Why did you go to Canada?
I am French and I met my husband, a British-Canadian, in France. He had long sought work, but with his law degree in Canada,he did not fill the French boxes. So he preferred to propose to me and take me on an adventure in his country. I was already a journalist at the time and I was in a position that I liked very much. Making the decision to move there was quite difficult but I finally took the plunge.
Could you sum up your arrival there?
My expatriation to Toronto was simpler than I imagined since my husband had Canadian citizenship. We were able to find accommodation quickly and I found a job on the radio at Radio-Canada, 4 months after my arrival.
What do you think are the differences between France and Canada?
Contact and spirit is not the same as in France. We talk much less openly about our political views, for example in Canada, we don’t like vehement discussions, unlike in France. It is a very multicultural country, with a great open mind. But in Toronto, it was a little 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 come back to Europe. I had finally integrated well into Canada, so this news initially disoriented me. But coming back to France tempted me well, my country, and especially my culture had been missing for so long.
How did you experience it?
I had not anticipated my return to France since I had lived there all my life and we returned every year to see my family. The return was much harder than expected… A lot had changed and nothing is actually set up to accommodate the return of expats. The administration is not actually ready to receive you, as if you were no longer French, as if you no longer had rights. A hassle with social security, but also to send children to school in France, and especially for housing, which is the linchpin of everything. A real shock for the return.
Is that what inspired you to do your Exexpat podcast?
It was my difficult comeback that gave me this idea. When I came back, I was greeted in a rather lukewarm way by people. They expected me to set aside my 9 years in Canada and start my life in France as if nothing had happened, when the situation was different. I wasn’t really supported and I felt like I wasn’t really understood. So I found on Facebook groups of “ex-expats” who help each other and share their experiences. It helped me a lot and pushed me to act! I then met an American living in France and podcast producer, Lory Martinez. She immediately saw that the subject of the return was a good niche for podcasts and a way to help French expats all over the world.
So we launched the podcast of the back impatriates. The idea is to talk about the return, the experience that follows. This podcast (the first season of 12 episodes has just ended and season 2 starts on October 22nd) is aimed at returning expats, who have returned or even those who have just become an expat. When you’re planning to leave, you have to know how to come back serenely one day. And it’s no small feat!
What’s next for this podcast adventure?
Do more podcasts on lots of different topics. There are already many articles about returning, but listening to people talk about it is always more poignant and touching. This is a project that I am very proud of with my team. We are currently looking for sponsors to continue and go further in this beautiful project!