Oh la France.

Getting a job in France is very hard, even for the French. Jobs here are based on your diplomas or degrees, not experience, which forces young people to go to university for years in order to obtain jobs that 16 year-olds do in the US.

Every job is a contract; CDI if it’s long-term (no end in sight), or CDD if it’s short-term (a few months to a few years). Not only is there no job security with a CDD, but it’s also very difficult to buy or even rent a place to live if you only have a temporary job.

Living in France is just a series of long waiting periods between receiving official papers and requesting others. Getting your Carte de Séjour, applying for CAF, obtaining your Carte Vitale, opening a Bank account, joining a Mutuelle, applying for unemployment… and almost everything changes as soon as your CDD runs out or you move.

For example, I am currently in the process of changing my address, renewing my Carte de Séjour, figuring out if my health insurance is still valid, exchanging my American driver’s license for a French one, and waiting to see if I receive a new work contract (CDD, of course) – which I will need to renew my Carte de Séjour yet again in 3 months.

Granted, I didn’t have to get PACSed, or exchange my driver’s license, or move two times (which seemed to increase my paperwork by 30%) but the amount of paperwork needed to do even the mundane things can seem ridiculous.

This stress of constantly collecting paperwork and waiting for the bureaucracy to do something with it, coupled with the uncertainty of work/money factor, makes me want to stay in this country less and less each day. But at the same time, knowing that I have been able to survive here makes me feel strong enough to stay.

At least for another year or two.

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  • ColourMeCrazy

    Hang in there! Eventually, you’ll get so used to it that you’ll be able to do all that paperwork in your sleep ;-)

  • ColourMeCrazy

    Hang in there! Eventually, you’ll get so used to it that you’ll be able to do all that paperwork in your sleep ;-)

  • Matthew Sephton-Pike

    Hey, Jennie.I came across your site when someone posted a link in a chatroom about learning Icelandic. I really love what you’re doing, it’s fantastic to see people like you.I’m finding your blogs very interesting, too, as I hope to move to France when I’m a bit older and after University and all that. Luckily for me, though, I’m an EU citizen, so my troubles won’t be half as bad as yours.Best of luck. I’ve subscribed and will keep reading as long as you keep posting. :)Matthew.

  • Matthew Sephton-Pike

    Hey, Jennie.

    I came across your site when someone posted a link in a chatroom about learning Icelandic. I really love what you’re doing, it’s fantastic to see people like you.

    I’m finding your blogs very interesting, too, as I hope to move to France when I’m a bit older and after University and all that. Luckily for me, though, I’m an EU citizen, so my troubles won’t be half as bad as yours.

    Best of luck. I’ve subscribed and will keep reading as long as you keep posting. :)

    Matthew.

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Gosh!! You sound just like me.. As CMC said… hang in there… it is SUCH a process.. but at least you collect your paperwork.. it is all organized.. you give it to someone and they stamp it to make it official.. Then… YOU are official… I know what you mean about French bureaucracy, though!!! UGGGGH!!!!

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Gosh!! You sound just like me.. As CMC said… hang in there… it is SUCH a process.. but at least you collect your paperwork.. it is all organized.. you give it to someone and they stamp it to make it official.. Then… YOU are official… I know what you mean about French bureaucracy, though!!! UGGGGH!!!!

  • rajendra

    oh la la i am surprised. i came to study in France but I was the single student in the faculty so the programme is not opened this year and I have to wait for the next year. I have only one year visa and I don’t know how should I apply for carte de sejur and they might ask me papers or I can be in problem. If anybody knows the way out write to me.

    Thanks

  • rajendra

    oh la la i am surprised. i came to study in France but I was the single student in the faculty so the programme is not opened this year and I have to wait for the next year. I have only one year visa and I don’t know how should I apply for carte de sejur and they might ask me papers or I can be in problem. If anybody knows the way out write to me.

    Thanks

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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