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Old Jul 30th 2017, 3:59 pm   #1
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Default Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Hello all!

I've been lurking on this forum site for a while now and read many thoughtful and knowledgeable pieces of advice. I was wondering if perhaps I could ask for some help, too.

I'm a British citizen but haven't lived in England since I was about 10. I moved to many different countries during my childhood and am now studying at a music conservatoire in Hungary. My family lives in France, the Rhone-Alps region, right next to the Swiss border. So, almost-France.

I graduate next year and I really want to improve my French (especially in light of Brexit but also because I don't- and haven't for a long time- imagine myself living long-term in England and I want to have the possibility to live in Europe and learning a European language is part of that) which is why I have been thinking of living in France. I've also been thinking of applying to Master's courses at conservatoires in France but I know they're hugely competitive so I'm not sure how possible that avenue is.

It's not quite as simple as living at home because (in order of priority):
1) my family is English-speaking and I want to be in a French-speaking immediate environment to fully immerse myself
2) I want to apply for French naturalistion and I know that part of that requires a degree "immersion" (also living in France)
3) job opportunities would be in Switzerland not France (as we live so close to the border and there isn't much going around on the French side of things) and that poses a lot of issues with work visas etc. as well as it being quite difficult to find work and
4) like many 20-somethings, I need a bit of space from my family!

My French is probably around B2 (high B1 to low B2 guessing from tests I've briefly scanned) but I haven't had the opportunity to speak it for a long time. I think I would like to live in Lyon but I'm open to other places too.

My questions are therefore:

- How difficult would it be to get a job at a bar/cafe/shop, keeping in mind my French level, etc.? Let's say in Lyon or Paris or Bretagne (I realise these are very different places but they're the ones I've been thinking of the most)
- Would au pair work be a possible opportunity and a good way to immerse in both the language and culture?
- What other jobs could be a possibility?
- If anyone knows, exactly how difficult is it to get into a music Master's programme in France for choral conducting (I realise that's also very specific but it's hard to find this kind of information online). Am I setting my sights too high?
- What's the choral scene like in France/specific parts of France, if you know
- In terms of finding a place to live, is there an online platform where one could find roommates? And how difficult would it be to rent a place considering I would probably not have a 'proper' job (hoops to jump, I mean)? (My mother, for instance, could be a guarantor and she has a French address)
- In terms of naturalisation...my family has been living in France for 5 years now and as I've been a student abroad during that time, it's been my official address (I don't have a permanent address abroad) although I haven't actually lived in France for four years- am I still applicable to apply or will I have to actually live there for another 5 years/2 years if I do a Masters?
- Is this an insane endeavour?

I realise that this is a lot of information and many questions but I just wanted to give you enough to go off on! Thank you very much for your time and help

LittleLion
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 11:37 am   #2
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Hi LittleLion, welcome to the forum.

Your situation and your questions are very specific, and I can't think of any forum members who came here as a student/young person and might have personal experience of any of the issues you're facing.

Some of your questions are black and white and the answer should be findable if you look on the government website, eg the exact criteria for naturalisation according to different circumstances - you don't mention being born or brought up in France, and I'm very doubtful whether, for an adult, having a parental home in France would count if you yourself have never lived and been "in the system" here, but if you read the website you may find a set of criteria you can meet. https://www.service-public.fr/partic...osdroits/F2213

I'm sure au pair work would be a possibility, if you can find a place and if you'd enjoy it.

Outside of big towns it's surprisingly difficult to get shop work, but seems to be easier to find work in bars during tourist season at least. How good are you at "selling yourself", what experience do you have? When you say Brittany, I guess you're thinking of a town like Rennes, rather than rural Brittany? Lyon seems to have a reputation for being unwelcoming to foreigners, although I don't know how true this is.

If you want to study, I think the best advice is to get your applications in. It really doesn't matter how easy or difficult it is to get a place in general - the only thing that matters is, whether you manage to get a place. And the only way to find that out, is to apply.

Any student town will have online platforms where you can look for a room as a "coloc" (flatmate). In Paris you might also find somewhere through airbnb. Once you have a job or a place on a course it will be possible to find somewhere to live, although not necessarily easy and not necessarily ideal.

Sorry this doesn't give you many answers but good luck with it all, and let us know how the plan progresses!
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 1:32 pm   #3
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Welcome!!

