After 6 months of searching for a job in France, I landed an internship at a real estate agent in Nice. I was not quite sure what my job would entail, but at the time I was simply relieved that I had finally secured a French internship after countless rejections. At this point, only a few weeks before the “year abroad period” was due to begin, I could finally allow myself to feel as excited as everyone else at the prospect of living and working abroad for the next year.
[Flying into Nice airport]
A week ago, I packed up and flew to Nice via London Gatwick. It took over 12 hours for me to get from door to door (the perks of living on a small island) and by the time I took the essentials out of my suitcase I only had a few hours to relax before I started work the next day. Because I had no food, I ventured out for a quick dinner and saw the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice on the way. I don’t typically seek out religious buildings, but the basilica lit up at night was an incredible sight.
[Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice at night]
My first day at work was average. I met the other intern, the previous intern and one of the agents as soon as I walked in. I’m usually terrible with remembering names, but they’re all called Alex so I had no excuse! The new Alex and I were shown parts of the job as they came up in the day, and I was grateful that the previous intern Alex had made time in her busy schedule to put together a manual for the job, which became my holy grail.
[Dressing for my first and second days was easier than the rest of the week]
But being an introvert in a world of extroverts is harder than I originally thought. The main hindrance for me is speaking in French; I know what I want to say, but my lack of confidence in my own abilities leads me to fumble and stutter my way through each sentence. In my first week at the job, I’ve lost count at the amount of times I’ve been told something along the lines of ‘you need to sound more enthusiastic’, but hearing it only makes me more frustrated in myself for not knowing how to.
There is hope, though. Previous intern Alex said that she wasn’t confident in speaking when she first arrived; now she sounds near-fluent. As long as I study the manual, the properties that the company is selling and the vocabulary in both French and English, and, most importantly, don’t give up, I’m sure I’ll improve rapidly – I am living in France, after all.
I currently live with 3 other people: an Argentinian guy, a Portuguese guy and an Irish girl. They’re all lovely and each have their own reasons for being in Nice. I love the independent atmosphere in the flat, everyone gets on with their own life but we speak when we encounter each other in the kitchen or corridor. The flat itself is in a prime location and, coincidentally, is only a few minutes’ walk from work. On the corner between my flat and work there is a Carrefour City, so I’m able to buy fresh baguettes in the evening for my breakfast the next day.
Overall, I’ve had a pretty positive first week in Nice and consider myself lucky: I’m living in a beautiful city with nice people and have an interesting internship that gives me plenty of opportunities to improve my French. It’s certainly not perfect, indeed nothing is, but I would say that, as far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty damn close.