Current location
Paris, France
Rédacteur, writer
1. Can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Jackson. I’m from Canada and I’m 28 years old. I studied economics and French in university.
2. Where did you go on a working holiday and why?
I moved to Paris for my working holiday. Having majored in French at school, I had always wanted to try living somewhere that speaks French (I grew up in English Canada). And since the majority of my professors had come from France, I decided to move there to learn more about the culture behind this language that I had been learning for almost 20 years.
3. How did you spend your working holiday?
I’m currently on my working holiday, so it’s not finished yet. Paris is my home base, but occasionally I take trips to other cities via Europe’s amazing train network. So far, I’ve done Lille, Strasbourg, Brussels, Antwerp, and Rome. In February 2024, I’m going to Portugal for the first time and I’m very excited.
4. What have you gained from the experience?
Two things come to mind. The first is my confidence in my French abilities. Before my working holiday, French was just a classroom language for me. Even though I could read and write well, I didn’t necessarily feel confident having casual conversations with francophones. Things have changed significantly since my arrival in France and I am very proud of my growth. The second thing would be that the working holiday has given me another home. Whatever happens in the future, wherever I end up, I will be able to say that there is a place in Europe where I feel at home. And that to me is special.
5. What is your best memory from your working holiday?
The first French musical comedy that I watched in Paris, called Spamalot, was amazing. I was proud of myself for understanding basically everything, and it also just made me laugh so much. The singing of the talented actors was also spectacular. It really was a memorable experience.
6. What advice would you give to prospective working holiday makers?
Don’t try to recreate or relive the experience of others that you see on social media. You can certainly draw inspiration from it, but make sure to reflect on what you want out of your adventure. When we try too hard to follow the footsteps of others, we risk being disappointed by where they take us. And don’t forget that people only show you what they choose to show you. Life abroad is a lot more than just pretty photos.
7. What are your plans for the future?
For 2024, I plan to travel as much as possible. On my list are Portugal, the French Riviera, Turkey, Japan, China, Canada, and maybe a few other regions in France. We’ll see if I manage to do everything that I want. Even though my working holiday has been magical so far, I do see myself eventually returning to Canada to be with my family. But I’m open to all possibilities.
8. Can we end with a memorable anecdote from your working holiday?
This anecdote happened years before my current working holiday, but I think it is so illustrative of the expat experience in France!
    My first time coming to France was during a summer semester in the town of Tours on a university program. I spent two months taking courses on French history, visiting majestic chateaus across the Loire Valley, and living with a local host family. As I pulled up to the bus stop, I saw that my host mother was there to welcome me and I was eager to meet the woman behind the warm emails. Once I stepped out with my bags, she leaned forward to give me a cheek kiss, and I panicked. I was ready for a hug or a handshake but totally hadn’t prepared for the possibility of a kiss. By reflex, I jerked my head back and stuck out my hand. She instinctively pulled back too and we just shook hands like a couple of awkward attendees at some trans-Atlantic business summit. She never tried to cheek kiss me again and I felt too weird to ask for another chance. Read my full article here.

    Je suis Meghan, rédactrice web pour Pvtistes. Je suis Québécoise, originaire de la Côte-Nord. Je suis en PVT France depuis un peu plus de 1 an déjà. Je me suis installée dans le département du Nord, à Lille.

    I’m Meghan, a writer for Pvtistes. I’m originally from the Côte-Nord region of Quebec. For my working holiday, I settled in Lille, the Nord department of France, and I’ve been here for just over one year now.

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