Never at home


LIFE is punctuated with wonderful moments and times when you feel that you want to be somewhere else

doing something totally different.

And you will be totally happy again....sometime soon.

I feel exactly the same way as you Darling, the stuck part anyways. How long have I been wanting to leave France I don't know? But I have been saying to myself every night before I sleep I gotta get the hell out of France wherever that is. I teach English for money but as my real job is Graphic design I can't really stand it any more. I'm stuck in Toulouse, where are you?

Has Great Britain lost its Empire? It may have been retitled 'Commonwealth', but the Queen is still Head of State for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, to name just 3 important countries in world trade: also numerous Carribean/Atlantic/Pacific/Indian Ocean islands.

The French have the DOM/TOM: about 10 islands which together have a total land area probably no bigger than Northern Ireland, and probably produce less in world trade!

Not that I support colonialism...

this link leads to many options...

just starting the process myself...good luck to us all!

Ditto that. Very good point Brian.

Yes and yes Andrew BUT... Whatever the situation and all of what you say is absolutely right in practice, they still have absolutely no choice but to equivilate (if that is word?) everybody elses' qualifications to their own. That they choose to rate French qualifications higher is their decision alone but if ever challenged internationally it would become very messy. The EQF stuff is Council of Europe rather than EU and that means there are far more direct routes to complaint and action which must be well and truly overdue. As said, my old friend Pascal has no French qualifications beyond school yet is headhunted here even as he approaches retirement age (indeed here he would probably already be emeritus) in the USA. The difference there is that he will probably work on for as long as it suits him, in post, instead of being forced out as he would be here. The difference is he is French plus non-French qualifications and often the same goes for French who do BA or BSc degrees and as I know all too well, people with business degrees, especially MBAs, from the UK, USA and so on who also happen to be French.

I am not suggesting Emily go to war but that she persists and carries the agreements and regulations to stick under the noses of the many who deny those truths. The fault is ultimately governmental, the French system of doing things at that level and not telling anybody is very anti-democratic in fact and deserves a payola for their so doing for decades and therewith actually holding many things in this country back, where from my experience many people actually want change and progress in areas such as employment opportunity and qualification.

A couple of points: @Anna - if you want to teach based on a PGCE then there's no problem, I've always had mine accepted as the equivilent to a CAPES but you can't be a titulaire and so end up doing replacement work - but that could/should eventually lead to a long term job if you get the directeur on side. If it's teaching within the private sector, CNEAP etc, then there shouldn't be a problem, you'll be inspected like everyone else.

@Emily and Brian, as I've said above I've had no problem having my UK degree and PGCE recognised but only in teaching as that's all it's good for according to the French... We come face to face with another cultural obstable - a degree is only any good in France if it qualifies you to do a specific thing (unlike the UK where it shows you can think and learn and from then on you prove yourself in whatever field you choose) Mine is a classic example - a degree in French and Italian in France only opens the door to teaching or translation while in the UK I could have a bash at pretty much anything. Unfortunately that's France; a bac+5 is always a bac +5 but if it isn't in the right field, and often very specific field, it's worthless as far as the employer is concerned - often very difficult for anglo saxons to come to terms with and understand.

@ +

It is online. I have paper everything and would either have to spend some time searching my files then scanning back in or looking for you. EQF will have it somewhere. You can also search on their site. You'll get it.

Hallo Brian

Would you by any chance have the reference for/ a copy of the EU regulations that stipulate the agreements as to the validity of qualifications within the Bologna agreement (or whatever it was)? I would like to do some more teaching work again and would be really useful for me to have this to hand to wave under people's noses! And I'm sure useful for anyone on the network who might need to make this point.

He sounds like a real pain in the arse your husband - how dare he undermine you in that way. I would go and stay with your parents a while and give him a chance to miss you.

They are as valid as any French qualification and there are European regulations and agreements to that effect. Do you think the many French students who go to the UK to study, and believe when I say I have had plenty of them, come home with the equivalent of nothing? There were students who came to Cambridge because the French universities offered too few places. One of my contemporaries was so brilliant French universities tried to head hunt him back. He is now chair of a department in the USA but has so many invitations to teach back here and 'fellowships' that he has overtaken most of his contemporaries. He does NOT have any French qualifications at all.

The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is online at the European Commission's Education and Training site. It is a bit of a trudge through the many documents but you can find all you wish in French. Print some of them out and slap them on the desks at Pôle Emploi and so on and watch their smug faces go pale. Not for myself, but for a couple of people I have helped, when there have been attempts to shoo us away, I have simply told them that the matter would be taken to the Prefecture and for legal advice. See how quickly they copy your qualifications and write an attachment to go with each! Do not let them persist with this because they are wrong. The same goes for potential employers. When in Rome... Just be arrogant and present your three qualifications as the highest imaginable in the entire universe and even, if you feel saucy enough, ask them what they have?

