Thinking about moving to France? Your fellow Caribbean Millennial Abroad, Lynle Smith, is sharing her experience in Saint-Nazaire, France. Read on to learn more about what made Lynle want to venture abroad and how she’s loving living on the French West Coast.
Meet Lynle Smith
A Trini girly girl who loves action movies, weight lifting, hiking and and the obvious paradox of this sentence. I speak French, Spanish and een beetje nederlands.
Q: Where in the Caribbean is home for you and where do you find yourself now?
L: I’m from a quiet and close-knit village called Sobo. It’s located in LaBrea, Trinidad and Tobago. I have been calling Saint-Augustine in the North of Trinidad my home for a few years though. I currently live in Saint-Nazaire, just off of Nantes, for about 6 months now.
Q: What made you want to venture abroad?
L: The search for better opportunities and for safety. The crime rate in Trinidad was really worrying for me. In the span of two years my apartment near the University had SEVERAL attempted break-ins. Even in one instance I was walking into the compound and was chased by a robber who was trying to pry a window open.
Q: In what ways is your current location different from home?
L: Saint-Nazaire is a very calm town with little to no criminal activity. It’s a lot more relaxed, organised and smooth running here. The blue skies and endless sun give rose-coloured glasses when I think of Sobo village and Saint Augustine. Gorgeous Trini places, amazing Caribbean vibe but ultimately too unsafe due to lawlessness.
Q: What is one thing you love about where you live now?
L: Affordability! The cost of living is pretty great in Saint-Nazaire.
Q: And what is one thing you’re still getting used to?
L: The chain-smoking that the locals (even teens) seem to love.
Q: How easy/difficult has it been for you to adjust to the culture and lifestyle of your new location?
L: It’s been pretty easy for me to adjust since it’s my second time in France. However, my first time living in France, I was based in Nice, was extremely difficult. With time comes wisdom.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face being away from home?
L: I think all of the paperwork, appointments and unknown rules are the hardest. French bureaucracy is the biggest challenge.
Q: What is one thing you’ve experienced abroad that you’d love to see people embrace back home?
L: Protecting the environment! Everyone here recycles and I admire their commitment soooo much. It’s refreshing to see the use of electric cars, the weaned dependency on plastic bags. It’s inspiring.
Q: Have you noticed any differences between the Caribbean Millennial and the Millennials you encounter abroad?
L: Caribbean millennials are often more responsible, ambitious and hardworking than others. We also have more of a sense of respect for authority while still maintaining an air of West Indian boldness.
Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions that your peers have of life abroad?
L: I think some people think it’s just a long vacation full of sightseeing and fun photo opps. It’s not, it’s life back home but hopped up on steroids.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for fellow Caribbean Millennials who want to move abroad but might be uncertain if it’s the right move for them?
L: Moving abroad requires planning, saving and discipline which should not be abandoned once you’ve reached abroad. Discipline is everything.
Lynle’s experience moving to Saint-Nazaire, France is quite eye-opening! If you’re thinking of taking that leap, what’s driving you away from paradise and into the unknown?