As the first in a series of stories by South Africans, in pursuit if their dreams, Lynn Cupido highlights her own story, which was always to live in France.
If it’s meant to be, it will be. I was a digital intern at a world-renowned magazine. I’d lived in a quiet neighborhood, with a spacious backyard, and compared to other parts of South Africa, I’d say that I’d come from an extremely privileged background.
It’s been a dream of mine to live in France for almost my entire life. My fascination with French culture and language only grew as I got older.
The work that I was doing made me realize that I wanted something more, and that if I didn’t follow my dream now, I’d never do it. Ultimately, my goal is to start my own language school within France.
It’s really difficult to get a work visa. One of the first things that you have to do is prove that you’re not going to be a freeloader and that you’ve already found work.
Right now, I’m teaching little kiddies English, which is both a frustrating and rewarding task.
I’d been really lucky enough to find a quaint apartment attached to the home of a local French family in the city of Grenoble. They’ve helped me adjust to the French language and way of life. The only thing that limits me is the language. One of my biggest highlights has been the eagerness with which many of the French embrace me.
The closest ski resort is roughly about 10 kilometers, if not less, from where I live. The bus stop leading to main stations, that would take you to the city and surrounds, is about three minutes away. [And] the city centre is a hub of activity, no matter what the time of day. Cars aren’t even able to drive through the centre, leaving space for trendy bars, restaurants and typical French architecture.
I’d say that the cost of living is quite similar to South Africa. You pay for where you shop and live. If you’re living in the city with a beautiful view of the French Alps, you’re going to be paying more.
The one thing that constantly surprises me is the level of diversity in France. Race is not something that dominates France like in South Africa; it’s both refreshing and unnerving. From Moroccan Muslims to Scots, all cultures are well integrated and influence French culture. I’ve met some amazing people… There’s one little lady from North Carolina, in particular – we often gawk at how similar we are.
Moving to a different country makes you appreciate the familiarity that you often take for granted.
Whether I plan to stay for the rest of my life, or a year, it’s definitely an experience that will influence me forever. France is the siren and I’m the sailor.
If you’d like to share a story of how you or someone you know is following their dream, post a comment in the section below, or email me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Story compilation as per interview. Images supplied