Estelle Van de Velde
Estelle moved to London with her boyfriend in February 2015. She is an experienced communication specialist, currently looking for a job in the publishing industry. She is also a talented fiction writer, and her dream is to publish a book.
As part of The Big Fish English Writing Project, Estelle has written this piece . . .
Confidence is key.
Estelle Van de Velde
When my boyfriend mentioned for the first time he wanted to live in an English country, I was scared. Of course I had some knowledge of English because I had studied at school. But it was nowhere near enough for me.
I wanted to be fluent when I speak, make no mistakes when I write and I wanted to be as confident as I am in my mother tongue. Everything had to be perfect, and obviously it wasn’t.
The first thing I did to improve my English was to attend an English course back home in Belgium. I put my heart and soul into being better and incredibly, I increased my level from beginner to upper intermediate in just two months. Then I was able to go on an immersion course in London for three lovely weeks with a host family. I would go as far as saying that they were the best weeks of my life. I met new people from tonnes of different countries such as South Korea, Kazakhstan, and Japan and visited great places in London. Finally I knew what my boyfriend meant when he told me it could be a great idea to live there.
Back in Belgium, we booked a room via Airbnb – which is a cheaper alternative to a hotel – and Eurostar tickets. We broke into the English world, just the two of us. Of course we knew my boyfriend would be able to get a job sooner than me, as he works in the IT industry.
But I am more confident than in the beginning. I can have a conversation with someone without blushing and I can answer the phone, even if it is sometimes difficult to understand without lip-reading.
Confidence, motivation and enthusiasm are the key to everything.
If my high school teacher could see me right now, I think she wouldn’t believe that I can actually live in London without any issues. (I was so bad at English at school that I thought I was allergic to it!)
But now, I am sure I can get through as long as I have the confidence.