Testimonial: "Going to London for 6 months was the best experience of my life"
Today, we will meet 23-year-old, Célia. After completing her baccalaureate in France, she chose to travel abroad to work in London for six months. She spent two months studying English at a language school and four months working as an au pair! Here she tells us about her experience.
Why did you want to go to London?
After finishing my baccalaureate, I wanted to be au pair in London. My parents did not really agree with my choice because I was barely of age. My main goal was to improve my English, so I opted to study in a language school first. Within two months, I was on the other side of the Channel.
I chose London because it was only a short distance from home and my daily life which reassured me. Despite this, I did not return to France during my stay. Once I was there, I felt good and I did not feel the need to go home. We are always a bit anxious and stressed before leaving home, but if the trip is well planned then everything generally works out well. I had time for my program and time to sight-see and enjoy life in London. It was very cool! I was originally only in London for a month and a half and it was hard to enjoy everything in such a short time, so I decided to extend my trip and stay for four more months working as an au pair.
Read our guide to your trip to London .
How did you meet people and network?
I am glad to have studied in the language school before working as an au pair because it allowed me to meet people. The atmosphere was very relaxed and there were people from all over the world: Japanese, Chinese, Turks, Italians, Germans and many others! As an au pair, it is not always easy to create a network even using specialized forums. Nowadays social networks facilitate a lot of meetings.
Read our article on how to meet people abroad
What did you gain from meeting people from all over the world?
At first, it is not easy because everyone speaks English with their own accent and it can be complicated to understand. But little by little, you learn to understand everyone – even if you do not completely master the language and its pronunciation.
What is interesting is to discover different perspectives of the world. I have met people from cultures that are really different to mine. Each one of us took turns in taking the others to restaurants offering cuisines from our respective countries, it was very rewarding. Not completely mastering English was not a problem; the most important thing was to try to make yourself understood. By the time I arrived to my au pair family, I could hear native English and was able to adjust my ear to the British accent.
Read our article on working abroad (especially in the UK)
Did you progress in English during these 6 months?
I started at a beginner level (between A1 and A2), and the two months of school took me up another level. At the end of the 6 months, I had reached level B2.
What did you learn from your time in a foreign country?
It was the best experience of my life! Since my return to France, I have wanted to go abroad again. I was not yet 18 when I left and this trip taught me a lot. Not only in terms of learning new languages, but it taught me how to live on my own (knowing how to go from the airport to the reception house without knowing the language, finding a taxi, coping with everyday life ...). It also opened me to the world and the different cultures around me. I gained autonomy and confidence in myself.
Did it help you at a professional level?
This experience helped me get the professional position I had hoped it would. My time in London set me apart from other high school students who had not yet gained professional experience. Even if the position did not necessarily require the use of English, the fact that I lived in London for 6 months was enough to support my candidacy for the role.
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