A new initiative has been started for the number of expats who work in rural France, a meet up group called Jelly.
Created by expat entrepreneur Annette Morris, Jelly is geared towards creating a means for expats in rural France, often an area that creates isolation, to meet other expats and enjoy social activities.
Many expats who travel to France live in rural areas and work in a self-employed manner doing various roles such as running English-language French websites. While this type of work can often be very advantageous money-wise, it does not offer much in the way of human interaction and loneliness and isolation can become a concern, especially as some expats previously worked in bustling offices with many other people.
In a bid to remedy this Miss Morris is now leading the Jelly scheme in Languedoc. Originally started in New York by two lonely expats, the initiative has since spread to other parts of the world where expats are known to need help connecting. The actual events consist of expats meeting up, socialising, and even working together.
Miss Morris said: “"For a Jelly participant, the ideal question is not ‘What do you do?’ but ‘What are you working on?'. It puts a whole new slant on someone’s activity and focus. You go there to work, check emails, sketch a new design; in the course of your own activity you may chat, make friends over a coffee, learn a new skill, or just sit and think. It’s totally up to you. It’s really for anyone that wants a change of scene, and a desire to break away from the home office and be in a shared working space.”
She is also keen to stress that variety will be on the menu, the first session is planned for a coffee shop, but she stresses that the second one will be different, even if it’s at the same venue: “Each event, in any location, develops its own character and atmosphere. Two Jellys held at the same venue will almost certainly have a different vibe. All participants are advised to bring along is whatever they are working on, be it a laptop, a phone or even a sketchbook – and an open state of mind.”