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What forum do U.S. expat mefite's use most on the internet?
June 17, 2014 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for THE forum for peeps like me (mid-30s, freelancing creative professional, not a backpacker) making a go of settling down overseas. I figured the hive must know the good sites with relevant info.

I've been overseas for 5 years, but just recently moved to Paris, where I don't have much connection(small handful of friends and my SO), and a growing intermediate language level.

There's several blogs and forums, but many of them don't seem to be updated much, or have much info more recent than 2-3 years old.

I'd like to spend my time reading and eventually contributing to one that is recommended.

For reference I've been combing these dotcoms : meetup, expatica, expatriates.stackexchange, expat-blog

Thanks all!
posted by talljamal to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe check out the Social Club Reddit for Paris as well?
posted by jedrek at 8:57 AM on June 17


you might have more luck looking at country-specific forums, as being an expat can be very different depending on country. When I lived in China I used to look at a Chinese language learning forum as well as some English-language forums on websites for the local English magazine in whatever city I was in. Those were pretty awful for discussion but useful for getting a sense of the expat scene in the area, as well as activities.

So I would suggest looking for forums based on the city you are in, a language you are learning, or maybe an activity, because it might be hard to find an all-purpose expat forum for, say, expats living all over, from Mexico to Paris to China, where the experiences are quite different, and in which situation it may be hard to find common topics.
posted by bearette at 9:50 AM on June 17


Yes, it really depends on location, and what you're looking for in terms of experiences – you're in Paris, which has a healthy cosmopolitan vibe. I also happen to be in Paris, though my main base is (was?!) Nice, where I've lived for the past 14 years. I'm one of those bloggers who doesn't update much – France has a wide-ish collection of "expatriates". I put that in quotes because the word has a lot of privilege tied into it; used correctly, an expatriate is sent by an office in their home country, to an expatriate mission overseas. You, however, as a freelancer, are not, technically, an expatriate. You're an immigrant (y'all can feel the difference in privilege seeping through just reading the word, right).

As such, searching expat forums in France is mainly going to get you a lot of rich people from the UK discussing which stone villa in Provence to purchase, and from the US, griping about FATCA. That they gripe about FATCA says one big thing: they have bank accounts with more than a $200,000 balance and they hold investment accounts. So. You aren't going to learn much about cross-cultural issues, because they have enough money to buy their way around them. For learning about your new home, as far as I've gleaned from 14 years living and 20 years blogging about the country, the best way is still on the ground, "in real life". It will come in time, as it does in any new place.

As the online world goes, my favorite forum for real people making a go of it in countries other than their birth country, is MetaFilter. Seriously. Have never found better.

Meetups tend to happen in Paris every once in a while! I don't have time to set one up, but would be happy to attend.
posted by fraula at 11:05 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Also came here to suggest the subreddits Paris and Social Paris. If you're still working on your French you might enjoy the polyglot events: buy a drink and talk to people in languages. They're really there to talk, not hit on you. Most of the people are French, and they loooove native and really fluent English speakers. I also go to and host events through couchsurfing. These are all multi-cultural groups frequented by curious people of all ages. Being France, there's lots of French people, of course. I like having a good mixed group of people around me, though, so I gravitate towards this type of group.

Like fraula said, you might not be interested in the "expat" networks. The word comes with some baggage and expectations that might not fit in with your goals.

That said, you're not alone. Lots of people agree about Paris: it can be damn hard to make good, long-term friends here. On the other hand, it's a big small town and you'll find your circle. Welcome, neighbor.
posted by whatzit at 11:12 AM on June 17


[full disclosure: I helped build this] for english-speaking expats in Vietnam, there's TNH Vietnam, which is pretty much unrivalled for local advice in Hanoi and other VN cities. I think generally you'd be better off with location-specific sites.
posted by grubby at 11:43 AM on June 17


When I lived in Daejeon, South Korea, I spent a lot of time on the Daejeon Peeps FB group. There were a couple others on FB, but Daejeon Peeps was really active.
posted by kathrynm at 5:50 PM on June 17


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