As part our Santa Fe Around The World initiative, we recently spoke with Chloe, whose family we relocated from France to Greenville, South Carolina. Chloe and her husband moved with 5 children, ages now ranging from 8 to 18. Curious about how she and her family have adjusted to life in the US, we asked her a number of questions:
Adapting to a new culture can be challenging. What were your expectations before moving?
Chloe: We were ready to get settled and willing to be integrated into the culture. The children decided to go to American schools, despite the possibility of attending a French school in the area.
I needed a break from my job as a University professor, but I was expecting to find another job as I had in a previous relocation. I was even ready to change fields, environment or topics of focus.
Upon arrival, there would be some tough adjustments (for example: car use, food, or data) but we were pragmatic. We believed that to get the most from this experience, we should choose 2 or 3 areas that we’d consider our “islands of resistance” in an ocean of integration. We gave up on the small friction points and integration has been easy since.
Tell us more about the decisions you made involving your children and how they have adjusted.
Chloe: All 5 of our children decided to move with us. The oldest was in 12th grade and following his IB, he was admitted to an American college. The second oldest hopes to study at an American college as well.
They have loved it, although leaving behind their schools and friends in France was not easy. Today they consider themselves to be thriving and have made their own lives here. Before moving, we identified the necessary conditions to help them to feel settled and we did our best to ensure them.
Did anything surprise your children about life in the US?
Chloe: A few things surprised them:
1) the fact that in American School, there is no break during the daily Schedule,
2) the possibility for them to be fully recognized although they are not Americans;
3) and interestingly, the way sweet and salty seem always mixed in American food.
Speaking of food are there American foods you particularly like or any that you miss from home?
Chloe: BBQ is our favorite more than any other American food.
We kept some of our French habits and adjusted them to the American diet. Food is one of our “islands of resistance”. For example, we make our own bread on a weekly basis.
What do you think are the main differences between the US and your country of origin?
Chloe: A significant difference between the two is the way of reasoning regarding the protection of natural resources and protection of the environment. Both of these lead to huge consequences relevant to our daily life in Europe and in the US.
Where have you enjoyed travelling the most in the US?
Chloe: Florida, Tennessee, NYC and Washington DC.
How do you think your family will adjust to moving back to France and what will you miss about the US?
Chloe: It’s always more difficult to move back than to leave in the first place. We’ll probably miss a sense of professionalism, a commitment to entrepreneurship and a dedication to leadership.
Santa Fe Relocation thanks Chloe and her family for sharing their experience with us. We wish them all the best as they continue their adventure in the US!