Expat Podcasts by Marjorie Murphy

Why did you move to Canada?

I’m French and I met my husband, a British-Canadian, in France. He had been looking for work for a long time, but with his law degree from Canada, he didn’t fit into the French “boxes”. So he preferred to propose to me and take me on an adventure to his country. I was already a journalist at the time, in a job I really enjoyed. Making the decision to move there was quite difficult, but I finally took the plunge.


Could you tell us a little about your arrival there?

My expatriation to Toronto was easier than I imagined, as my husband had Canadian nationality. We were able to find a place to live quickly, and I found a job with Radio-Canada 4 months after my arrival.

What do you think are the differences between France and Canada?

The contact and spirit is not the same as in France. In Canada, for example, we don’t talk as openly about our political opinions, and we don’t like vehement discussions as we do in France. It’s a very multicultural, open-minded country. But in Toronto, it’s been a bit difficult to make close friends, even though Canadians are very nice.

Why did you come back?

After 9 years and 2 children born there, my husband wanted to return to Europe. I’d finally settled into life in Canada, so this news was a bit of a shock at first. But coming back to France was tempting, because I had missed my country and, above all, my culture for so long.

What was it like for you?

I hadn’t anticipated my return to France, since I’d lived there all my life and we went back every year to see my family. The return was much harder than expected… A lot had changed and nothing was really in place to welcome expatriates back. The administration is in fact not ready to receive you, as if you were no longer French, as if you no longer had any rights. A nightmare with social security, but also to send children to school in France, and above all to find accommodation, which is the linchpin of everything. A real return shock.

Is this what inspired you to make your podcast Exexpat?

It was my difficult return that gave me the idea. When I returned, I was met with a lukewarm reception. They expected me to put aside my 9 years in Canada and start my life again in France as if nothing had happened, even though the situation was different. I wasn’t really supported and I had the impression that I wasn’t really understood. So on Facebook I found groups of “ex-expats” who help each other and share their experiences. It helped me a lot and pushed me to act! Then I met an American living in France and podcast producer, Lory Martinez. She immediately saw that the subject of return was a good niche for podcasts and a way of helping French expats all over the world.

So we’ve launched the Returning Impatriates podcast. The idea is to talk about the return, the experience that follows. This podcast (the 1st season of 12 episodes has just ended and season 2 starts on October 22) is aimed at expats who are returning, who have returned or even those who have just become expats. When you’re planning to leave, you need to know how to come back one day with peace of mind. And that’s no mean feat!

What’s next for the podcast?

Make more podcasts on lots of different subjects. There are already many articles about the return, but hearing people talk about it is always more poignant and touching. It’s a project my team and I are very proud of. We’re currently looking for sponsors to enable us to continue and take this great project even further!

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