Have you thought of approaching conservatoires in France? France has a vibrant music scene and I am sure , if you have ability someone somewhere will be able to answer your questions about a Masters.

Your main problem is probably, as you realise your lack of French. Do you sepak, write etc Hungarian? Surely the place where you are now studying will have people with contacts?

Good luck anyway and let us know when you reach your goal.
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 2:02 pm   #4
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

To give an example of one Conservatoire:

Conservatoire de Rennes - Je veux m'inscrire

gives info about how to go about applying for enrolment. Your first task is to get a dossier together (cf list of documents to provide).
September seems to be the month for applying for choral conducting ("direction de choeur"), so you have time, but I didn't read much further and "Masters" may not be available.
You may encounter problems if you aren't familiar with the French way of "speaking music". Like arithmetic, I've never bothered to learn the French way, and it can be a handicap even for amateurs.
Hope this helps a little, but as ET says, AFAIK there are no BE members who've done this. We can only point you in one of several right directions! Good luck with your venture!
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 3:33 pm   #5
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Hi,
another one with no experience or even much knowledge, sorry. However, I did find this link which covers quite a few aspects
Research in France > CampusFrance

It only seems to cover the public universities though and I suppose the conservatoires are private.

I would phone up the conservatoires and ask.

Also, search for an international student forum perhaps?
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 4:33 pm   #6
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannybunz View Post
Welcome!!

Have you thought of approaching conservatoires in France? France has a vibrant music scene and I am sure , if you have ability someone somewhere will be able to answer your questions about a Masters.

Your main problem is probably, as you realise your lack of French. Do you sepak, write etc Hungarian? Surely the place where you are now studying will have people with contacts?

Good luck anyway and let us know when you reach your goal.
Thank you for your response!

That's a good idea- I should write some emails or (preferably but maybe not possible) visit some conservatoires in France to ask more specific questions.

Yes, absolutely the lack of French is a problem and also not knowing the French music system as I'm sure it's very different from Hungary. My BA in Hungary is entirely in English and whilst I know enough Hungarian to somehow get around, definitely not enough to really speak or write. My teachers do have contacts in Hungary but not really in France and they've never been taught in the French system. Due to my lack of Hungarian knowledge but also greatly due to the political climate in Hungary, I don't wish to remain there.

My problem is kind of that no matter where I go from here I'm going to face the same problem...if it were a question of returning "home" and knowing people/place/language/etc. then I would gladly do that! But I don't really have that and I'm not quite sure how to go about creating that as, as you say, my lack of French is a problem...
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 4:37 pm   #7
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmu View Post
Hi, and welcome to the forum!

To give an example of one Conservatoire:

Conservatoire de Rennes - Je veux m'inscrire

gives info about how to go about applying for enrolment. Your first task is to get a dossier together (cf list of documents to provide).
September seems to be the month for applying for choral conducting ("direction de choeur"), so you have time, but I didn't read much further and "Masters" may not be available.
You may encounter problems if you aren't familiar with the French way of "speaking music". Like arithmetic, I've never bothered to learn the French way, and it can be a handicap even for amateurs.
Hope this helps a little, but as ET says, AFAIK there are no BE members who've done this. We can only point you in one of several right directions! Good luck with your venture!

Thanks for your help! I'll definitely check that out- I've looked at a couple of conservatoires about choral conducting but I'm not quite sure which places have the best taught programmes as on the surface they look very similar.

And I completely agree re: encountering problems with, well, the language first but also the French way of understanding music. Hungary itself has a quite unique way of teaching and interpreting music that I think I won't find outside of it...I'm not sure what the solution to this is as it's not really feasible to stay in Hungary either. Maybe I should look into short courses?
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 7:47 pm   #8
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Smile Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

This is not an insane endeavour, just a not the easiest path to walk.

For information about Lyon from a younger perspective, the Lyon sub-reddit has a wiki containing numerous useful links.
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 8:11 pm   #9
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

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Originally Posted by LittleLion View Post

My problem is kind of that no matter where I go from here I'm going to face the same problem...if it were a question of returning "home" and knowing people/place/language/etc. then I would gladly do that! But I don't really have that and I'm not quite sure how to go about creating that as, as you say, my lack of French is a problem...
You might benefit from learning about third culture kids (TCK) - you are one. The problem you talk about is a common one for TCKs.

My own children found this ted talk very moving.
<iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_where_is_home" width="854px" height="480px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 10:28 pm   #10
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

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Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Hi LittleLion, welcome to the forum.

