"As my course was very literature-based, I really looked forward to my year abroad, which would give me the chance to speak my languages and dive into the cultures.
It truly did live up to my hopes. Firstly, I spent seven months in Ferrara, a beautiful medieval city in Northeast Italy. I was enrolled in the university, but also taught private English conversation lessons. Because it was a reasonably small place I found it quite easy to integrate into the Italian life, making friends not just with other students but with locals as well, which really improved my language skills. In the late spring, I went to Brussels to undertake a two-month long internship, which involved interviewing and compiling the profiles of over 50 individuals to produce a book called “Changemakers in Brussels”. After this, I started another internship at the Chateau de Montaigne in Southwest France, near Bordeaux. I gave guided tours of the tower where Montaigne wrote his ‘Essais’, working in the bookshop and selling the wine produced on site. Again, I found that my language skills improved very quickly – especially as I was giving guided tours to the French.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed my year abroad. That’s not to say that it was easy; operating in different cultures and different languages is always a challenge. However, it was through these experiences that I was able to develop my confidence as well as moving my languages towards fluency.
I graduated this summer but and am now the Co-founder of a large-scale campaign which will be launching in the spring called “Talk to me London”. I genuinely believe that if I had done a three year course, I would not have chosen this path. However, the year abroad gave me the confidence – and the time – to do so."