Community, Culture & Family: An Insight into Island Life
29th June 2021
Found in: Blog -
With the UEFA European Football Championship sweeping our screens until July, it’s been fantastic to see fans returning to stadiums with countries uniting for the biggest sporting event in Europe. Half of England’s Euro 2020 squad have parents or grandparents of international descent which is an excellent example of a team with cultural diversity. This is something that should be celebrated, not just in sport, but in all aspects of life.
Here in Guernsey, just under half of the population was born off-island, resulting in a wonderful mix of communities and cultures. Alongside those who have migrated from England and Ireland, there are now many French, Spanish, Portuguese and Eastern European people living and working on the island, as well as those from further afield. Many are learning or have learned English as a second language or have children who they want to reconnect with their mother tongue.
We spoke with Anna Lisa Detassis, Director of Accent Language School in Guernsey and teacher of Italian. She was born in Italy, relocated to the island around 13 years ago and has been running Accent since 2014. We asked for her views on the island’s community, family living and how her business is helping newcomers.
Would you say that Guernsey represents different cultures, and what benefits does this bring?
In Guernsey there are lots of smaller international communities from all over the world with groups and associations that bring people together for social events. For example, the Guernsey Scottish Association, Guernsey Latvian Association and an online Guernsey Expats group with over 2,500 members all exist to promote cultural enjoyment and to keep people connected. We have a diverse workforce with newcomers bringing in their own unique experiences and fresh perspectives, and this is equally important in schooling environments. COVID-19 has clearly shown us that we can all pull together, no matter where we are from.
Do you think Guernsey makes a good home for families with children and young people?
Yes, Guernsey is the perfect place to raise a family. It is incredibly safe, and its many beaches and green spaces make it a wonderful setting for children, especially if you want your kids to make the most of the great outdoors. Guernsey’s education system, too, is held in high regard with quality schooling available at both primary and secondary levels. Whatever your children are interested in whether it be sport, art, dance, music or just having fun with friends, there are plenty of opportunities for all. With shorter commutes, you will often find that you have more time to spend with your family. Additionally, a number of family friendly events take place throughout the year including festivals with live music, agricultural shows, treasure hunts, holiday camps and much more.
What about for those moving alone?
The island offers an attractive setting for people moving here alone as the community is very welcoming. There are many job prospects with Guernsey’s thriving finance and hospitality sector, always on the lookout for new employees. Islanders also enjoy a busy and varied social life, with many high-quality eateries, bars, outdoor celebrations and beautiful spots to unwind and relax solo. If you are looking to meet new people, there are lots of clubs to join including the Guernsey Yacht Club, the Guernsey Football Association, Rugby Club and art/reading groups – to name but a few – as well as evening courses and classes that offer networking opportunities.
Can you tell us about your area of work and how it can help those relocating?
Whether someone wants to improve their English or they want their child to pick up their native language and/or require childcare, at Accent Language School we help families get settled into life on the island. My team run language courses for adults and children plus after school clubs and holiday clubs which are ideal for parents who work full time or would like their children to do something fun and worthwhile during the school breaks. Accent also offers opportunities to meet other parents and families, and to make new friends.
And finally, what are your favourite things about living in Guernsey?
My favourite things in Guernsey are walking on the cliffs with my dogs, enjoying the stunning scenery and swimming in the sea!