"frivolous"; family year abroad

(32 Posts)
caramelgirl Sat 10-Aug-13 20:34:01

We are just coming to the end of our stint in London before we do the classic shift to the countryside.
DD is nearly 4.
We are considering a year abroad, most likely in rural France, mostly living off savings but trying to get local work as and when,, before we settle down in the countryside.
She would probably be 5 or 6 by then, sibling 1 or 2.
What are the chances of this being a successful (ie language infusing and positive) experience for the children (and us).
Is a year, with a pretty definite end date, too short a time to make friends and fit into a different education system?
We are all fairly outgoing people and have reasonable French but I don't know if I am being unrealistic in thinking we'd end up swigging Pernod with the locals whilst DD and DS ran wild with the local kids?
We have lived abroad in our early 20s both together and separately but were maybe a bit too immature to enjoy it properly?
Thanks for any advice!

Portofino Sat 17-Aug-13 15:42:18

I just spent 3 weeks in rural France on holiday. You never see anyone outside. Loads of total ghost villages. We had to drive at least 20km even to find a bar that was open. Fine for a holiday but I would do my nut if I had to stay for longer.

caramelgirl Sun 18-Aug-13 07:23:45

Thanks heathers for Zurich FB group recommendation- will pass onto her as she is quite lonely.
You know, portofino, we spent time in the Lot and it was really small and frustrating. My rosé (ha, autocorrect) tinted glasses had kicked in. Had to drive miles to get to an ATM even.
We are now mulling over Sweden vs Frabce for a summer off. It won't be for a couple of years, so DD's education wikl be disrupted when we move either way. Will aim to move for DS to start reception.
Thanks for all the tips/comments.

kelda Sun 18-Aug-13 07:32:49

I think you would be bored. If you want to live in France for a year, you need to prepare - find a job there first, enrol your dd in school, find french langauge classes. You won't learn the language on what sounds like an extended holiday.

It also sounds very expensive. If you are not working (and trying to pick up a bit of casual work here is probably the equivalent of not working), you will spend a lot of money trying to occupy yourselves. If you just want a long holiday, jsut go for a couple of months rather then a year.

EspressoMonkey Tue 20-Aug-13 22:22:22

Try Switzerland. The french speaking part is very different to the German part.

I have lived in France, both Paris and rural France, and am far happier in Switzerland. It is a much livlier place, i have intergrated well, there is an expat community and the opportunity to mingle with the local community and we manage to do both. The DCs have local friends, and i have local friends independant of them. There is lots to do, especially outdoor activities.

What i prefer to Switzerland that France doesn't have is; the local people don't seem to have the chip (or would that be French fry) on their shoulders that the French seem to have; if you make a mistake with the language they are very patient; rural Switzerland (certainly in Romandie, the French speaking part) is not dead. Rural France is pretty dead. The rural community is not run down, whereas a lot of rural France feels desserted. There are jobs in Switzerland! It doesn't have the unemployment issues that France has.

Goodluck!

caramelgirl Thu 22-Aug-13 19:17:01

Thank you! I do have alot of lovely francophone Swiss friends in London so that has prejudiced me towards Seitzerland anyway- that and the Bain de Paquis in Geneva!!
Mumsnet really is a great international resource! Thanks all!

Pitmountainpony Sat 24-Aug-13 21:33:47

Why not go somewhere you can tell teach like Vietnam and find a French speaking school there......or somewhere like Hong Kong and put the kids in English speaking school...then in holidays you explore Laos, Burma Thailand etc......I loved Hong Kong and it is refreshing just being somewhere so different....you do need visas now to do tell teaching but it could help with the mandarin if you get the right school....or shanghai maybe....I would choose Hong Kong as you can live the island life there so really feel it is a different slower paced lifestyle if you live on lama or Lantau......

Pitmountainpony Sat 24-Aug-13 21:34:57

I meant Tefl teaching...pays well in Hong Kong...twenty quid an hour and that was almost twenty years ago I did it....so it will be more now.

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