The shock of returning to France: how to experience it better?

Every year, 100,000 to 200,000 expatriates return to France after an experience abroad, according to the website Return to France. Whether this return is planned, rushed or unwanted, it can create a shock. After years of expatriation, returning to your country is not always as easy as you think.

Reverse culture shock

Many expats think that returning to France is easy, like returning home. However, after years of expatriation, you have evolved differently than if you had stayed in France, and relocation can be brutal (we reassure you, some people still cope very well with it). Even if you were in a French-speaking country, you quickly move from one environment to another, from one culture to another, from one language to another… Some even speak of a reverse culture shock.

On returning, we can perceive a gap with those around us, once the intense reunion has passed, but we can also feel a feeling of emptiness, of lack. All of this can take a toll on morale and make this stage difficult, or even lead to depression or even depression. To avoid getting to this point, here are some tips and ideas.

Our advice to better experience this return

  • Prepare : If possible, it is advisable to prepare as much as possible for your return. Indeed, many spend time preparing their expatriate departure in all its details, but few think that it is necessary to anticipate the return home, and yet… Concerning the administrative procedures to be done at that time, you can find them on Service Public. Regarding work, you have all our advice here to professionally enhance your expatriation. But above all, prepare yourself psychologically: talk to the loved ones you are going to see again, listen to podcasts on the subject such as (Return to France Or Ex Expatschedule small projects so as not to immediately fall back into routine, also prepare your children, who may have never known France, by showing them photos, explaining to them what they are going to do there…
  • Take his time : Once back, we would like everything to work out straight away, accommodation, work, friends… But unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. Take the time to land, to turn the page, to digest the transition between the two countries.
  • Talk about : If your morale is down since your return, don’t hesitate to talk about it to those around you. If you’re afraid that your loved ones will get offended thinking that you’re not happy to see them again, or that they simply don’t understand what you’re going through, talk to former expatriates. There are several support groups, like the Facebook group Ex Expats in Paris or The New Impatriates.
  • Be accompanied : returning to France can cause a little slack or temporary depression, but it can also turn into real depression. If you feel the need, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor and seek support from a psychologist.
  • And why not leave again? : sometimes acclimatizing to France again is just too difficult. You want to leave again, but you consider it a failure not to have succeeded in your resettlement. There’s no harm in extending the expatriate adventure! If you feel like this is the project for you, go for it!

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