On the first time I arrived in Paris, France in 2015 I never thought that I will continue living here until now. My life in Jakarta was awesome: I lived with my dad and my sister, I made an awesome side job that allows me to do almost anything that I want and I had a lot of friends here and there, people know me and I do know people.
Living in France is like a dream for some people, well... Maybe that is what people think at the beginning but after a while I just realised how difficult it is to live so far from my comfort zone and start everything from zero. Being an Indonesian, an Asian in Paris might not as dreamy as it seems.
First, la famille, family. If you already lived abroad before, or at least not in your hometown, you may know the exact same feeling like me. It's not simply homesick, it is the fact that maybe you will not find people that could understand you as your family did. Trust me, it is never easy, especially us, Indonesians, we are used to live in community. We meet our families each time we got home, and seeing our grandparents for at least once a month. Well, say hello to distance, we could not do that when we are so far away. This is something really important to think about when you are about to move somewhere abroad, so keep it in mind.
Second, culture shock. I was lucky because I spent two years studying intercultural communication, and three years of french studies so at least I know the basic. At least, that's what I thought! But then again, not at all. After I came here I realised certain (unwritten) norms that maybe you could never find in the internet such as holding the doors for someone behind you (I felt so awful because I didn't know it was so rude not to do it), not to drink before the others and to do toast without seeing the other person in the eyes. They said you will have 7 years of bad sex if you don't see them in the eyes, oops, who wants that?
Third, apartment chasing! For you who's planning to stay in Paris, prepare it well! I'm super lucky that I got a scholarship and I could live in student residence, but for those who don't, be careful. A lot of scams here and there, a lot of paperworks (which is super essential in France) and a big amount of money. We are talking about Paris here, so imagine the living cost is really high especially for the primary needs.
Fourth, yes you can still eat rice everyday. I know for a lot of Indonesians, eating rice is really essential. But there is no need to worry because you could also find it everywhere even in supermarket-chain like Carrefour or Franprix they sell a lot of rice variation. Just a bit of advice, you could choose the riz thailandais (Thai's rice) that is super similar to the rice that we have in Indonesia. However, speaking about the price, it is true that rice costs more than pasta so yeah.
Fifth, Indomie might be your "favorite meal". Yep, if you know the stereotype about university students: Indomie is a cheap food for the end of the month, think again. When you live abroad, Indomie might be something you prefer to eat in special occasions: Indonesian students gathering, sleepovers, or when you are in total homesick. Make sure you bring enough because sometimes it is hard to find one.
That is all for now! Do you have any difficulties or stories to share when living or going abroad? Share them on comments!