Thursday, January 24, 2008


In our classroom we have a white board devoted to the internship. All our names are there, and we have to indicate how many CV we sent out, how many companies replied, how many interview we got, how many offer we got, and at the end which company we chose.

At my column, I have yet anything to write down, as I haven't found an internship.

The majority of the French have found one, us foreigners are a bit lagging behind, but some of them have gotten some offers as well.

Me, nothing.

Everyday in the class, while looking at the teacher, my mind flew away and sometimes I stared at this white board. It doesn't matter if I'm the last one to fill the board, as long as I could find one.

I have had 4 interviews with the same company, and during the fourth interview I discovered that the missions they have, I won't be able to deliver as good as other candidates, as all the reports have to be in French, and I would have to go out see the clients to be able to gather the information. In my region, everything has to be in French. "It is very rare we have international project", the interviewer told me.

As we started to have classes in French, I realized I couldn't outperform the French due to this language barrier, but I outperform them whenever we have classes in English. So, English is my weapon, but it is useless in this region.

So, I'm targeting Paris. And this leads to another problem...

My favorite Chinese author told me that she envies me for living in France. I have to tell you guys: Life in France is tough. It is consisted of many rejections.


  1. Hi Bee Ean, haven't been to your blog for a while, so 'Hello' again,and a happy new year! Just wanted to say it must be really difficult to get work in France if you cannot master the language, just like in any other non-native speaking country. I admire you and like your Chinese friend, I also envy you as I always love France!

    If you look in to Paris, how about London! Its only 2 1/2 hours away now. British companies are always looking for brilliant candidates and language would not be a barrier. I guess, that leaves the question, what about hubby!


  2. BE,

    It has never easy for any immigrants in a new country. Our forefather encountered hardship when they moved to Nanyang or the golden West in America but we are resilience people, we have survived and will continue to and I believe you will too.

    Hurdles and obstacles help us to become stronger.

    I remembered I encountered so much hurdles when I was a foreign student in Australia. In fact, the Uni. had ( I believe it still exists) an office to help students to get odd jobs (part time jobs or summer jobs). But, we were not even given the chance to have a look at the jobs available because they said we were only allowed 20 hours.

    But, like I said we were resilience people :). Since we were not even given the opportunity to find out any jobs available because those idiots in the office told us right front that there were no jobs for us.

    But, you know in order to survive, you need to be smarter than those idiots.

    Here came the best strategy we had set up for our group of rejected foreign students.

    2 of us went to talk to the guys who were suppose to take care of the office and those books that full of job listings and the 2 went to write down the contact numbers from the book which they out right told us there's no jobs for us.

    We practiced fast writing prior to performing our tasks.

    We wrote down at least 100 employers telephone numbers and addresses over the span of a few days.

    Do you think we get the summer jobs we want ? You bet ! No employer with the right frame of mind would turn down any hard working Chinese workers.

    Many of those employers even applied work permit for us after we graduated.

    It's not that employers did not want to hire us but our doors were closed by those bueracratic idiots.

    Do not let language barrier be a hangup for you.

    If you are good in what you are doing , a little bit of language barrier would not do any harm to a company that want bottom line results.

    I am sorry that you have to go through this but I want you to be 'zenchow' and don't give up ! There will be light after the tunnel !


  3. Hi Bee,

    Just hang in there. Probably can follow Jamy's advice.

    All the best now.

  4. Anonymous3:20 PM

    Hi BE,

    I just found my internship in a French company with international orientation for a clinical research project. I was like you a month ago, sending out 30 over letters to the companies, went for 2 interviews of which one rejected. Recently I got an interview offer but I couldn't go as I had signed the convention de stage.

    I would agree with you on 2 things:
    1) It's harder for foreigners to get internship, not only for the language, bcos the north africans who are bilingual in my class also haven't found anything. It's most probably due to the foreign experiences and education that make the companies hesitating to take a foreign candidate.

    2) There are more international companies in Paris. So perhaps the chances are better, but bear in mind that there are many candidates from all the univs or grandes ecoles allover france also searching for opportunities. The competition is very cruel.

    It's not only France that gives us hard life. A friend of a friend of mine who married to a dutch 6 or 7 yrs ago also spent 5 yrs before getting a job there. Since we have made the choice to live abroad, we must adapt ourselves to their rules of game and outperform them later on.

    All the best to you!

  5. svllee,

    Happy new year to you too. Yes like you said, what about hubby? Already he disagreed about the fact I start looking in Paris.

    You always have interesting experience to tell. Very smart.

    Tks yeah.

