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International Consulting in France: Beth Paul Saunier, Esq., ’98
06.12.14 |
Perhaps because of her busy life as an undergraduate at LVC—she was a student trustee, student government participant, member of the College Democrats, sister in the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, and cheerleader, among other roles— Beth Paul Saunier, Esq., ’98 never got around to studying abroad while at LVC, an omission she still regrets. Nevertheless, she believes her experiences as a political science major at the College prepared her well for her life today— the mother of two, the wife of French national Maël Saunier, whom she met in law school, and the owner of the international tax consulting firm, BPS Tax Services, in Paris, France.

“I would say the general liberal arts approach to education is what prepared me the most,” she said. “I learned how to understand other ideas and ways of thinking and reconcile them with my own. In some cases, it’s meant that I can appreciate another way of thinking and realize that it may be better—a skill which is essential to truly integrate into a foreign society and adapt to a foreign culture. In other cases, it’s made me realize the beauty of my own culture, which is also valuable because I cannot—and don’t want to—change the core of my American being.”

Saunier admitted that she never thought her life would “involve a detour to France,” as she put it. But she’s found it to be a very positive and enriching adventure: “The funny thing about living abroad for an extended period of time is that it causes you to feel like you’re a bit of a world citizen who does not totally fit in anywhere,” she said. “At times, I ache to be in America, but then I think if I was back in the States I’d no longer have the challenges of speaking a foreign language daily and would miss the way the French state seems to support noble causes—such as subsidized child care, affordable higher education, and some aspects of the arts—better than the American government.” Saunier also appreciates constant exposure to new ideas and internationally oriented people, the relative ease of raising and schooling her children to be bilingual, and living in a culture that supports healthy work-life balance and provides high-quality universal health care.

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