willis Tower, Chicago
View from the Willis Tower, Chicago
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I would recommend going to take a look at the impressive art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts and take advantage of being in Detroit to check the many cultural hubs and restaurants.

If you like to be close to the beach and enjoy good seafood and wines, go to the Traverse City area and you will be surrounded by vineyards. There are also little farmers' stands everywhere there! I would encourage anyone to go check Muskegon, smaller but charming, where you can enjoy little beaches as well.

I really loved Chicago, which is only 5 hours away by train (Amtrak) or car from Michigan. I would definitely recommend that city to expats or future expats. The buildings are all different, the downtown is very pretty with its Victorian houses, little shops and good restaurants. To go for a walk or go for a bike ride, you have plenty of options like the Lincoln Park, the Lake Michigan Waterfront or the Navy Pier. Art and history are at the heart of the city and many museums can be found.

What do you enjoy most about living in USA?
I really enjoy being able to spend time with my Companion and going on an adventure to visit other parts of Michigan or of the US.

I really enjoy the possibility of going to the grocery store at any time during the day because most of them are open 24 hours. It is practical when you have a craving for something late during the day, when you forgot something or you work or are at school during the day. That always means seeing weird people if you go there at 2 am or it closing earlier (10 pm, come on) on Sundays but I'm fine with that!

I like the possibility of getting a breakfast dinner at any time during the day in most of the restaurants because I am one of those people who could eat waffles/pancakes everyday!

The driver's license is really affordable here. It is a big advantage when you know that the driver's license is necessary here to go places.

I can find everything for my hobbies and also get big savings on them.

Here, people are encouraged to attain their goals with optimism. This is something I really appreciate, especially knowing that I will go back to college here in the future.

I love American downtowns and Victorian houses you can find in any of them.

How does the cost of living in USA compare to home?
The cost of living is about the same really. Healthcare is much more expensive so it is important to find a good health insurance adapted to your needs. The cost of gas is cheaper here and it is a good thing as most of people rely on their car to go places compared to France where people are more reliant on public transportation.

Old McDonald's sign at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn
Old McDonald's sign at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn
What negatives, if any, are there to living in USA?
The healthcare system here is very expensive and in addition to that, it is tricky to fully grasp every detail of it. It is important to find cover adapted to your needs and look for information on the internet. I was lucky to have my in-laws helping my companion and me for the health insurance because I was really lost, as I never had to do that before.

I miss not having to use the car all the time to go anywhere and use the public transportation or my feet instead! (it really depends on where you live in the US though. Some areas have better transport links than others).

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to USA, what would it be?
Do not stay alone, participate in activities, find a hobby you like, be part of a club with people who have similar interests/hobbies. Plus, socializing with people will definitely improve your English.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest aspect of my expat experience so far has been all the paperwork I have to do to settle here. But I have learnt to be organized and be my own secretary.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I won't repatriate because I am waiting on my adjustment of status which will allow me to be a permanent resident in the United States. But I will definitely visit my family in the future in France.
I consider myself an expat for the moment until I get my permanent residency. At that moment, I will be an immigrant.

The Belle Isle Conservatory, Detroit
The Belle Isle Conservatory, Detroit
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Do not stay alone once in your host country. Find a hobby you enjoy, join a club to meet people who share the same interests/hobbies. Americans are usually nice and talkative, especially when they hear a foreign accent! Maybe contact other expats through forums, their blog or yours so you can meet and share your personal experiences?
  2. Be open-minded. Do not always compare your native country to your host country because you will end up realizing that it is useless as you live here now. To make the best of your expatriation, you need to try to adapt but it does not mean forgetting where you come from either. Everything you are going to experience here is different from what you have known. Try recipes from your host country! Read about the history of your host country if you are not too familiar with it. But when it happens that you miss your country, look for some products which remind you of your country or try recipes as well!
  3. Being an expat in the United States is expensive and takes time. You need to be strong to leave everything behind, have a solid plan to expatriate but also, a plan B in case it doesn't turn out as planned. Expatriation is not a thing you can improvise.
  4. Print a conversion table and stick it to your fridge until you get used to the new measurements. Make sure to check your size before you go shopping and try the clothes on even if you think that it is your size because some brands/stores have what is called "vanity sizing" which can trick you as the size could not actually match yours. For example, I could try a pair of jeans that would be size 4 and try another one that would fit me and be size 2.
  5. Do not forget that the tax is not included in prices in stores here and moreover, the tax is not the same depending on the state where you are. Also, do not forget to tip in restaurants!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I got the idea to create a blog to share my experience of expatriation. I realized how hard it was to go through such an immigration process and was willing to help anyone in the same situation. Expat blogs helped me to have an insight on what it is to live in the United States before I came here and I wanted to do the same thing for expats or future expats. Sharing my trips with my companion, sharing good addresses of places where you can have a good time (restaurants..), talking about differences or events.. were things I was curious about even when I was not an expat and that we always enjoy reading about. Also, I want to show that even if your situation is not the most advantageous, you can have a successful expatriation.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted through the website expat.com with a private message (my username is jude3). I can also be contacted through my blog, mrsfroggyandmreagleblog.wordpress.com

About the author

Expat Blog ListingFloriane is a French expat living in USA. Blog description: Flo. French woman. 24 YO. Married. Expat for two months in the USA. Future student there. K1 visa holder and going through the process to obtain the green card. I would like to help people going through the same procedure as me, but also, I want to share my discoveries, my everyday life, my trips..etc with you.
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