Expat Interview With Stephanie, US Expat Living in Paris

Published: 11 Jul at 3 PM
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Filed: Interviews,France
Stephanie spent years enhancing women's lives through coaching, yoga and holistic health care methods in San Francisco before leaving it all behind to take a chance on love! She moved to Paris, France to be closer to her French boyfriend in November 2012 and has been chronicling her experiences abroad one glass of wine - and faux pas - at a time. Stephanie's expat blog is called Stephanie Jiroch: Flirt With Life (see listing here)

Meet Stephanie - An American working on her Parisian chic
Meet Stephanie - An American working on her Parisian chic

Here's the interview with Stephanie...

Where are you originally from?
Reno, NV USA but had been living in San Francisco, CA for many years before moving abroad

In which country and city are you living now?
Paris, France

How long have you lived in France and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived in Paris since November 2012 and am renewing my visa for another year, so hopefully till November 2014 or longer!

Why did you move and what do you do?
I am a lifestyle coach and writer - I help women design their dream life through 1:1 coaching and manifesting techniques. I moved to Paris to live with my boyfriend - we met in August 2012 and I realized that in order to make a relationship work, we needed to be in the same city. I sold or moved all my belongings into storage and headed out on a grand adventure!

The man that got me to move!
The man that got me to move!
Did you bring family with you?

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The first few months were rough! I was not accustomed to the cold winters and consistently overcast skies of Paris. I also did not know the language and had a hard time connecting without being able to speak French. Adjusting to another culture's traditions and daily nuances has been a test of my will and patience!

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
At first it was difficult, especially with French natives. I found a variety of groups and expat meetups that helped make me feel less alone and even started attending Sunday services designed with the expat English speaker in mind in order to grow my network. I made a proactive effort to reach out to a variety of Facebook forums and groups designed to help women entrepreneurs abroad as well as local expat bloggers in Paris.

Enjoying the Saturday farmer's market every weekend
Enjoying the Saturday farmer's market every weekend
What are the best things to do in Paris; anything to recommend to future expats?
Paris has so much, where to begin? The American Church offers a great network of English speaking resources. I used Expats Blog to find fun, carefree and enlivening bloggers in the area to connect with and learn about transitioning to French standards more quickly.

What do you enjoy most about living in Paris?
The chance to live in such a large and unique European city! It's a melting pot of cultures and distinct neighborhoods - I love spending a Saturday exploring the various gardens, cafes and artist installations.

How does the cost of living in Paris compare to San Francisco?
San Francisco was extremely expensive so I was used to the high prices, though I wasn't accustomed to the high exchange rate and fees my credit card company likes to charge whenever I use my card.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The weather - I love the California weather and Paris is a shock {especially in the winter}. There are also many pick pocketers in Paris and if you aren't careful they will take many chances to snatch your goodies on the metro or in crowded spaces. Be safe out there!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to France, what would it be?
Learn basic French before you move.

French doors are necessary in new French apartments
French doors are necessary in new French apartments
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The lack of customer service I've experienced has made getting metro passes, cellphone contracts and even apartment maintenance an issue. Americans tend to rely on quick and happy customer service care yet I have yet to find that in Paris.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I'm sure there will be aspects to American life that I will miss and other aspects I will wish that are more French in nature. C'est la vie!

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn the basics of the language
  2. Have patience
  3. Find value in the cultural differences
  4. Don't take things too personally
  5. Enjoy your adventure!

Catching the train
Catching the train
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I write weekly about life inspiration, ways to manifest your dream life and my adventures while living in the City of Light! There are many blogs that shed a beautiful light on how wonderful life in Paris can be, while my blog is a more down to earth perspective on the good and the bad of living in a completely different culture. Not to mention, I love the wine!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Feel free to contact me via my blog or find me on Twitter (links below)

About the author

Expat Blog ListingStephanie is an American expat living in France. Blog description: Freelance writer, dreamer and lifestyle coach Stephanie Jiroch chronicles her journeys, one bottle of French wine at a time! Sharing frustrations, victories and small cultural differences with each time she presses publish.
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