Today we meet Pamela Balagué, an American expatriate who found love in Paris and never looked back. Here she shares details of how life as an expat can encourage you to view yourself through new eyes, tells us why dogs are not a Parisian’s best friend and advises would-be expats on the need to remain Zen. Pamela also shares details of the tour guide company that she started while living in Paris and offers sound advice to would-be expats who are contemplating their own ventures.
Please tell us where you are originally from and what prompted you to move overseas?
I’m from Annapolis, Maryland, and moved to Paris, France to pursue a Master’s degree in French language and Civilization with Middlebury College. I then met my French husband and we’ve lived here for over ten years.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your life as expat?
Seeing myself and my American culture through a French lens has certainly made me explore my identity, as I think cross-cultural living does for any expat. Albeit challenging, this process towards cultural adaptation is positive. Who knew that living in a foreign culture was the best way to know thyself?
What three things do you like the most about living in Paris?
What three things do you like the least?
What advice would you give to someone who was relocating to Paris for the first time?
Discover yoga or devise a strategy to stay Zen while living in a densely populated city where you may often hear your neighbors in the apartments around yours. Keep smiling, even if the people in the metro don’t smile back. Try to learn a smattering of French at the very least. Seek out fellow expats: Meetup offers tons of expat groups, and Message is great for support and connecting with English-speaking families in Paris.
While in Paris you started your own tour guide company. Please describe what you do and how it came about.
My company, WalkGeneration, offers guided gourmet walking tours in Paris, and also develops applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones. I decided to create the company after my concept of a new kind of interactive mobile travel guides won a French competition for innovative business ideas (Idénergie 2010).
Our walking tours and free app 7 La Semaine du Goût app strive to offer tourists and Parisians an opportunity to (re)discover the city through authentic encounters with the talented food artisans and shopkeepers and their savoir-faire, one taste experience after the other…
Our most recent application, Paris for Parents, is the first smartphone guide to Paris for kids ages 0-12 and offers a unique application with geolocated shops, services, activities, and play areas in Paris. The application showcases 2,616 sites and over 600 activities, and proposes 12 walk itineraries for families to (re)discover Paris together. It is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones.
For questions or comments about our tours or our apps, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
What challenges did you face when trying to get your business off the ground?
Giving a pitch in French was challenging at first, despite my work experience in a French business and French studies. However, the real challenge and fantastic learning experience has been working with my wonderful team of developers learning to debug, problem-solve, and own the technical jargon of app development for both Android and iOS…in French.
What three top tips can you offer to expatriates who wish to start their own businesses in Paris?
What’s next for you?
In the immediate future, we’ll be busy promoting Paris for Parents. Then we’ll start development work on a project for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. Oh, and I’ll continue raising two young Franco-American kids with my husband!
Paris for parents presents 2600 geolocated sites, 600 activités and 12 walk itineraries to (re)discover Paris as a family. It can be found on itunes and is available on both iPhone and iPad at a cost of 2,69 €.
If you live in Paris or are considering relocating to this amazing city in the near future. Make sure you check out our expat guide to living in Paris.
Read the full article: https://itunes.apple.com/lt/app/paris-for-parents/id557135949?mt=8
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