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Expats: DO adjust to France and the French!


If you are invited for dinner: don’t come too early, don’t eat too much of the first course, try every­thing and avoid leaving food on your plate, speak lightly (and avoid money and religion...), don’t say “Bon appetit” (it has become a little ridiculous).

Don’t order only one dish (if you are not hungry, don’t go to a res­taurant!), don’t drink soft drinks or coffee with a good meal, never ask for a doggy bag, don’t try to order things you find only at home: ask for what people here eat or drink. An important difference between French and Americans: it is NOT very classy to share the bill on the principle of “who had what”. If you are three and you share, divide the bill by three and don't go into shocking details like ‘did you have coffee?”

Build relations instead of pro­cedures, do not try to mix profes­sional life and private life, do not ex­pect too much from meetings, if you want to convince people try to look smart (rather than efficient), don’t take it for granted that everybody should speak English, don’t be too informal until you’re sure it’s OK.

Talk to the boss. France is a very hierarchical society: if you are unhappy in a shop or with a client or a supplier, do not waste time talking to someone who does not feel responsible.

Don’t judge before making an effort to understand! There is always a reason to explain people’s behav­ior: first understand, then criticize... For instance, don’t be shocked if somebody does not give you his name when any American would have done it: it may be a matter of privacy.

www. harrietweltyrochefort. com

Cultural References

Text A

Expat — an expatriate – is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal resi­dence. The word comes from the Latin term expatriatus from ex (“out of’) and patria (“country, fatherland”).


Text В

A doggy bag — a container for leftover food to be carried home from a meal eaten at a restaurant. The name comes from the euphemistic pretense that the food will be given to the diner’s pet, rather than eaten by a person. Doggy bags are most common in restaurants that offer a take-out food ser­vice as well as sit-down meals, and their prevalence as an accepted social custom varies widely by location. In some countries, like France, people would frown upon a diner asking for a doggy bag.


Vocabulary Notes

Text A

to dwell — to live somewhere.

to foster — to encourage sth to develop.


Text В

classy — AmE (informal) of high quality; expensive and/or fashionable.

to take sth for granted — to believe sth is true without first making sure that it is.


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EXPATS AT WORK| Exercises Comprehension

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