Living in a foreign country means that everyday tasks, from going to the bank to buying a bunch of bananas at the supermarket, can be a cultural minefield. (I’m still smarting for being berated by a Monoprix cashier for not having exact change a few days ago.) Although it can be an exhilarating adventure, it’s easy to feel isolated and stressed when adjusting to life in another culture.
Paris is a beautiful, vibrant city, but like any other major city, it’s hectic and stressful, and life as a foreigner can magnify problems. And it can be hard to talk to people ‘back home’, who are normally part of your support group, who don’t realize that Paris is not always croissants, chocolates, and walks along the Seine.
So it’s nice to know that there is a resource here to help. I was recently a speaker at an event to benefit SOS Helpline, an English-speaking team of listeners available every day of the year trained to talk to those in need or to refer people to specialists. It’s free and anonymous.
They’re available every day of the year, from 3pm to 11pm at 01 46 21 46 46 – and the call is free. The service is confidential and non-judgmental, and the listeners are trained to deal with a variety of issues, from loneliness, depression, substance abuse, to financial problems and bereavement. You can also contact SOS Helpline via Skype.
A personal experience with the SOS Helpline: When You Need Someone to Talk To