What am I really? Australian or French?

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I recently went on holidays to Australia and it was not always as I expected. In my monthly guest post for My French Life, the global community of French and francophiles connecting like-minded people in English & French, I ponder on where I really belong.

I lobbied alongside fellow expats from the Southern Cross Group a few years ago to have the Australian constitution changed so that Australian citizens living overseas could have dual nationality.

We were successful so I applied for French nationality. Now I can vote in French elections and I have a French ID. I can’t vote in Australia, though, because I have been ‘disenfranchised’ as I no longer reside in Australia.

When I travel to Australia, I use my Australian passport and when I return to France, I use my French passport. It’s like slipping into another skin. Read more

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11 thoughts on “What am I really? Australian or French?”

  1. An interesting blog Rosemary. My wife and I are Australians living in the UK since 1978 and holidaying in Australia every 2 or 3 years.Although we too have dual nationality, we didn’t apply for a British passport until only after the time when we’d have otherwise lost our Australian passports. Do we feel more British than Australian? Yes and no. Our entire life is here and Australia and Australians are far, far away (although much closer now that we don’t rely on aerogrammes and trunk calls to communicate ). Could we ever give up our Aussie passports? No, never, even at the cost of our British ones. The roots are very deep and seemingly not subject to blindingly straight forward rationality.
    Doesn’t it say everything that your wonderful blog is called “AUSSIE in France”, even after all this time?

    1. Hello Barry, and thank you for reading my blog. Yes, I remember those aerogrammes and horribly expensive trunk calls! And you’re perfectly right – it didn’t take me long to find a name for my blog or a pseudonym: Fraussie!

  2. We have dual citizenship of Australia and Britain. Mostly it’s a matter of convenience, not tribalism. My mother-in-law, who left England for Australia in her 30s, says she feels Australian. She was amazed I didn’t feel British after a decade of living in the UK, but equally, I was amazed that she would identify as Australian, as for me she is very English. I always identify as Australian, but have occasional flashes of feeling European. I’ll never be French, and I don’t think anyone who’s partner isn’t French has much chance, but to be honest, the more I think about issues of nationality (and the related topic of integration) the less I know what they mean. What is ‘being Australian’? The truth is it is whatever you want it to be on the day. The best definition of ‘integrated’ I have ever heard is ‘when the locals don’t notice your background is different to theirs’. Very few people achieve that.

  3. First time commenter here. I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for several weeks now and only very recently realised we graduated from the same translation school. Many years ago, I was the treasurer of AAEESIT for a year, so your name was familiar. I had no idea you were Australian though, back then. 🙂
    Anyway, I felt compelled to comment on this post, so here I am. I have dual citizenship from birth (French mother, German father) and have always said that I feel more French when in Germany and more German when in France. In some way, when you are so close to two cultures, I think it’s normal to not fit in completely with either of them…

      1. I just read your post on ESIT. Sounds pretty accurate to me. 🙂 I did my first three years (la licence) at Paris IV (Sorbonne) and actually had most classes inside the Grand Palais, where sometimes plaster would fall off the ceilings and no classroom had a window, they were like little boxes with cardboard walls. But I had a few classes at the Sorbonne itself and got to sit exams in the beautiful amphitheatres there… that made up for the toilets.
        As for the nationality – my mother got the German nationality in addition to her French one when she married my father. Back in the 1960s, it was possible to “acquire” a nationality with marriage and still keep your original one. She has been living in Munich for over 50 years now, often going to France in the summer and for Christmas. She feels much more German than French and is very critical of France and the French, but for the Germans, and also somewhere at the bottom of her heart and soul, she will always be French. 🙂

        1. Goodness, imagine having classes in little boxes in the Grand Palais.
          Dual nationality was also practically automatic for Americans until the 70s. How many do you have?

  4. I actually feel very lucky. I do feel Australian to the bone and won’t ever be able to give up my passport / nationality. I love living in France and whilst my (American) husband is about to start the process for French nationality, I don’t have the want in me for now. The difficult decision for me comes in the years ahead with my children. Born here in France, but to American and Australian parents, they have the right to those two nationalities at the moment. In the future, due to birth on French soil plus the accumulation of time, they’ll be able to apply for French nationality……but that means they’ll have to give up one. Deep down, the most sought after ones are the ones that come with a green card, or a right to work in Europe, and that means the Australian one may have to go. I’ll be sad if it comes to that as I don’t want them to not be Australian, but ultimately it will be their decision. Lots of decisions ahead of us.

    1. I didn’t know you could only have dual and not triple nationality. You certainly don’t know what lies ahead. Leonardo said he would never live in Australia, but Black Cat did. So now, it’s Leonardo who’s living there! However, Black Cat is planning to live in the US and it will be her Australian passport, and not her French passport, which will give her a better chance as the Australians have a bigger quota for the US.

  5. Australian or French … there’s a saying ÿou can take the [girl] out of australia, but you cannot … ‘” well you know the rest …

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