My French Até: Thoughts from a Filipina Parisienne
By Lily C. Fen, Switzerland April Bitar is the Filipina Parisienne behind My French Até, an online platform that covers lifestyle, work and study abroad, and cross-cultural communication. Her years working in the field of marketing and immigration in Singapore and France inform how she serves Filipinos through her YouTube channel. Below, I get to know the My French Até creator better. Read on! What inspired you to establish My French Até? I was fascinated by the idea of traveling. My dad was a chief engineer in an international cargo ship and would come home. Some years later, I met a French man who turned out to be my prince charming. We tied the knot and soon moved to France. That's when my new journey began. Looking back, an accessible resource through which I could get realistic ideas about what life abroad would be like would have been great to have. Later, when I had graduated from St. Scholastica’s College in Manila, I took the chance and applied for work in Singapore. It was not an easy process, but I eventually landed a job and gained an employment permit. I was twenty-two years old and for the first time was living independently. I loved the freedom, but that came with its own challenges. I had to deal with culture shock and manage adult tasks like paying bills and handling taxes, among others. Some years later, I met a French man who turned out to be my prince charming. We tied the knot and soon moved to France. That's when my new journey began. Looking back, an accessible resource through which I could get realistic ideas about what life abroad would be like would have been great to have. What are your goals for the channel? I wanted to create a platform dedicated to Filipinos planning to work overseas. My vision for My French Até is to enhance the Filipino image in Europe—especially in France. Promoting French tourism and teaching fellow Filipinos more about France is also a goal—that there is more to the country than just Paris or the Eiffel Tower. France is a nation with a beautiful language and its own distinct culture. My French Até is also where I can connect with subscribers who wish to discuss the expatriate experience. Somewhere in there are stories of success that can inspire others who are planning to migrate for love or work. What can people expect next? France is the top tourist destination in the world, but not an easy one for Filipinos to enter due to the country's strict visa requirements. My French Até aims to help in that regard. Subscribers can expect to see more local tips about Paris and the realistic side of the city, beyond what they see in the movies. Where can RAW readers see My French Até? My French Até can be viewed on YouTube and now has 3,000 subscribers—and the number is growing. You can also find My French Até on Instagram and Twitter—that’s where I post useful tidbits, such as notes on lifestyle and French immigration updates. RAW wishes My French Até all the success!