Confidence is key. By Estelle Van de Velde.

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 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.