Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Law

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Law

Article excerpt

Jody Beveridge is a family law barrister in Middlesbrough currently working with the European Parliament in Brussels. This is her personal account of life over there...

WHEN the opportunity came up to move my family across the Channel and work in Brussels for four months I have to admit I wasn't over the moon.

After all, what is there in Belgium?

The European Parliament, chips with mayonnaise and Tintin.

At least that's what I thought, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Brussels is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited.

The presence of the EU institutions means that people come to work here from all over Europe. A different language is spoken round every corner, and the shops are crammed with all sorts of European specialities.

There's loads to see and even more to do for adults and children alike.

Both French and Flemish (Dutch) are spoken in Belgium, and we decided to throw the kids in at the deep end by putting them into a French speaking school. It was a risk, but they have risen to the challenge brilliantly.

After two months Charlie, aged 10, Saskia, eight, and Lucy, seven, have all learned simple French phrases, and are very keen to learn more. Even Cameron, our two-year-old, now loves his French nursery and says "merci" and "au revoir".

We live in a pretty little town just 10 kilometres from the centre of Brussels called Tervuren. There are lots of other Brits here, and the ex-pat community is very well established.

Apart from the really short-sighted (straight from Benidorm) who see no reason to learn another language "because everybody speaks English", most take up at least one language course.

My weekly Dutch class with Angelique is the highlight of my week, where the native languages of my classmates include German, Swahili and Persian!

It's been a great way to make new friends as well as practise some very unusual vowel sounds. …

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