Your situation and your questions are very specific, and I can't think of any forum members who came here as a student/young person and might have personal experience of any of the issues you're facing.

Some of your questions are black and white and the answer should be findable if you look on the government website, eg the exact criteria for naturalisation according to different circumstances - you don't mention being born or brought up in France, and I'm very doubtful whether, for an adult, having a parental home in France would count if you yourself have never lived and been "in the system" here, but if you read the website you may find a set of criteria you can meet. https://www.service-public.fr/partic...osdroits/F2213

I'm sure au pair work would be a possibility, if you can find a place and if you'd enjoy it.

Outside of big towns it's surprisingly difficult to get shop work, but seems to be easier to find work in bars during tourist season at least. How good are you at "selling yourself", what experience do you have? When you say Brittany, I guess you're thinking of a town like Rennes, rather than rural Brittany? Lyon seems to have a reputation for being unwelcoming to foreigners, although I don't know how true this is.

If you want to study, I think the best advice is to get your applications in. It really doesn't matter how easy or difficult it is to get a place in general - the only thing that matters is, whether you manage to get a place. And the only way to find that out, is to apply.

Any student town will have online platforms where you can look for a room as a "coloc" (flatmate). In Paris you might also find somewhere through airbnb. Once you have a job or a place on a course it will be possible to find somewhere to live, although not necessarily easy and not necessarily ideal.

Sorry this doesn't give you many answers but good luck with it all, and let us know how the plan progresses!

Thank you for the welcome and the response

Yes, absolutely I think the naturalisation question is the most straight-forward perhaps to answer. I may have to call or something because they do make the distinction between residence and domicile and I would say France is my "home" in that this is where my family is and my permanent address and I have a French bank account but at the same time, it's true that I don't live here permanently (and haven't for a while). I lived in France for the last year of my high-school education but that was 4 years ago now. On the other hand, I don't have a permanent address in Hungary (I've moved every year and have never redirected mail/debit card bills here, etc.) or a bank account but I do study there...I would argue that my residence is France and domicile Hungary but it's not my argument that counts of course!

Haha I think that's why the idea of moving (but this is an inevitability!) is so daunting because I'm not sure how good I am at "selling myself" especially in a foreign environment where I'd be competing against those who know the language/place better...And I've never actually had a cafe/bar/etc. job because I've never been in a country or place long enough to learn the language well/have a contract-based job (I've done odd jobs like babysitting and gardening and stuff). I'm actually not too pessimistic about my ability but I feel like the general opinion is that it's not a good idea to move to France if you can be somewhere else (and I somewhat agree) so I don't want to be too optimistic!

Thanks again for the response, I found it helpful- I suppose I know that I won't get solid 'answers' but am more looking for ideas/opinions as I feel a bit lost!
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Old Jul 31st 2017, 10:39 pm   #11
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

Quote:
Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
You might benefit from learning about third culture kids (TCK) - you are one. The problem you talk about is a common one for TCKs.

My own children found this ted talk very moving.
<iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_where_is_home" width="854px" height="480px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
Ah, thank you for that! I enjoyed it very much

Yeah, being a TCK sometimes seems like a problem of luxury- you've travelled so much that you don't know where to go or where you belong. But it often feels like more of a burden! It's nice to know that there are other people who have had similar experiences and survived
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Old Aug 2nd 2017, 9:17 pm   #12
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Default Re: Student in Hungary wanting to move to France

LittleLion - others have said this is not an insane endeavour and they're right - to a point.

I'm at the opposite end of the profession in terms of being close to retirement, but I'm a professional choral (and orchestral) conductor and have worked in France - but only to a limited degree. My music college was in the UK.

I've worked with Eva Kollar at the Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest - she certainly had many contacts across much of Europe (but we didn't talk about France). She may be able to help you.

Not necessarily directly relevant is the European Voice Teachers Association http://evta-online.eu/index.php?page=who-we-are

The president of this association sings in one of my choirs and I could put you in touch with her if you wish.

I wonder about your choice of choral singing as a single study because, as a later career, it's not exactly a job which will put food on your table. Are you able to offer private instrumental and/or vocal coaching once you're qualified?

I'm sorry my reply isn't particularly cohesive - it's just that it's a huge subject. I'd be happy for you to PM me if you wish.

In essence, I couldn't have wished for a more rewarding career and would encourage you to follow your dreams!
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