Anaëlle, EVS volunteer at Zavod Voluntariat, shares how she sees her life in Slovenia being a french woman.
When Slovenes think of France or French people, they think of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, wine, cheese, the Champs Élysées, but also arrogant, proud and chic people. But how does about a French woman in Slovenia, living in Ljubljana for a year?
As you know, the French are definitely one of the weakest European country in terms of the level of English. If you have previously traveled in France you can easily confirm it. If you don’t speak French, nobody will take the time to show you the way when you’re lost. So I had the certainty that going to Slovenia would be difficult because I didn’t speak Slovenian.
Well, no! The Slovenes speak English very well. Whether in a shop, on the street or in a restaurant Slovenians won’t be offended if you don’t speak their language and will be happy to answer you casually in English!
Now let’s talk about prices in Slovenian cafes. To my big surprise I didn’t sweat with stress at the time of paying the bill as sometimes you do in some French cities… because the prices are comparatively low for us. Coffee for 1€ and the one big beer for 2,50€ makes you want to meet several times a week with friends in a cafe without spending excessive amounts. Slovenes seem therefore prone to spent lot of their free time in the terrace with friends as soon as the temperature exceeds 13-14 °, which creates a warm atmosphere in the city center of Ljubljana.
On the other hand, in Slovenia, the rates of aggression and delinquency remain very low, which greatly facilitates everyday life. Example: the chairs and tables of the terraces remain outside at night, nobody seems stressed at the idea of being assaulted at the cash machine or to get their smartphone out of the pocket, no festive gathering turns into an unpredicted riot, almost no policeman is watching the center, young girls like me are not particularly stressed when they walk alone at 4 am, etc. All these things makes daily life much simpler and much more enjoyable than in France.
Also, if you don’t have a tram or metro in Ljubljana, there is a bike path! So I obviously bought a bike. The line of the bike paths of Ljubljana is reflective and intelligent as they are on the sidewalk. The cyclists are not in contact with the cars but with the pedestrians, who have to be careful and walk next to the bike paths. Cycling is therefore ideal to circulate in Ljubljana!
One of the things that most surprised me is that the Slovenes are concerned about waste recycling and are ultra-efficient with it. The garbage cans are ubiquitous in the city and there is not just a rubbish bin for everything and anything but 5 garbage bins with different colors: for plastic, glass, paper, organic waste and others. The sorting is done as naturally both at home and at work. Thanks to that, we can’t lie, but Ljubljana is super clean and it’s very nice!
After all these praises on Slovenia there are still many things you can only find in France! Like its renowned cuisine throughout the world for its quality and diversity. It would be too difficult to tell you what is my favorite Drench dish, it’s a long list. But what I miss the most in Slovenia is the lack of artisanal bakery that you find everywhere in France. A simple pleasure for me used to be going past a bakery, smell the hot bread that comes out of the stove and stop there to buy a sweet “friandise”!
I like living in Slovenia, a country only 1,300 km from France. It has been a very good experience that taught me a lot about life, about people, about the world in general. Living abroad is noteasy, but it is a very rewarding experience.