How speaking English at an advanced level saved my life when living AND working abroad… by Antonella Leonardi - Profesor/a de inglés

How speaking English at an advanced level saved my life when living AND working abroad…

English and travelling around the world

Well, it's no news English is the language of globalization so dah, of course, it will help us out when communicating pretty much everywhere around the globe. So what's new? What I'm about to tell you is new, and it's new for two simple reasons: 1- it's my personal experience as a seasoned traveller, and 2- I´ve never written about it before.  

Ok, so to make myself an authority in the living-abroad business let me introduce Antonella briefly to you. I'm originally from Argentina but my dad is Italian so I'm quite Italian myself, and actually my Italianness (well, my Italian passport to be more specific) allowed me to live and work legally in Australia for a year and in Spain for two years and a half. Apart from that I´ve visited more than 20 countries around the world, and still counting. 

 

English and getting a job

Now let's get down to our topic: Moving Abroad -living and working in another country. Moving abroad is one the greatest challenges a person can face, especially if you are doing so on your own, as I did. But there are many precautions you can take to smooth your way into a new culture, a new market, a new lifestyle. Excelling at English is one of those. At this point you may be thinking “but you're an English teacher, that's not fair”. Yes, I am indeed an EFL teacher but I didn´t work as a teacher in Australia- although I did in Spain for a year. Anyway, that's not the point...
      The point is when we move into a new country, we tend to select a well-known city, a big city, somewhere we can trust to find a job in, to find decent accommodation; somewhere cosmopolitan enough to encounter others in our same conditions and connect. Those places, obviously, are prone to be touristic centers with many job openings in the hospitality industry, and you can't work in hospitality if you are not able to communicate with your guests and clients. So, if you are thinking about waitressing , you need to speak English, even if you work as a chef and you have no contact with customers whatsoever, you need to be able to communicate with everyone in the kitchen team and they may come from different countries, so yes, again, you need to speak English. 

 

English and I

This is quite general and publicly-known, so let me tell you about my own experience. In Australia- an English speaking country as we all know-, excelling at English allowed me to succeed at job interviews; I worked as an Au pair, as a waitress, as a cashier, as a farm worker, as a promotion girl for an international cosmetic brand. All these jobs may not seem very fancy, but hey, I got them. I went to interviews and “competed” against native speakers, not only Australians but English, Scottish, American people; and I still got the job. 

Then in Spain, the story was quite different, my advantage was way more notorious. Communicating fluently in English positioned me greatly within the hospitality market. I ended up working for top brands at international airports, I worked as a teacher -which is my passion- , I even worked as a commercial executive in the yachting industry. All of these jobs were given to me just because my command of English was substantially superior to that of the other candidates. 

Whenever I wanted to find another job with better conditions, I did. Whenever I wanted to socialize with people no matter where they were from, I did. Whenever I wanted to negotiate terms and conditions, or even prices, I could. English is power. English is a world of open opportunities. English is your best tool. Make sure you have it!

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