Matts Hune, a Swedish expat in France, has experienced something many of us could not bare.
Leaving your country for love is not a bad thing to do. It’s actually one of the reasons why many move to France.
But the unfortunate part is that, being a skillful worker with 32 years of experience in the industrial field and still not getting a job in the country of your partner, is really sad.
And the country we are talking about is France, one of the most industrialized country in the world.
We all know how marvellous it is to move to France.
Many have experienced the culture shock and bureaucracy frustrations caused by time-wasting and blatant obstruction on the part of some officials.
We’re writing this article to warn you about particular little (but, necessary) things that may help to ease your integration process once you’ve moved to France.
Matt’s profile page on expat.com
This is Matt Hune’s story.
Matt is a Swedish expat who has lived most of his life in Sweden.
He has never had a bachelor’s degree, because right after he finished high school, he started working in the industrial field.
Matt was in a long distance serious relationship with a French girl that he met in 2013.
When his relationship turned two, Matt and his girlfriend decided that he should move to France so that they could live together.
But he had no clue that what he was getting himself into.
Love hurts though.
Matt took this chance, which had a win or lose scenario.
He moved to France with the hope that he will find a job and settle with his girlfriend.
On a positive note, Matt managed to move to France to end long-distance relationship and turn it into a close one.
On a sad note, Matt failed to get a job.
He applied to more than 800 companies (with the help of his girlfriend) but unfortunately every door seemed to be locked. All his applications received negative answers.
Applying for 800 jobs and getting them all rejected is surely one of the most depressing situations any expatriate can ever experience.
The reasons behind these rejections were that Matt was not French, never had a degree and also wouldn’t speak French fluently.
So, here’s a guys who has 32 years of work experience but won't find a job just because he wouldn’t speak French despite that fact that his Danish, Swedish and norwegian are pretty fluent.
Another issue was that Matt did not have a bachelor’s degree.
But not having a degree should not have been a problem since he had vast experience in industrial field.
As per Matt, out of these 800 job applications, only one of them had contacted him.
He had a phone interview that didn’t go well.
The person online insisted that he speaks French even though Matt had clearly stated on his CV that he did not speak any French.
Matt got helpless and handed the phone over to his girlfriend who then talked to the interviewer in French. Matt’s girlfriend even asked the lady if she had gone through his cv or not, and the lady replied that it was not her field of expertise.
The position Matt had appled for did not even require any French skills.
Still, the recruiter did not even bother to take a look at the position requirements and Matt’s CV.
Was moving to France Matt’s life biggest mistake?
Not at all.
He had worked as a machine operator, manager, customer service and business development in his previous location but he couldn’t just find any of those positions in France.
This was unfortunate.
Once again, this happened because he did not know any French.
Speaking French or learning it is an important factor expats need to remember especially when one is having a hard time integrating;
“... if your native language is English, and someone comes up to you in your hometown and starts speaking to you in Greek, how would that make you feel? Frustrated? Confused? Angry?...”
“... here must be some kind of marginal utility on what French people are able to tolerate on a daily basis, and especially if it’s not in their mother tongue. Learning French will go a long way to increasing your comfort level, understanding the nuances of the system, and will help things make sense, too. Be patient with yourself—and the locals—as you try to get used to each other.”
Would things have been a little easier if Matt spoke a little French?
But, Matt actually also thought of trying to learn French but, at this age, he did not feel like going to any school anymore.
Due to this narrow-minded and short-sighted company culture in France, Matt was forced to leave the country and go back to Sweden.
The helpless expat shared his story explaining what he had gone through on expat.com.
Below is a screen grab of the entire story:
Comments from many other expats that have gone through difficult moments during their expatriation adventures in France started coming in with suggestions to encourage him to go back to school and get a diploma because the French tend to prefer diplomas to work experience.
So this was one thing Matt Hune definitely did not want to do.
Another person shared her experience showing sympathy to Matt.
She stated that she had been treated almost the same way.
The conversation went one with Matt adding that he had eye-witnessed a 20-25 year old cashier doing basic math on calculators despising the level of education and training provided in France.
Many people tried to encourage Matt to stay in France and wait for the right job.
Most of commentators suggested that does a short course of French Language to increase his chances of getting a job.
France is a well-developed country with its own problems and issues like any other developed country.
There’s surely an issue with its Integration System for the newcomers. This is mostly due to lack of information and other customer-service related issues.
An improvement is, for sure, needed. Something needs to be fixed.
What can Matt’s story teach us?
If you’re willing to move to France or are planning to live in the country for long period of time, do learn to “expressly show you accept to submit: first say “bonjour” (never ever forget to say “bonjour” first), then say “excusez-moi” (yes, you have to be sorry you have to ask for something), and finally, with the sweetest voice possible, ask for what you want (you can also ask for the person’s expert advice/opinion on the thing you want)” as writes Laetitia Vitaud
Thanks for reading.
What is, according to you, the most important thing a newcomer needs to know and do to have a smooth integration in France?
Let’s have a chat down in the comments.
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