Hello Lorelie, can you tell us where you come from?
I'm from the Philippines and I am a first-time expat.
What is the best way to prepare for moving to Lyon?
I made sure all my documents were translated in french before leaving the Philippines (it's cheaper!) :) I also read a lot of expat books and articles. I especially love the book "Culture Shock: A Wife's Guide" by Robin Pascoe. And as leisure, I studied french in Manila every week for 3 years which really helped me navigate everyday life now that I'm here. I also visited Lyon in 2016 before deciding to finally move.
Why did you choose to live in Lyon?
I always have a taste for adventure and is curious on how I will fair in life if I get out of my comfort zone. So when my husband, who's french and originally from this region, asked me if I will consider living in France for a few years so he can pursue his masters, I said yes!
How to deal with culture shock in Lyon?
I try to really understand the country and it's people through research (I'm a Google geek) and of course, conversations with the locals. Also, making as many contacts as possible, through my work or school and online groups like Sojoourn to make me feel less-isolated and hopefully make new friends.
How to overcome difficulties during living in Lyon?
I think surrounding yourself with like-minded people helps. I find that when there's a difficulty, the feeling of home sickness is magnified. So being around positive people lifts your mood and reminds you to have fun and enjoy the experiences that comes with a new country.
What do you plan to do in Lyon ? What are your projects at the moment?
Currently, I work part-time and I study french few hours a week. I am an independent level speaker (B1) and would like to reach an advanced level (B2) for me to enter a french university for a formation or masters. I also created my own blog: La Pinay en France (A Filipina in France) to document my life abroad which I hope, can inspire others.
What are your favorite things to do in Lyon?
Lyon is such a beautiful city so I just like to walk around Vieux Lyon or visit some parks especially on a nice weather with friends. If I'm alone, I go window shopping along Rue de la Republique then settle in a café and read a book.
What is your advice for people wishing to come and live in France?
I think learning the language is so important in the everyday life. It's like a life tool and it definitely helps with social interaction. As for starting a business, I am deeply thinking about it because it seems Lyon has an exciting start up scene.
Is it easy to make new friends in Lyon?
It requires effort but it's not impossible. Especially coming from Southeast Asia, where generally people are shy, I find that here, people are more likely to start small conversations which is great because you'll never know where it can lead.
Do you hang out with locals or foreigners mostly?
I can say I get to hang out with a good mix of both. I spend a lot of time with my french side of the family but when I'm at work and in school, I am surrounded with foreigners like me.
Is it easy to do networking in Lyon?
For me, it's not so easy because of my irregular work schedule. I work in the centre commercial de la Part Dieu so I often work on Friday and Saturdays where most networking activities are held.
Where is your favorite place in Lyon to hang out with friends?
I really love the Ninkasi chain of bars, the ambiance is always lively and the food is great.
Can you share with us, a memorable experience that you have in France?
As I am a first-time expat, most of my early days were so memorable. That's the reason I started my blog! But one highlight is when I got invited by a local association learning English to present my country, the Philippines and we shared a local Filipino delicacy and tea after. I really felt accepted and the exchange of cultural insights was very interesting.
Do you have any tricks/tips to settle more easily in a new city?
I try to insert some in my blog posts but it's not as comprehensive and structured as I hope it could be.
What have you learned from living abroad and about expat life?
I learned to be self-reliant, open-minded and to embrace challenges as well as adventures as part of life abroad.
A word or two to define Lyon!
A charming and lovely city.
A word or two to define Sojoourn!
A fun and nice group.
More about Lorelie
Lorelie is a Filipina francophone living in Lyon area. She studied french as a foreign language in Manila, Philippines for 3 years where she also married his French "chéri". They moved to France to experience "la joie de vivre".
A city girl who is frustrated surfer, lover of anything coastal & tropical, sometimes fashion & beauty enthusiast.