Audencia's Career Center and Alumni teams are delighted to to bring you “Go France!”, the guide to working in France.Following the success of the first guide in 2019, this new updated edition revisits advice from HR professionals, input from intercultural experts and shares yet more experiences of working in France for internationals. Alumni say they choose France for its corporate culture and impact-driven working environment but also for its croissants!
“Go France!” is a valuable resource for students staying in France after their studies at Audencia.
This week, discover what Jember Teklu Tesfay from Ethiopia has to say.
- GRADUATED FROM THE MBA PROGRAMME IN 2021
- FROM ETHIOPIA
- CURRENT POSITION CAMPAIGNS MANAGER AT BLABLACAR IN PARIS
- NATIVE LANGUAGE AMHARIC
- DAILY WORKING LANGUAGES ENGLISH
- OTHER LANGUAGES SPOKEN FRENCH
- FRENCH LEVEL BEGINNER (A1/A2)
- LIVING IN FRANCE SINCE 2020
Jember's key message: “Saying ‘bonjour’, ‘merci’ and ’pardon’ a hundred times a day is pretty customary to me now, whether at the bakery, getting on the bus or making my way out of the métro."
My biggest challenge
The language barrier. There were multiple times when I wanted to assist people, discuss many important issues and express my thoughts but felt at a loss.
Myths & realities
- MYTH The usual. ‘You can’t secure a job or internship if you don’t speak French.’ Even at a French company you can find an all-English role if the working language is English (I did!)
- REALITY If you are looking for a customer facing job, however, proficiency in French is a requirement. Additionally, other English language non-customer-facing positions might indeed be difficult to find outside of Paris.
My advice & top tips
Always have a career plan in mind. Mine changed four times during my MBA all based on different circumstances. That way it was easy for me to find a role that I would enjoy and for which I would sail through the interview. Last but not the least, try to learn or improve your French.
Quirky & cultural
It was refreshing to realise the emphasis the French place on their daily meal – at school or work lunch breaks can last up to 1½ hours. Also, the French love buying local produce and are loyal to their neighbourhood bakeries (they don’t mind long queues!) Very heart-warming!
The passion people demonstrate when discussing even simple everyday can be surprising. In many cultures, the raised tone when communicating signals aggression but this is not necessarily the case in France. People may simply be passing the time of day, only with a bit more passion.