Why did you go to Canada?
I am French and I met my husband, a British-Canadian, in France. He looked for work for a long time, but with his law degree obtained in Canada, he did not fill the "boxes" in the French way. He therefore preferred to ask me to marry and take me to live the adventure in his country. I was already a journalist at the time and I held a position that I liked very much. Making the decision to leave the country was difficult, but I finally jumped.
Could you present your arrival in Canada ?
My expatriation in Toronto was simpler than I imagined since my husband had Canadian nationality. We were able to find housing quickly and I found a job on the radio at Radio-Canada, 4 months after my arrival.
What are the differences between France and Canada according to you?
The contact and the spirit is not the same as in France. We talk much less openly about his political opinions, for example in Canada, we do not like vehement discussions, unlike France. It is a very multicultural country, with a great openness. But in Toronto, it was a bit difficult to make close friends, even though Canadians are very nice.
Why did you choose to come back?
After 9 years and 2 children born there, my husband wanted to come back to Europe. I was finally well integrated in Canada, so this news was disorienting at first. But returning to France tempted me, my country, and especially my culture I missed for so long.
What is your experience of coming back to your home country ?
I had not anticipated my return to France since I had lived there all my life and that we went back there every year to see my family. The return was much harder than expected ... A lot of things had changed and nothing is really put in place to welcome the return of expatriates. The administration is in fact not ready to receive you, as if you were no longer French, as if you had no rights. A galley with social security, but also to school children in France, and especially for housing, which is the pivot of everything. A real shock of the return.
That's what inspired you to do your Exexpat podcast?
It was my difficult return that gave me this idea. When I returned, I was warmly welcomed by people. They were waiting for me to put my nine years in Canada and I start my life in France as if nothing had happened, when the situation was different. I was not really supported and I felt like I did not really understand. 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 podcast and a way to help French expats around the world.
So we launched www.exexpat-lepodcast.com. 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 for expats who come back, who have returned or even those who have just become expat. When we plan to leave, we must know how to come back serenely one day. And it's not an easy task!
What is the result of this adventure in the podcast?
Make more podcasts on a lot of different topics. There are already many articles that talk about the return but listening to people talking about it is always more poignant and touching. This is a project I am very proud of with my team. We are currently looking for sponsors to continue and go further in this beautiful project!