The single most valuable resources available to American expatriates living in France are the numerous associations whose mission it is to provide support, helpful advice, and a sense of community to both those trying to adjust to their new life abroad and to veteran expatriates who have decided to make France their permanent home. We got the chance to talk with a representative of one such group, Americans in Alsace. Here’s what Robyn Powell, President of the organization, had to say about their group:
Who belongs to your support group?
AIA is a not-for-profit association headquartered in Strasbourg with over 400 members. Membership in AIA is open to anyone with an American or Canadian passport or Green Card.
What is your mission?
Americans in Alsace functions as a support system by helping individuals and families identify with and integrate into the culture of eastern France. AIA promotes interest and awareness of local lifestyle through various association activities. We help members to develop new friendships and feel connected to the community, fostering a sense of familiarity in new surroundings. We cooperate with other English and French speaking associations, which, in turn, expand our local network.
To help our members feel at home, we also celebrate North American holidays such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, and organize social gatherings including an annual family cook-out, monthly coffee mornings, weekly preschool children play groups and monthly book club meetings. Other activities are planned each month by the children’s and adult committees.
Tell us about your publications.
Americans in Alsace provides a forum for exchanging information via Monthly Newsletters and an internal email network. Many members of AIA volunteered and heavily contributed to the newly updated book Window To Strasbourg – A Practical Guide to Living in Alsace.