The Pains Of Being French Abroad
I can’t complain about my nationality. France has a good reputation abroad and a French passport permits you to visit the whole world. When I say “I’m French”, people often nicely ask me questions surrounding my nationality. Though, a lot of questions are based around French stereotypes, which gets quite dull after a while. Here, I’ll tell you some of them.
I have experienced it myself and I can promise you: a French accent makes you inevitably more attractive to English-speaking people. Honestly, I don’t know why, because I personally find it ugly. In fact, I wish I didn’t have an accent so that I could sound like the natives when I speak in another language. Everyone (correctly) guesses I’m French each time I speak. And when some people don’t, it makes me really happy!
In Australia, people used to mention my accent a lot. They told me “your accent is so thick” or “so hot” and they would even imitate me sometimes, which became annoying pretty quickly. They would also forget to correct my vocabulary mistakes.
However, in Italy, people would mention my accent only if I brought up my home country and they’d correct me more often. I guess it all depends on the language and the culture. Fun fact: some Italian people thought I had a Russian accent (strange, right?!).
I DO NOT EAT SNAILS EVERYDAY
I know we eat strange things in France, but please stop asking about snails. We eat snails during Christmas time, but I haven’t eaten some for years now. It’s a kind of tradition but a lot of French people don’t buy snails for Christmas Eve.
I DO NOT LIVE IN PARIS
If every French person were living in Paris, the country would be called Paris and not France. Paris is so well-known and amazing that people forget all the other parts of the country. Unfortunately, a lot of French exchange students get sick of the “do you live in Paris?” question so they end up answering “yes” – even if it’s not true. It’s like asking an American “do you live in New York?” or asking a Chinese person “do you live in Shanghai?”. Not everyone lives in their nation’s most famous city!
I’M NOT A WINE EXPERT
Maybe it’s because I’m young, but I’m not a wine expert. AT ALL. I must admit that even when we do hit the legal drinking age, we don’t really drink wine when we party. If we do, it is low-cost wine (’cause we’re broke). So, I absolutely have no idea what a really good and expensive wine tastes like. Some people come up to me with famous names like “do you know…?” and then ask, “Is it famous in France?” I’m sorry, I have no clue, mate!
I DON’T SMILE A LOT
It’s so great to see people smiling at each other even if they are perfect strangers in other countries. People can smile all day from 7am to 10pm. But how they manage that is a mystery to me! My friends abroad often ask me if I’m okay or if I’d like to share what am I thinking about. I have no answers because it’s just my regular facial expression. Which actually looks like a resting bitch face to them! If you see me, don’t worry – I’m not mad, I’m just French!