Page 0041

A new startStarting over in a new country can be daunting especially with

children but for two families life is better than ever and they have

never looked back !

WORDS: HELEN HOLBROOK I PHOTO: SARAH HUDSON-VERNON

T

EN YEARS AGO, SHARON AND JAMES SCOTT HAD

busy lives in London. Both with demanding jobs -

James investment banking in the city, Sharon dealing with the pressures

of public relations.

"We wanted a family and a different way of life,"

Sharon explains. "We could have carried on, spent our lives

commuting and juggling childcare. It wasn't for us!"

Ever practical, they bought a campervan and toured

Europe for six months to check out alternatives. "We kept

coming back to France, we'd both holidayed here and, being

country-bred, it just felt 'right'. "

Four years later, they'd married, had their first child,

Isabella, and Sharon was heavily pregnant with their son.

"James found a house here while we settled and I had a

great first experience of French healthcare at the wonderful

little hospital where Sebastian was born."

Their lives in France are now well established. James

works as a statistical analyst at home while Sharon is in media marketing.

"We bought land and built our own eco-home, we live

in a lovely village and our children are doing really well at

school where they've lots of friends. They're bilingual and

reading in both languages by the ages of six and eight. We

hope they'll go right through the French education system

to tertiary level."

Enrolling the children into school was simple - a visit to

the local Mairie and everything was arranged. "We're able

to be really involved with all their activities. Perhaps best

of all is the wonderful safe environment here. I'm saddened

by friends' concerns about safety back in the UK - we don't

have to lock the door while we're outside in the garden!"

Assimilation into their local community happened quickly.

"We took French lessons to build on what we learned at

school, we considered it important and, when we come to

getting our French citizenship we'll need to demonstrate our

language skills."

Vanessa and Tony Brown have had first hand experience

of tertiary education here. They moved to France when their

children were 9 and 14 years old. Vanessa says they too

were looking for more for their family. "Tony's brother already

lived happily in France and we decided to take a year,

bring the boys over and give them the experience of living

in another culture."

First step was to enrol the boys in local schools."They'd

never learned French but by the end of the year Conor was

almost bilingual and Richard's language skills were improving rapidly

thanks partly to his girlfriend! Tony was working,

we bought a property and never looked back."

Vanessa says she first learned French by volunteering at

the nearby Red Cross. She then found herself a role running

the local post office for two villages and the rest, she says,

is history.

"Both our boys got their baccalaureate with 'mentions',

Richard has a Business Management degree and is teaching

in Denmark, while Conor is studying electrical engineering.

The opportunities the boys have here, compared to the Isle

of Wight where we lived, bear no comparison. Education and

lifestyle are excellent and tertiary education free."

Both couples are emphatic there's no moving back as

France is now home!

LEGGETT IMMOBILIER - LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST 41

LEGGETT MAGAZINE INTEGRATION

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