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‘I have a natural desire to keep moving, and if I ever feel like I want to give up I’ll read inspiring blogs from people who have risen above the odds and made it – especially women!’
Learning English has given Camilla the freedom to follow her desire to keep moving. She was born and brought up on an island in the Mediterranean, and learning English allowed her to create a new life and a new set of friends in London where she carved out a successful career working in luxury five-star hotels. She’s now living in the cosmopolitan city of Milan working in the insurance industry where she says ‘English is a must’, but her story started in a rural area in Sardinia.
My interest in the English language goes back to when I was a teenager. I liked to listen to popular bands like Queen, and I really wanted to understand what they were saying in their lyrics, and I started to translate the songs by writing them down.
Sardinia is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and my home town is in the centre of the island and you don’t have a lot of tourists there. I wouldn’t say it was very international, and in my experience it’s quite difficult to learn English in these circumstances. You have to really want to do this, you have to make the extra effort and be proactive. Originally my dream was to be a translator, and the first step on this journey was to study foreign languages at the University of Cagliari in Sardinia.
There is so much to English, such as grammar and phonetics, and I wanted to know more about these things.
After this, I moved to London and took a hospitality and hotel management course with the aim of working in the hotel industry. When improving my English during this period I was very curious, and I wanted to understand what people who speak English were actually saying. There is so much to it such as grammar and phonetics, and I wanted to know more about these things.
I realised it was easy for me to memorise the words in different languages, easy to understand English in the books, in songs and in movies – but the only way to learn it properly is to immerse yourself with English speakers and practise every day. In London, I was offered a paid internship in a hotel, which kick-started my career. Over the next few years, I got a job as a full-time receptionist and worked my way up to team leader in luxury five-star hotels.
I was thrown from university life into the hotel industry and sometimes it was really tough. Every single day was different, and sometimes you had to deal with difficult customers who have complaints, all in English. I found this a big mental effort to deal with, as you have to keep your emotions in check, concentrate on what you’re saying and keep professional! I travelled a lot when I was in London including many trips to Europe, the USA and Asia and I found it was much easier having learned English, as I was always able to communicate wherever I went!
After five years in London, I moved to Milan to take on a new adventure. At the moment I am working as an office manager for an insurance company, which is a new and challenging experience. I still have to use English in my job, and I would definitely say that in this company English is a must. In fact, we’ve just opened a branch in London and I was involved in the project because of my English skills, which was a really interesting challenge.
I find inspiration in people who do not give up. I’ve taken different career paths and I have a natural desire to keep moving, and if I ever feel like I want to give up I’ll read inspiring blogs from people who have risen above the odds and made it – especially women!
In the future, I will travel again and maybe even try a new career path but for the moment, I would like to keep going in this company and go for the next steps on the ladder.
Looking back I think my greatest achievement has been making a new life for myself in London. I was 24 years old and moving to a massive city was not easy when you come from such a small island. It can make you feel lonely at times but I created a new life, a new set of friends, a career – and I was happy.
About Camilla Carta
Camilla took IELTS to join a hospitality and hotel management course in London.
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