Well put Patsie xx

I think part of the problem is the nature of the French job market, which is pretty stagnant in comparison with the UK and the States. Anyone who's got a job hangs on in their grimly, no matter how bored and miserable they are because of the immense difficulty of ever being able to get another one. (This really can be a terrible trap - think of that round of suicides at France Telecom a couple of years ago). I also suspect that French company culture might be quite difficult for English women to adapt to, judging from what I have picked up from business English teaching. Everything is very hierarchical, because France is France of course there are a lot of very complicated and totally inflexible systems and male chauvinism is more flagrant and more accepted than in the UK, so it's even harder to get recognized or promoted as a female and you have to behave like an utter bitch queen in stilettos to get anywhere. It could be a very frustrating environment for someone used to the (relatively) more liberal and flexible culture in Britain - so we would we want to work in this kind of context anyway?

I think that precisely because the French mindset is the opposite of entrepreneurial and because of the greater degree of social protection, the French tend to be be much more risk adverse than we, but in fact, this can work in favour of an English person starting their own business - precisely because we've got a different mindset and approach - how about a bit of customer service, for example, or flexibilty? Now that the AE status exists, even it it's a bit wobbly - and there is always the association option. It's just a case of finding your niche, I'm sure it is. You can do it!

Yes, I work near Montpellier for an American biocontrol lab in the admin department. I got it through a friend who told me someone was leaving. It was not what I had in mind as a job at all, but I needed the money to pay off my Masters student loan. That was back in 1995... Even then it wasn't easy to find something else more in line with my abilities outside Paris.

My ex-h wanted to be a surgeon because of the social position. He has a very high opinion of himself and of course, no one works as hard as him.

Yes, I'm fine now, away from his demoralising, destructive attitude. Since leaving him, I've published 2 children's books, written other children's educational material, write a blog, written a book and started a little internet business, and I still work full time.

By the way, surgeons are up there with the police at the number one spot for divorces. They are real buggers.

Hi Emily, I know exactly what you mean. My ex-husband is a surgeon and he expected me to be some sort of superwoman. I was working full time, took care of his paperwork, took phone calls for his new cabinet, worked on the new house we were building (tiling, plumbing, painting), had 100% care of the 2 boys then both at creche/school and housework, and he accused me of being a parasite who didn't bring in enough money and should do translations during the night.

You can understand why he is now my ex-husband and why I agreed to his request for divorce when I decided to withdraw all help and he decided he 'had no further use of me'.

Hi Emily

I have a friend called Jacques Regard who has written a book which might be of help you. It is called 50 exercises pour ne plus subir les autres.

He was on TV this morning being interviewed on the subjcet of Pourquoi juge-t-on inevitablement les autres? It was on Mon Bien Etre S2E69-Art de Vivre for 5/01/2012

He also wrote a book a while ago called Manipulation -Ne vous laissez pas Faire.

I am at present helping a young guy here who was married to a french girl who completely controlled him, physically and mentally abused him and totally destroyed his self esteem. There is a brilliant book I use written by Diana Cooper called Transform Your Life. A lot has to do with one's own childhood.

I was in a similar situation to you when my boys were young with an english husband who was brought up in Assam on a tea plantation with lots of servants. I couldnt leave physically because I had nowhere to go. He used to smash the house up if I didnt do as I was told. We were in Trinidad and my father was in USA with a horrible stepmother and wouldnt have understood anyway (he is of the old school - You make your bed and you lie in it) and my mother was dead; my only sister lived in Canada and never communicated with me anyway. I stuck it for 11 years before leaving. The final straw was having to live in Saudi where I was like a prisoner. Luckily they only gave me 3 month visas at a time so I just refused to go back one day. You will know when the day comes if and when it is time to go. My boys have all turned out to be well adjusted and not damaged by it all. Bon Courage

Bless you my dear no more need be said. You will survive its what women do. If you need conversations then email those who have offered you a listening ear.

Best wishes for the New Year and those to come.


I will be brief which is unusual for me.

1. Remember that because of your husband's age his mother is getting on and will not be able to wield her power stick for much longer then who will he speak to on a daily basis. I know of one young couple, he French she English who moved to the UK to get away from the mother in law.

2. Your husband is an educated man from a xenophobic country (Frenchmen have told me the French are xenophobic).

3. You have three children, a daughter and two younger ones (I don't know their gender sorry). Make damn sure you rear them, in the case of girls, not to accept this sort of behavior and in the case of boys not to dish it out.

4. Smile a lot at whatever he says and under your breath and in your mind say "whatever". Just remember he is older than you, stay healthy and strong and rear your children well, which you are obviously doing. You have an awful lot of strength and he is just picking fault because that's what he does. You could join a local charity group which has high impact and become a leading light, let him and his friends knock you then.

5. It seems to me that there is a policy whereby certain people keep others in place by dominating them do not let him null you and is it only you that he nulls. If he starts to null your offspring then this may be the time to find a way out, if you can tolerate it and find a way round it fine - but children ah that's another thing.

All of the above is only an opinion I am not in the place you are, I am not in the position of having to fight the French legal system and opinions are easy to express. I understand how you feel trapped and my comments seem lightweight I just want you to know that there is more than one way to skin a cat - if physical escape is not possible then use your very good brain to find a way to become his equal again, if not his superior.

You deserve the support you are getting on this network because you are obviously a decent human being - a trait not to be ashamed of it seems to me.