Friday, 17 August 2012

Left Uni/College, what now?

I am sorry in advance - this is quite a long, personal post so feel free to click off if you don't want to hear me write about my life :)

So for those of you that may have recently got your results and wondering what next? Here's a little idea for you for what I did. I went to college and did my A-levels but decided after the first year it wasn't for me. I don't regret the decision in the slightest and instead went straight into working life. After a few years, last year in fact, after debating about moving abroad for quite a long time, I thought what the heck, and just did it. It was scary telling my friends, family, employer and even (ex) boyfriend. I am so glad I did it and want to recommend it to anybody who is thinking about broadening their horizons.

Plaza Mayor - Madrid
Most people I know went travelling of some sort for a year or so, but I wanted to improve my Spanish language and go further. I had no real "plan" except wanting to grow my language skills and meet new people. Of course there are the down sides, missing home being the main one but I wish I'd stuck it out that bit longer. I moved to Madrid, Spain and decided this particular city because of the great transport links to go home if I got severely home-sick or just for a weekend visit which I did once or twice. After 4 months, I decided to come home which wasn't a bad thing as I've now met the love of my life (cheese).

Sol - Madrid Centre
My main job when I was there was being an au-pair. Most people didn't have a clue what this meant when I told them but basically, it's a glorified nanny/housekeeper. My main job was to teach English with the children and speak solely in English on a daily basis to improve their language, as well as help out around the house. Some families I heard were using their au-pairs as slaves, but this can happen. I guess you have to know your own boundaries. I arranged everything myself i.e the family I was going to be staying with, transport etc which was so scary. Knowing whether or not the family you are going to stay with is genuine, or whether you will get on with them is even scarier.

The best H&M you've ever seen - I got kicked out the shop after taking this photo :( tetchy.
I spoke to my host family for weeks and weeks before I committed to everything and was happy with my decision. The day I went I was so emotional and started to regret everything. Seeing my parents cry for the first time broke my heart. But, off I went to Liverpool airport and got on the plane on my own for the first time. It was a long, long flight, but eventually I got off at the other side greeted with beaming smiles and tons of hugs. The kids were so cute, little did I know that would soon change!

Spring in Madrid
In the end, I didn't get on that brilliantly with my host family which was a shame, but I didn't leave on too bad terms. They expected too much for such a little "pocket money" and they kept repeating it wasn't a job, to me it was, I was getting paid at the end of the week. Au-pairs get paid pocket-money as the accommodation and food is usually paid for. This varies depending on the country you choose to go to but when you're in the UK, you can stay anywhere in Europe.

I met some absolutely amazing people, and I now have friends that I visit across Europe. Madrid will always be in my heart and I love visiting when I can. I improved my Spanish lots (may explain the blog title origin too) but as other budding linguists will know, once on English turf, it soon fades away quickly. I hope that I could inspire someone to do something like this if they're contemplating it.

If you're thinking of a city break then you could Madrid a try. I found that it was very rare for anyone to speak English in the capital, just a heads up. It has the most amazing shopping street which stretches for miles, along with a huge Sephora. ;)

Moncloa Station
El Retiro Park - Madrid

I love the architecture of the apartments.

Templo de Debod - An authentic 2nd Century BC Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid - better to see at night

Me and my Best Friend Sara
Sorry for this massive post, and if you're now bored! Hope it helps some people if they want to improve their language skills and general life skills, you grow so much confidence in yourself. If anybody has any questions, feel free to comment/email/tweet me!

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  1. This was very insightful. I'm thinking about doing a post inspired by yours of what I've done after uni, all those 3 months ago, haha!

  2. I went straight to Uni when I finished school, even though I didn't know what I wanted to do. I changed courses and took half a year off before I realised what I actually wanted to do. I never really knew what other things I could have done. I really like it when people share their experiences like this as I would have been able to make a more informed decision back then if I had access to these posts. Great post!

  3. wow this is a such an interesting post! Does your spanish get better when you visit spanish speaking countries again? I did spanish at high school but learning languages at school is so rubbish. I'd love to be able to speak another language fluently. my step-sisters are half bulgarian and can speak it fluently.

  4. Aw thanks Rebecca :) it's something different and glad you liked it! x

  5. Yeah it does, it's so much easier when I'm back in Spain. Oh that's cool! I'd love to be able to be fluent in another language :) x


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