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A Greek blogger in ... Paris

Το greekblogsbywomen παρουσιάζει μια Ελληνίδα blogger στην Γαλλία. 

Πωλίνα, ιδιοκτήτρια του blog "myparisiennewalkways" μας δίνει συνέντευξη, μοιράζεται εικόνες της καθημερινότητας της και μας μιλάει για την ζωή της στην Γαλλία, πως βίωσε την αλλαγή και συμβουλές σε όσους θέλουν να μείνουν εκεί. Σε ευχαριστούμε πολύ!

About you
1.    Where are you originally from?

I come from Athens, Greece
2.    In which country and city are you living now?
At the moment I live in Paris, France
3.    How long have you lived there and how long are you planning to stay?
I live here for almost 2 years and a half. I am planning to stay… as long as the city offers me creative and magic moments!
4.    Why did you move and what do you do?
I came with the Erasmus Program. Then I did a number of placements, I have worked in a press office and a non-profit organization for the Greeks in Paris. Now I am blogging and writing articles for everything I see in the City of Light!
5.    Did you bring family with you?
No, just myself!

About living abroad
6.    How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
All started in Athens, during my master in Panteion University. I heard about the possibility for Erasmus exchanges in master students! And I grasped the opportunity tout de suite!! I chose Paris and here I am!
7.    Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialize with other expats?
In the beginning it was easy as I was part of the university community! Unfortunately in the end of my master the majority of my classmates followed a different path in different cities, countries, so I lost them. Then I had some difficulties to find other expats. As the time passes the things get easier and I socialize more and more with expats and French people as well.
8.    What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
As you have maybe heard, Paris is the place to feel and experience things, tastes, places… so I can make for you an enormous list with things to do. Shortly, in Paris you can walk, lose yourself, find hidden treasures, see art and fashion, shop, combine a full daylife with an intense nightlife! All in one city!
9.    What do you enjoy most about living here?
I enjoy the beautiful paths around the banks of the Seine, which reminds me scenes from fairytales, the city’s hidden treasures, fashion and art events and of course… French food and sweets!
10.  How does the cost of living compare to home?
The cost of living, mainly rents are much more expensive to home for houses really tiny. It’s not even affordable to live alone, without a roommate… Public transport and taxis are also much more expensive. As to food and drinks I believe that it’s nearly the same as in Athens.
11.  What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Undoubtedly the weather, especially if I have to compare it with home. The sun is not very frequent here. Also I would say the language which is difficult to learn and make it yours. You cannot easily follow conversations among French people.
12.  What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
I would say the language again. In the beginning I was terrified when I could not understand and being understood by other people. Also French society has many bureaucratic processes which obstruct the expats in various everyday issues like rending properties. For example, if you want to rent a house, you should have a person that works in France and his income is like… almost 4(!) times your rent, to guarantee for you. This caused me many troubles in the beginning…
13.  What do you miss most from Greece?
My family, my friends, the sun, the islands, summer…

About work
14.  Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
I did not have to get a work permit since I came as a student in Paris, and I am a citizen of the European Union.
15.  What’s the economic climate like in the city, is there plenty of work?
This comes to be my main problem. You see even though in France economy is healthier and bigger than Greece, in fact for a person without working experience it is not easy to find something more than an internship. The problem with internships (stages in French) is that you are not paid (well… if the internship is more than 2 months, normally you get 400 €/per month, which is nothing for Paris)!! But surely there are possibilities if you have the courage to work hard!
16.  How does the work culture differ from home?
I believe that people in business here are not so stressed as home. They are working hard, but they have a one hour lunch break every day to eat, which usually they spend in a French bistro, and they work within normal timeframes (7 hours/day). Also, they have more vacation time (5-6 weeks per year). I believe this makes them more productive!

About your blog
17.  Tell us a bit about your blog
My blog is called Μy Parisienne walkways and it does exactly what the name recalls. From the very first moment I came in Paris, I tried to find a guide to learn about new, interesting things to see and visit and I could not find anything but the touristic hotspots of the city. Given that I live in Paris and I explore every day new treasures in the city, I realized that I could make a guide to fill this gap, through a personal blog. So in my blog you can find some basic info for Paris city and how it works (metro, museums etc), but you can also learn the hidden treasures no touristic guide will ever reveal to you! Because I go there, I explore, I experience and write…
18.  Why are you blogging?
I am blogging because I live through writing, I adore leave my thoughts somewhere outside my brain and see a creative results. I am blogging also because I love making research, explore places, people and ideas and then share them with other people! I think internet with blogging tools gave us a valuable medium to express ourselves!

And finally…
19.  If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving there, what would it be?
Look around and devour every experience in this city because it’s magic! Be patient with            your difficulties, everything will go better from day to day. And something from my blog; .....''If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast''..... Ernest Hemingway

20.  What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
I will answer with 5 basic verbs that keep me alive in every new place I visit: Look, Experience,Live, Taste, Travel…

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