"I’m not sure where to start as I feel that I gained so much on so many different levels. To date, I still say to everyone that I meet that the year abroad when I lived in France was the best year of my life. Asides from my main goal to come back to England speaking fluent French, I didn’t know what to expect. I was offered so much support from my lecturers in the Languages Department, and the French University offered a diverse range of studies. I was able to study Mandarin, French translation and linguistic classes, Jazz, Ballet and theory classes in Theatre and Dance. I spent my year conversing with people all over the world; Romania, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Austria, Vietnam, Syria, and Hungary amongst many others. I was able to fully immerse myself into French culture to appreciate all the complexities and beauty of the language. My confidence grew, and within 3 months I started feeling the benefit of my acquisition of French language skills. I finished my studies with a fluent understanding of French, I would never have been able to have gained my fluency in the language had I not been given the opportunity to study abroad.
I worked in the summer of 2006 for RAC France, using my French and English to support people all over Europe. They offered me continuous work; however I had to go back to London to continue my final year of my degree.
The dance skills I gained in France formed the start of a long and loving relationship with contemporary dance. I also learnt invaluable information about the dance scene in France from meeting other dancers. I would never have experienced or been exposed to this had I not been there. This fuelled my love for dance and spurred me on to do more when I got back to London.
Having graduated, I am now a freelance dance artist and have subsequently founded my own dance company, Kolesk Dance. I am Associate Artist of Step Out Arts, Supported Artist by Hat Factory and was recently been awarded a scholarship to participate in an international lab research project in Austria with actors, choreographers and directors in December 2011.
The Year Abroad enhanced my life by giving me the opportunity to connect to a different culture through the French and by blessing me with the closest friends that I made during that time. I continue to use the language to connect to people on a daily basis. The last and final thing is that without the dance classes that were offered to me, I would not be the artist that I am today. The year gave me strength, confidence and belief in myself and I thank my lecturers, Jacqueline Page and Patrick Corcoran for convincing me to take on the Year Abroad Study."