The inevitable has happened and I’ve left home to live abroad for 10 months. Ahhh! I arrived in Avignon two days ago, but today was the day that I finally moved into my French house. As Avingon is an old city I was worried the house would be a bit tired and worn, but to my surprise, I absolutely love it. Think of a typical cute little French house, the types you see in pictures and in films – that’s what my house is like. I feel like I’m being thrown in the deep end, as I’ll be living with two native French people, but I’ll also be living with Rachel, a friend of mine who also studies French at Leicester. It’s nice to see a familiar face when you’re in an unfamiliar city.
After two nights in a questionnable 1* hotel, we were delighted to move into a spacious, clean house. But despite the universal sigh of relief from Rachel and myself, I won’t forget the stress of finding and securing a place to live. Afterall, how do you even begin to look for a place to live in a foreign country?!
The answer, if you’re looking for somewhere to rent in France, is appartager.com. To use this website you have to create a profile. With this profile you can specify what you’re looking for, e.g your monthly rent price range, preferred gender of housemates, preferred type of accommodation (house/appartement). This makes the complicated task of finding a home much easier as it narrows down your options, and the website will also send you frequent emails about newly uploaded advertisments based on your criteria. If you do find somewhere that interests you, don’t hesistate to send a message! But you have to be persistent. Send two, three, even four messages if you have to. I had a few ignored messages and started to panic that I wasn’t going to find anywhere to live and that I’d eventually be homeless and sleeping on a bench somewhere. Eventually, I had a stroke of luck as one of the people renting the house that Rachel had found on appartager.com dropped out. So I swooped in to take their place, and I’m pretty sure the landlady was happy to have someone so desperate to give her money for a room.
Alternatively, you can avoid all this nonsense and apply for university accommodation. You’d think it would be easier, right? Wrong. I initally applied for student halls, but was ignored. Clearly I wasn’t persistent enough. I think you basically have to pester the university until they give you what you want. But as it is, I’m happy with the way things turned out. Living with French people, who speak little to no English, is going to be a challenge but will ultimately improve my language skills, which is what I’m here to do.