Teaching English is what American expat Angela does for a living in Paris, France, but it isn't her whole life

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Angela Williams

March 03 2007

-Where were you born?
Jonesboro, Arkansas, United States

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

-Are you living alone or with your family?
Alone

-How long have you been living in France?
1.5 years

-What is your age?
28

-When did you come up with the idea of living in France?
I got a job teaching English at a local University and since I had always wanted to travel, I jumped at the chance. I didn’t have a lot of passionate feelings about Paris or France, but came here basically with a blank slate.

-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?
Incredibly hard; I am completely legal with a work sponsor and it was still very difficult. Getting and renewing my work permit have been among the worst experiences I have had here.

-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
Yes and no. Because I am employed by a French company I automatically qualify for health insurance, but getting the national insurance card took about 16 months. 

-How do you make your living in France? Do you have any type of income generated?
I got lucky and was offered a job teaching at University. However, working as a Lectrice/Lectuer is not a financially rewarding job in France. I had to find a second, third, and fourth job. These secondary jobs are easy to find in Paris and if you have the proper working papers.

-Do you speak French and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
When I arrived in France, I wanted to learn the language more than anything, but most people speak English and want to practice their English. Because of this and because I work so much, I have allowed myself to become lazy. I speak enough to get by, but honestly, in Paris, it is quite easy to get by speaking English.

-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
All the time, but I moved from a small town to a big city so there is always something to do here. I especially love visiting all the local museums.

-Do you have other plans for the future?
I would love to travel and live in as many countries as possible! Does anyone know of any jobs?

-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
I rent. Owning an apartment in Paris is very expensive, renting is as well. I pay about 700 euros for 20 sq meters.

-What is the cost of living in France?
Much more expensive than I thought and much more expensive than I was used to.

sacre coeur-What do you think about the French people?
I think there are nice and nasty people everywhere. I have had experiences with both types in Paris, probably more of the negative than positive. I think Parisians are less friendly than other people. 

-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in France?
Health care, open markets, architecture, the history, museums and public transportation are some of the best things about living in France.

Bureaucracy (the amount of time to get a work permit or an identity card is ridiculous), customer service and anything in the service industry are the worst things.

-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in France?
If you plan on moving here, make sure you are well prepared to wait for everything. It is easy to get discouraged when applying for work permits or health care cards. You just have to persevere. 

-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about France?
The blogging community in France is great. I have a list of many of the American/French bloggers listed on my site:  Angela in Europe.

There are also a lot of websites for expats, such as Expatica, www.franglo.com, and AngloINFO.