Portrait of an Inspiring Expat

Sarah, French Expat Living in Edinburgh

French Kilt blogger, manager at The Baxter and expat living in Edinburgh.

Photo credit: Angus Behm

Sarah’s atypical in being a genuine ‘just do it’ type of person. She’s eager to try any opportunity of interest that comes her way. She’s extremely busy, but she has an energy that tells me she loves what she does. A truly refreshing personality that translates into the writing on her blog, ‘French Kilt’.

Since moving to Edinburgh from France in 2015, Sarah has been detailing her experiences to the French community via French Kilt.  She expanded to give advice on how to move to Edinburgh, and now offers walking tours in French. Increasing in popularity, the blog got attention from national French television who came to meet Sarah for a private tour of Edinburgh, boosting her exposure further.

The People's Story

As someone who’s made such a success of moving to Scotland, I asked Sarah for her best advice on becoming an expat:

“Meet the locals. Immerse yourself completely and don’t stick to your own kin otherwise you won’t improve your English and you will miss out on so many things. Find a job, you will meet new friends and if you don’t feel ready for it…volunteer! You can volunteer as little as 2 to 4 hours a week!”

Also an expat myself – French Canadian and proud! – I wanted to compare my personal experience with Sarah, so I asked her how she found dating in Edinburgh. As she laughed, she explained that most of the time, she had to ask the guys out because they weren’t as forward as what she was used to! “I felt ugly!”, she lamented. Having both experienced cat calling as a regular form of expression in our respective countries, we agreed that the shyness of Scottish guys is not so easy to overcome when you’re looking for dating opportunities. Now dating a Viking enthusiast from the Shetland, Sarah seems quite happy to put her dating days behind her.

Brexit being a common subject amongst expats, I broached the subject.  Sarah explained that she isn’t scared for herself, but deplored its possible consequences on tourism and life in Scotland. Knowing she can fall back onto her freelance writing in France, she has quite an impartial point of vue on the matter. She feels that its senseless to want to make people leave the country as European workers contribute a lot to the economy and barely cost a thing to the government. She expects it will be a struggle for business owners to find tourism workers in Edinburgh.

She should know! She’s the manager at The Baxter, a lovely luxurious hostel in the heart of Edinburgh that mainly employs Europeans. Working there was an opportunity she couldn’t let pass by – in fact, it was a chance encounter with the owner, who invited her to work there, that brought her to a new life in ‘Auld Reekie’!

 French Kilt
Written by Judith Bellemare, Venture English
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