Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Expat Experiences: France - April Hollands

Who are you?

View of La Clusaz village and surrounding peaks from the La Balme  peak

I'm April Hollands, originally from Melbourne, Australia before spending a few years in London, then flitting between the French Alps as a ski bum in winters and working two jobs in Cambridge to pay for the luxury, then finally moving to the French Alps permanently and finding work.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to London back in 2000, telling my mum I'd be back in a year and to look after all my belongings for me. By 2008, my dad made me sell my piano and my mum had a spare room! I've moved ten times in ten years. By the time I moved to my current location, St Jean de Sixt, in November 2009, the whole process of moving had become a habit. I left Australia because I wanted to explore the world before I settled down with someone. I left England because I fell in love with the snow in the French Alps. I went back to England, gained citizenship and a passport, and came straight back to France.

What challenges did you face during the move?

For the move to England, the toughest thing was realising that speaking the same language does not mean the transition will be easy. Different administrative processes, personal space and different words (thongs, pants are both items of underwear in the UK and outerwear in Australia) were all challenging to come to grips with. For the move to France, the language was by far the biggest challenge — and remains so to this day. Paperwork comes in a very close second...


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