Here at Stay Campus London we had the pleasure of welcoming three Interns to help us for a few weeks; Alessia Liquori, Chiara Decimo and Giovanna Mazzarella are all 18-year-old high school students from Naples, Italy. During their stay, they told me all about their experience in London; working here at the school, living in the Stay Club and exploring the city.
The girls applied for the internship through the National Operative Programme (PON), which is an initiative for students in Italy. They can apply through their school for funding to go abroad and study English or complete an internship.
Chiara told me she would never forget the day she found out she was coming to London; “It was Valentine’s day, my phone rang while I was doing Physical Education, but I didn’t answer, so my English teacher came and told me the news. I immediately started crying, because I never thought I could have been chosen.”
For Alessia is was her dream to come to London since she was a child, “I have always loved England and it’s language and culture; I was on cloud nine when I found out I’d been accepted to come and I immediately started planning what to do when I arrive.”
The girls stayed with us here at the Stay Club in Colindale with the rest of their group “I think the Stay Club is a beautiful place” said Giovanna, “I met new people here and it was a good opportunity to communicate in English. I also like the design of the rooms, the restaurant and I enjoyed events like the disco and movie nights with my friends.”
Alessia added that, “The people here are very friendly and the staff members make themselves available for any request.”
The working hours of the internship were 1pm to 6pm leaving the mornings free to explore London. I asked the girls what they enjoyed seeing most in the city; for Chiara it was the London eye, “I’ve seen so many things, I loved everything, but the London Eye was spectacular, especially at the highest point. I was able to see the city where I want to live one day.”
Giovanna liked Piccadilly Circus the best; “I love the atmosphere, it’s so cool with all the illuminations and lights.”
When they weren’t out having fun, they were working hard helping us at the school, learning new skills and improving their English, “I have learned to be more independent and to plan my days, this is my first real job in the sector of the languages,” said Alessia.
Chiara told me how her experience here helped her gain/build confidence with her English skills, “Talking to the girls where I work, I developed my understanding of others and learnt to make myself understood. My advice for students is to come here, because direct dialogue with people is the best way to learn English.”
Living and working in another country is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. The skills and life experiences you can learn from immersing yourself in a different culture, country and language cannot be taught in a classroom. PON is just one example, that is specific to Italy but different countries offer different government funded programmes. There are also a lot of other ways to experience living in another country such as volunteering, or working in exchange for room and board with organisations such as WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and HelpX or doing work study programmes – https://www.gov.uk/ is a good place to check for country specific visa information.