Expats stories - Martina, from Canada to Lyon

Hello Martina, can you tell us where you come from?

I was born in a relatively small town in the North of Czechia called Teplice, and have since lived in Sudbury (Canada), Ottawa (Canada), Liverpool (England), Prague (Czechia), Montreal (Canada), Freiburg (Germany), and now, beautiful Lyon!

What is the best way to prepare for moving to Lyon?

I have been lucky to move around quite a bit in my life and had always dreamed of living in France, so my preparation was very little. I came here with a few suitcases, my partner, and a heart ready to experience whatever Lyon had to offer!

Why did you choose to live in Lyon?

Lyon was a practical decision as much as it was a decision of what the heart wanted. Me and my partner knew we wanted to live in France, and thanks to the freedom permitted by our jobs (he works for a large multinational and travels often, I work as a coach and consultant, and work remotely as well as travel) we could pick "where to." It had to be a place full of culture and things we love (food, wine, and beautiful nature), while still being near a major international airport. Lyon is so close to the Alps, driving distance to the sea, and has all we could ask for. After one visit, at some point between eating the best salade Lyonnaise and then crepes made hot and fresh in the old town in the winter cold, we knew it was the place for us.

How to deal with culture shock in Lyon?

Curiosity. I think this is the only way to approach a new place to live. Many things will feel different or strange whenever you move away from your dominant culture, but when we approach it from a place of curiosity that gives us a chance to connect with it in a positive way, instead of feeling like we are not a part of it.

How to overcome difficulties during living in Lyon?

I think the single most important thing anyone who is living in a new context or city can do is to seek out support and like-minded people. Go out there and build a community, make new friends, and especially take the time for self-care, whether that means treating yourself to some relaxing time so you can process all the changes, or seeking out professional help like that of a coach or therapist. It's important to not feel alone and let yourself submerge into the new experience in a safe and happy way.

What do you plan to do in Lyon ? What are your projects at the moment?