Laurence Bigot, Head of Construction & Extension Projects at IFS, 22 Years in Singapore
As part of lepetitjournal.com Singapore edition 20th anniversary, they wanted to give a voice to and highlight French and Francophone expatriates who have been living in Singapore for the past 20 years.
Laurence Bigot, Project Director at IFS, shared with Lepetitjournal.com Singapore her experiences and thoughts on her life in Singapore.
Laurence Bigot, a lawyer in the real estate and construction industry, put her career on hold when she followed her expatriate husband to the city-state 22 years ago. Mother of two daughters at IFS, she volunteered at the Lycée Français Parents’ Committee, the humanitarian group and the school festival committee before being elected to the Executive Council. She was able to bounce back professionally, and she is now in charge of the school’s real estate projects.
Find below an extract of the interview :
Laurence, how did you come to Singapore? When did you arrive?
As a lawyer in the real estate and construction sector, I had to leave my job in Paris, as many expatriate spouses do, to follow my husband, who was transferred to Singapore. It was in 1999 for a 3-year contract… and it’s been almost 22 years… When we arrived, our daughters were six years old and barely 3. They were lucky enough to go to LFS (now IFS), and then they went to the UK for higher education at the University of St Andrews, University of Cambridge, King’s College London, University of Bath and University College London. They now live and work in London. So it’s just the two of us, my husband and I, who have been in Singapore for a few years.
What professional and personal challenges did you have to face?
Like many people, I had to reinvent myself professionally, even if I was fortunate… In the beginning, I thought I would only stay for three years, but I decided to take a professional break while remaining active. I immediately got involved with the LFS (IFS) as a member of the Parents’ Committee, the humanitarian group and the school festival committee, and finally, as an Executive Council member. At the same time, I took English courses at the British Council to get some qualifications that (I thought) would be a plus on my CV when I returned to France. When we decided to stay beyond the 3-year contract, I looked for work in my field but couldn’t find it. I then had the chance to return to LFS (IFS) as an employee, this time in charge of ECA and Communication, and when the school started to grow, I applied for and got the position of Head of Construction & Extension Projects.
On a personal level, the early days were difficult. I missed my professional activity and didn’t find my place despite all my commitments and actions. Everything went back to ‘normal’ the day I went back to work. However, I immediately felt comfortable and safe in this city, and I still appreciate all the good things about it.
What support did the various French institutions give you? In particular the Lycée Français?
As mentioned before, I owe a lot to the LFS (IFS). As a mother, my daughters had an exceptional education there, which enabled them to enter top universities in the United Kingdom. And, of course, as an employee, I am grateful to the school for giving me the chance to return to work and broaden my skills and knowledge.
I didn’t have to use the other institutions, but I know they are all very active and of high quality.
Read the full story on LePetitJournal.com.