Let’s talk about being back in France


June 30 I was back in France after a year in Canada. I just spent 15 days in US, I was tanned, super excited to see my family and friends again. The first 15 days were awesome, we jumped on each other arms all day. We had drinks, it was summer so we also had barbecues. Piece by piece you are back in your “old” life without ever being the same.

And troubles are coming. Life is going on, you start missing to be oversea. And you have to confront a country passionate about work papers.

I went crazy after my come back, may my experience helps other people.

Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Blvd. June 2015.

Sick insurrance: I  read everywhere to do not stop it since it seems so hard to have it back. You are not going to use it anyway so you are no doing something bad to anyone.

Unemployment service: trend topic of my summer 2015. I left France July 1st after 3 years in the same company, I quitted my job to follow my dream. I didn’t apply for umemployment program before I moved. I was actually really proud in front of French people I met who get money from French governement to say I wasn’t using French money oversea.  Until now everything is okay.

Finally when I came back: disillusion, I was more than 12 months after I quit, so I was after the legal period (12 months) to apply and have umemployment benefits, just to time to find a new job. I was 12 months and 2 week. Someone told me in particular cases you can have a derogation. I didn’t want to have it during 2 years; no no just few months to find a new job and start over, I helped other ones too, now it’s my time. This system is all about that: work and help people in needs so when  you will be in needs they will help you too right ?

Grand Canyon road
In our way to Grand Canyon. June 2015.

Appointment after appointment the team told me they rejected my request: I’m not going to have a derogation, my only option is to apply for an other benefits: the one for expat being back in France. Finally this benefit is not just for expat but also for people going  out from jail and refugees. Ok we are all the same …

Pôle Emploi gave it to you and recommend you to contact an other organization: CAF to apply to an other benefits. The one for people in real needs. I was like: Ok I’m not that bad right ? But for them it’s the same ok ..

Imagine my face, back in France since 6 weeks, a lot of work papers, rejection and overall people in the administration who remind you all the time that you choose to move oversea and you should stay there.  Bad mood and no motivation to find a new job are you new friends. Summer is also a bad period to get a job.

Edit from 25/02: someone with the same visa as me told me that Pôle Emploi from her place helped her to have uemployment benefits by showing she was working oversea blabla. So yes do not hesitate to ask, you may have someone more efficient than I did.

Vue des Twin Peaks. San Francisco Juin 2015.
View from Twin Peaks. San Francisco June 2015.

As I don’t wish to anyone to experiment what I did I give you some rules for the perfect come back.

  • Even if you quit apple for umemployment benefits, quit early enough to have time for the first apointment. If you don’t have time ask a counsellor to recommend you the best option.
  • Let them know you moved oversea in your next actualisation. That way they will suspend your rights and you can active it again when you will come back.
  • If you are moving somewhere in Europe you can have French umemployment benefits during 3 months, time for you to find a new job.
  • Don’t forget to ask your foreign job for a job letter which explain you work for them during that time. If you are not eligible for uemployment benefits you may be eligible for the other help if you worked more than 182 days oversea. It’s around 300€. Ok it’s not enough to live but it’s still helpful if you don’t have anything. With that you can have the RSA, based on your 3 last months incomes.
  • Sick insurance get back really easly.
  • Do not forget to take a personal sick insurance before you got a job (companies have to provide you one since January 1st 2016. It’s something we easily forget .. (thanks my friends for reminding me)P
  • After 2 months and half job free I was back at work, 2 no permanents jobs during 4 months and finally I got a permanent position as a Communication Manager what I totally like !)

From a legal view I think I told you everything, feel free to ask questions if you had one 😉

High Park Toronto.
High Park Toronto.

Concerning simply being back, if you had some issues like I had you could easily feel tired by being back home, tell yourself that finally it was better where you used to be: it’s totally normal! It’s morally difficult to realize it’s so hard to simply be back in your own country, we don’t expect that much papers work, we don’t fell like welcome in your own country. Sometimes you spent a year in an country where papers work were so much easier and faster. So everything is going up and down and you ask yourself: why is it working so good oversea and not in my own country ?  Thousands questions and the intention to change the all country comes in your mind ! I told you the come back could be exhaustive  ;).

Moving oversea is an huge project, invasive , very demanding in energy and concentration, sometimes it will ask for sacrifices (not buying clothes which will not fit in your lugages anyway ahah), that could even become an obsession for some people. Excitation from the begining could change our reality in something bad, our scale value are broken and a simply email from the embassy can make us jump everywhere. To simplify moving oversea is an amazing emotional lift between excitation from somewhere unknown and fear to jump on a plane to a place never visited before. Sadness too, because we would love to bring all our friends in our lugages (but it’s already full of clothes remmber ;). Because we would love to have someone to share this adventure, to feel the same way. Who will be there later to remember with you this year in a new country.

I started organizing my trip in June 2013, I had my WHV March 02, 2014, I left July 1st, 2014 and I was back June 30, 2015. 2 years of my life. More than that the time I needed to mourn the things used to be. I guess I’m still processing.

It takes a long time to get ready to move oversea, it takes an huge place in your life and it leaves an big hole after your come back home.

Toronto Skyline.
Toronto Skyline.

My advices for the come back :

  • Having friends who already lived it, who will understand your feeling and who never feel like you don’t want to be with them anymore. Be sure about your friends, you will need support.
  • Take your time to determinate what you really want to do, don’t run on everything to keep yourself busy, you need to be calm for a while, take your time to have your benchmarks back, to find yourself.
  • Review what your learn during the past year, professionnaly and personnaly. You will be more efficient during an interview if you know what you have to offer, and more ready to start your new life here ;).
  • After a break start working on new projects, challenges, goals, join an associaion, start a training, take this chance to change your life !
  • And be positive, yes the year is over but life isn’t, we always are where we are supposed to be, if we are here and not somewhere else it’s because something good is supposed to come here.

Since few months we  heard a lot about expatriates not being helped in the paper works when they come back, let’s say I’m not really in this position since I just left France during a year so things didn’t change that much, but I have the example of one of my friend Marjo who lived 10 years in Toronto and came back 2 weeks after I did (she is also a blogger: France Canada et vice versa). Can you imagine how hard is it to get updated in all the changes ? Governement starts understanding people need support to feel better being back in their own country.

You probably have someone around you who left and came back, so yes he is happy to see you all but he also let a piece of himself there and a part of his friends too. Finally this year change everything and take a big place in your life. Personnaly Canada will always have a piece of my heart and Toronto will always be my second city.

Ex WHV or expatriate do you have some advices ?

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