Belinda is an Australian who has been living as an expat for the past 6 years. She’s 33, married and has champaign taste on a beer budget.
Where are you living at the moment?
I live in La Bastide, Bordeaux.
How long have you lived in the region?
I have lived in Bordeaux for three years but spent 6 months in Bayonne before moving here. I spent 3 years in Italy before moving to France.
Why did you move to France and why did you choose Bordeaux?
I have been living in Europe for over 6 years because my husband is a professional rugby player. We have been fortunate to move around as he has played for various teams. He is now into his third season with UBB.
What do you wish you knew before moving here?
I wish I knew how to speak French. Having lived in Italy and learnt Italian, it helped to learn French but it can be very daunting when you first arrive and can’t communicate even the simple things.
Did you find it easy finding accommodation when you first moved here?
We had a friend recommend La Bastide to us and so organized to look at three apartments. We managed to lease one within a couple of days.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Primary Teacher at the Bordeaux International School. We focus on teaching a bilingual curriculum and I love being in the classroom and building relationships with families in the community.
Was it easy finding work?
I sent my CV to BIS hoping and willing to do whatever was available. I was very fortunate that they actually had a position open and so interviewed for the job and was successful. I have managed to teach English in every place that I have been as the Europeans really value learning from someone who is “mother tongue”.
Has it been easy meeting people?
I am very fortunate to have met some wonderful people through my husband’s rugby team and also through my work. I feel as though I have made life-long friends.
Did you already know French?
No. I couldn’t even count to 20! I studied in Bayonne and also when I arrived in Bordeaux as I think it is important to assimilate as much as possible. My job has me speaking English all day but I try to take risks with my French and am proud of the level I have achieved, although I’m certainly not fluent.
How do you find the cost of living/lifestyle in Bordeaux?
Coming from Sydney we find Bordeaux very affordable. I love how accessible the city is and feel that the French definitely have their priorities right.
What’s the best thing to do in Bordeaux on a summer’s day?
Take a bottle of wine across to the river and have a picnic with friends. We also love riding our bikes across to the markets on Sunday and eating the freshly shucked oysters.
What’s the best thing to do in Bordeaux on a rainy day?
Go to the cinema.
What are the positives of living here?
What are the negatives of living here?
Being so far away from family and friends.
Are you involved with any groups / associations / teams, etc?
No. I work full-time and spend my free time exercising, socializing and relaxing.