A foreign romance

(Photo by momentummoonlight.com)

Dating a Frenchman  

A question that many have asked out of curiosity, yet one that few non-French speaking people can answer. As an English native speaker, I can assure you that never did I ever expect to be dating someone who didn’t speak English as their first language.

Our romance started when I embarked on a French Exchange with my college. From a few awkward meals together with his family, we eventually had a few hours alone (in a nightclub of all places!) where the conversation was awkward at best. Aside from the obvious noise issues due to being in the nightclub, there were some problems with language. We spent the evening speaking about music and other things that we liked but the language barrier made it difficult to clearly communicate, because I was nervous and my French was limping, and his English as broken and a little “maladroit”. After I left France, we stayed in contact and the spark was still there.

The first few months were quite difficult because we were so far apart. Obviously with most relationships, the couple are together most of the time. It’s as simple as taking a bus and meeting them less than an hour later. But with Flo and I, it wasn’t as easy as that. We had to suffice with Facebook messages and Skype video chats. My sister and I went over to visit during Easter 2014, and I also went over and did some work experience with Flo’s mum in a primary school. These trips made it easier, but it was still tough sometimes.


(Emily & Flo)

A year and a half down the line and things are going strong. In August 2014 Flo moved over to England, got a job and found some accommodation. We’ve been on holiday together, we’ve been on lots of days out together and we plan to move in together next year in Paris, as I will be going to university in the city centre. I’m really excited to live with him, and I think it will be full of challenges and exciting adventures.

But, the relationship has had its pitfalls. There have been numerous instances where English idioms, sarcasm and tongue in cheek humour has failed Flo. There’ve also been some occasions where Flo hasn’t communicated his ideas properly, which  meant that I completely misinterpreted what he wanted to say, which has caused several arguments.

However it’s not all been terrible and full of arguments. Many people say that French is the language of love, and they are absolutely correct. Flo has said some beautiful things to me in French which would not have had the same effect in English, and both of our second languages have improved to a near fluent level.


(Emily & Flo)

Moreover, since he moved to England, we have obviously been on several dates, which has been so much fun because we’ve been able to speak in French whilst surrounded by people who speak English. It’s been fun to giggle about things together and have nobody understand what we’re speaking about. I would definitely say that it has brought us closer together as a couple. It reminds me of when young siblings make up a secret language to speak so that their parents can’t understand them. Flo and I’s next challenge together will be learning ‘esperanto’, which is a language spoken by few (in comparison to French or English let’s say), meaning that we have another language in our arsenal with which we can communicate.

I have obviously had an advantage with this relationship because I speak French, but dating someone foreign has not been as daunting as it first seemed. Flo’s circumstances have evidently facilitated things, as he was able to move house and come to England. To anybody with concerns about dating someone who doesn’t speak your first language, I’d say 100% go for it, because it opens you up to another culture and the fun you’ll have learning about each other and learning about yourself too.


Emily Wade

Emily Wade is an 18 year old student from the north of England. I will be studying French at university in Paris in the next few years, and I enjoy languages, art and philosophy. Follow her on Instagram at https://instagram.com/spookyplacenta/


Study Abroad- Discover the World and a New Home

(photo by www.hccs.edu)
As the Twenty in Paris newsletter is currently on hiatus, I’m bringing the “Ask a Pro” section to you here on the Twenty in Paris blog. I sat down with study abroad extraordinaire, Elsa Thomasma, from GoAbroad.com to learn more about studying abroad. Here’s what she had to say:

I wish someone would have told me that anyone can study abroad, literally anyone, majoring in any subject, with any amount of experience. And also, that there are programs of varying lengths all over the world, and even scholarships to help you pay for it! If I would have known it was possible to take my general education courses in another country, I would have jumped at the chance (and you should too).

Luckily, I did find out in time and I was able to take advantage of my own opportunity to go abroad. At the end of my third year of university, I talked to my academic advisor about my desire to complete my practicum degree requirement abroad and he suggested I contact my study abroad office to see if it would be possible. I did so immediately and the answer was yes!

During my final year of university, my study abroad office helped me spend an entire semester interning and volunteering with a non governmental organization in the Philippines, while earning academic credit! Did I mention I was a full time student that whole semester AND I graduated in 4 years? Not long after graduation I returned to the Philippines as a full time intern with the same organization and shortly after I got a job at a local company; I’ve been living and working in the Philippines ever since.

Studying abroad is not a one time opportunity to earn academic credit, it is an opportunity for you to shape your future, your career, and your life. The best part is, study abroad is possible for anyone; just start looking through programs and you will find one that is perfect for you. Start your search with GoAbroad.com.