Dealing with the French bureaucracy

Name: Eden Zornitzer
Age: 21
Place of residence: Paris, France
Most misses: Tel Aviv Air and family

During my military service, I realized that I wanted to do my studies abroad. At first the consideration was in the US, but it quickly became clear to me that tuition in Wonderland exceeded the fence of the imagination and the focus was shifting towards Europe. From that moment on there were not too many babes, I knew Paris from the Bat Mitzvah trip and her magic has been etched in my heart ever since. Fortunately, I found a university that does not require the knowledge of the French language and provides a degree in the field I desired. And so, eight months ago, I began my new path in Paris. The feeling that surprises me the most from the day I landed in the City of Light is that the euphoria of arrival did not wane for a moment, as a result of which it became clear to me that I was in the right place.

Nevertheless, France possesses an unprecedented expertise called bureaucracy – a tinkering we all know with no choice. But here, in the kingdom of croissants, there is no doubt that the concept (which, by the way, originates from the French word bureau – “office”) has taken on much more considerable significance, especially for us who lack European citizenship.

ההתמודדות עם הביורוקרטיה הצרפתית

It is not difficult to conclude from this fact that the beginning and acclimatization in Paris is not simple to say the least. It all started from Israel, before the actual transition. The amount of requirements and paperwork to get a student visa (and possibly additional visas) is not for the headscarves between us. I was forced to give endless evidence and reference to prove my commitment to the following year (including a birth certificate translated into French). The same process must be processed every time you wish to renew the visa. And if the birth certificate is not translated by a certified translator and recognized by the French court, it cannot be done. This is how they go for another 70 euros to do the same thing that has already been done from the country.

Copying myself to France

After I passed this stage, the adaptation process began in Paris. And so the bureaucracy continued. For the first two or three months, the feeling was that I was copying myself to another country (the bottom line was that this was the reality). Well, what steps do we need to get through the relocation phase safely? We’ll start by opening a bank account. simple. Or not so much. The opening of the account itself passed without significant difficulty. Luckily, the consultant I received spoke English (with most bank employees only communicating in French) and she assured me that the credit card I would receive in the mail in the coming week, which I quickly realized would not happen.

The situation was that I deposited most of my money in the bank and left a relatively small amount in my wallet for the next few days. I received the credit card after more than three weeks, which meant that whenever I had to spend money, I was forced to make my way to the bank branch and its withdrawal (a constraint that did not harm my physical activity, but to my mental health…).

Conclusion: Everything here takes ZM. Here, patience is the key word in bureaucratic procedures. To be honest, once this fact is recognized in advance, the thought of it stops receiving a connotation of burden, but this too should be used to.

French cellular riddle

The next step was to open a French cell phone account, and it’s a tricky business. We all hear about the innovative and improved packages that cellular companies offer every Monday and Thursday. Discounts and more discounts, more lucrative and less lucrative, the whole thing already makes my head do eights in the air. And now, imagine everything in French (if you don’t speak, of course). From opening a cellphone account, this has become a frustrating conundrum. Every piece of information I gleaned on the Internet was in French, and at the Orange branch, surprisingly, no one spoke English. Despite the information I obtained, I failed to make the comparison between the cellular companies.

Good thing there’s someone to ask, isn’t it? So not exactly. Everyone recommended a different society and the riddle went from frustrating to dark to solvable. Eventually, with a little daring, I decided to knock on the door of my new neighbor, Pierre, and as an angel coming down from heaven redeemed my anguish and helped me convert my numbers from Israeli to French without any problem. The plot twist occurred when the company demanded my credit card details, S.H.I.E.L.D. Wait, I haven’t gotten it yet. So Pierre, a second time in the same half hour, also solved this problem. The SIM card was supposed to arrive about a week from the day of payment, but this time, I prepared myself in advance for two or three weeks and my mind remained quiet.

The apartments in Paris – especially for lilliputs

Signing the electric bill contract was not complicated, as I received help from the previous tenant who was staying in the apartment. What was complex is to understand how and when the electric company charges me and believe it or not, I solved this issue only a while ago. In retrospect, it became clear to me that I pay the bill every two months, and not once a month. Trying to understand why things worked in such a way cost me a hopeless phone call with a service representative of the electric company whose level in English was compared to the level in French at the time, and so the purpose of the conversation went to oblivion. On top of that, the same tenant who helped me with the contract recommended that I pay the electric bill through the company’s app, which was also all in French so I gave up the idea. The alternative was to make the payment through letters. yes, letters. With stamps. The last time I sent a letter I couldn’t remember. But it turns out to be a fairly popular interactive way in Paris. Who says the world has moved on? (Admitting I had a little crush on it).

ההתמודדות עם הביורוקרטיה הצרפתית

In addition to the ongoing bureaucracy, entering the apartment left me and my father who came with me stunned. First of all, it’s not easy to get used to such a small space. 15 square meters, inside which you can turn the omelette on the pan straight from the shower. Although my apartment is considered a modest studio apartment, after several visits to friends, I can attest that the vast majority of the spaces in Paris are customized for dwarves from the land of Lilliput.

Secondly, I got the apartment relatively empty, with a bed and closet only. There’s something a little pinching about going into an empty space. But it was just part of the adaptation process and in some place an excuse to experiment with interior design. In the first week, my father and I bought furniture at Ikea and the apartment began to take on a “jacuzzi” shape and feel. Over time, I have added more and more objects and reality to my compact territory and as of today, everyone who enters it feels at home.

It’s behind me.

Let me say that the first and uninviting moments of relocation are in no way comparable to what this amazing city has to offer. I can deal with bureaucratic procedures by tomorrow, as long as they happen in Paris.

These days I allow myself to admit that the exhausting process behind me, the furniture in my apartment is in place and so are the matters of bureaucracy, and there is nothing left but to lean on a home window sill and exhale a sigh of relief against the backdrop of the lax twilight of the City of Light and listen to the melody of Josephine’s kitchen utensils from the lower apartment as she prepares a comforting ratatouille stew.

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