    Congrats on your internship, this gives me motivation and inspiration. You set a good example for us Malaysian. :-)

    It is very hard to see the French sent out 10 CVs and get 8 responses, and me sent out 10 and got one response. With the bad response, I started to look into Paris areas, and I realized the missions they have are more interesting and open towards international. As for competition in Paris, well, our foreigner senior all found their job in Paris after trying out in Nantes. I have to struggle a lot to come to this decision about Paris, as I'm risking my marriage (hubby disagreed on this decision). It is at a point that I have to think about myself.

  6. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Hey Bee!!

    Bee,t'es une vainquante, you have to believe in yourself! You worked hard to integrate in France and I know as well as you know that it is not easy…all of us, we have the same problems sooner or later, but you have to trust in yourself and continue looking….

    It doesn’t matter the order we fill in the count only the final objective: the internship witch is the best for you….It is there, you have only to keep looking for it, cos it will be a great one and you will nor regret having looked a lot to find it…:)

    Good luck!


  7. Anonymous6:24 PM

    Thanks Bee Ean!

    Yea it's all about perseverance, we must not give up to pursue our dreams.
    All the countries will favour their own compatriots before foreigners, even in Malaysia! If a student is being educated all the way in that country and when he starts looking for job there, it's always easier than if he were to search abroad.

    In my company there are quite a number of Americans.

    Have you tried calling the companies which u had sent ur CV to? sometimes it might work bcos the companies might judge the motivation and seriousness of the candidates by phone calls!!

  8. Anonymous10:44 PM

    "I have to tell you guys: Life in France is tough. It is consisted of many rejections."

    It is the first time that I read your blog, I believe that you have some problems to adapt and you don't understand the country.

    I was in a similar situation in Malaysia, when I was looking for a job. I was applying in local companies but they even didn't replied. Oftenly they requested to speak Malay, Chinese or Tamoul. I got only one interview in French company working in Malaysia...

    Actualy, I know that it is difficult to perform in a different country moreover when it is a different culture. In these situation, we have to be very adaptative. I didn't attack malaysia by "Malaysia is tough" but I didn't think that. I wondered how to find a solution, how to improve my skills.

    About the language, it is true : in France, you have to speak French. French is the native language of this country, You have to accept this fact. It would be like this too in Italy or Japan for exemple...

  9. ViennoisCoffe,

    Thank you for leaving this valuable comment.

    When I said "life in France is tough", I wasn't attacking France, simply stating a feeling that I have.

    About French language, it is normal that in France we speak French. I did put effort into learning this language. All I can say is that I'm not gifted for language and I found French an extremely complicated language. At this stage I push myself to speak and read as much French as possible. But, I need people to give me a chance. I would never be able to speak like a French, or write as good as those who had received French education for all their life. When I had an interview with an US company, I was concerned about my English level. And the company told me that "don't worry, you can't improve your English while you are working in the USA." So, I wish a French company will give me change to develop my French skills, while consider my English as an asset to them.

    In Malaysia, I do know foreigners who don't speak Malays, Chinese or Tamil. They just need to survive in English in order to land a job. But, most of the time they found job before they arrived in Malaysia.

    Please don't take my post as an attack to France. I'm a foreigner living in France, and I'm simply jotting down my sentiment and my observation towards this country. I won't say Malaysia or USA is better than France, but at least they have given me more chance than in France.

  10. Anonymous8:02 AM

    Hi again,

    I don't take your post like an attack to France but I think that you are not really fair.

    When you write :
    At this stage I push myself to speak and read as much French as possible. But, I need people to give me a chance. I would never be able to speak like a French, or write as good as those who had received French education for all their life.
    ... it is like that for everybody, anywhere. It is still very difficult for me to write a nice letter in English or to write a perfect resume, a good report. It is not a French specificity for foreigners staying in France.

    About the work market in Malaysia, I agree with you, most of the foreigners working in Malaysia founded their job from their own country, mainly to work in an international company.

    But what I did was different, I tried to find a job in a local company, directly from Malaysia, that is different.

  11. Anonymous9:26 AM


    One thing which is very important to know is, the job market in Europe is very competitive and the candidates selection is highly demanding. To work in France, even in an international company, the candidate is expected to speak or write in decent French level, that's the first and foremost criteria. The exceptional case would be a highly specialised expert which has not yet been found in France, then he could be exempted from speaking French at work.
    There are a few of them in where I work now. But I do not compare myself to them.

    It's a "parcours combattant" to look for jobs in Europe, it's even tough for those who are French. So we should know where we actually stand.