At school in Nice but growing up with a Kiwi outlook

Julie BelleudiJulie Belleudi, from Wellington, New Zealand, came to Nice in 2002 with her French husband Guy whom she’d met in London. They have three children (pictured) – Chloe, nearly 9, Estelle, 7 and William, who’s 5 this month. I spoke to her down the line to Wellington where she was spending her summer break with the children.

“We looked at the local public primary school which was very big, too big, we thought, but luckily there was a Catholic school close by, much smaller, easy to get to, and that’s where all three Belleudis now are. Of course, I’ve been making comparisons with my own primary school days back in New Zealand. It was much more relaxed than here, less demanding. My children’s school expects them to work hard and show that they’re really learning although just last year they stopped giving marks. I’d say that we were made welcome when we arrived – we as parents, and then each of the children. One thing I notice, though, is that they don’t take an especially personal approach to their pupils. There’s a more or less standard line for everything. For example, they decided Estelle had a language problem – with pronunciation and vocabulary – and she was sent off to a speech therapist. Actually, I think it was just that growing up bilingual she got a
bit confused at times. Another thing is how early they teach kids to do proper handwriting. Back home, friends tell me their children go on using big block letters for years. I think we’ve been very lucky in one way. The school isn’t like those places I’ve heard of which are very academic. They do a lot of music – with an excellent teacher – and they get art and sport each twice a week. If you put it to me, I’d say they’re happy in school, and I think they’re getting a good education. But I’d like them to grow up with a Kiwi outlook and that’s my job.”