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‘Now I’m applying for jobs at law firms in the USA and people are really interested in my profile and how I’ve studied in the UK, France and now the USA.’
Valentin has studied law at the Sorbonne in Paris and King’s College London and is now completing his legal studies at Cornell University in New York, USA.
Growing up, I always liked the idea of arguing as a lawyer in front of a judge or representing a client in a negotiation. But because I also loved learning about other cultures and languages, it was always in the back of my mind to do so abroad, or at least with an international element. Moreover, most high-stakes cases span multiple countries, so I wanted to have a background that reflected that pattern.
Having a deeper understanding of a language is paramount to a successful career.
Born and raised in Paris, I had the opportunity to travel and visit other countries thanks to my family and my school. However, as much as I loved those experiences, I felt my understanding of English and Anglo-Saxon culture was too academic and lacked ease.
Things really changed when I met a teacher from Canada – Pam – who really helped me cross this bridge and picture myself living, working and succeeding in English, just as a native speaker would.
Certainly, attaining fluency gave me an unprecedented insight into the culture and the language, which has helped me secure places on courses in Paris, London and now New York.
I started a programme in English law and French law between the Sorbonne and King’s College London, so I spent two years in England followed by two years in France.
After my dual degree, I didn’t feel ready to take the bar or choose between solicitor and barrister – which is how the legal profession is divided in Great Britain – so I looked for opportunities to deepen my dual culture and keep working in English. Thanks to the Sorbonne, I got to join Cornell Law School and continue studying law whilst building a career in the United States.
Now I’m applying for jobs at law firms in the USA and employers are really interested in my profile and how I’ve schooled in the UK, France and now the USA. Having a deeper understanding of a language is paramount to a successful career, especially for law where the answer often lies in the subtlety of the words used to convince.
When I moved to the UK and then the USA, I did worry a bit as I was in another country I had not lived in before. I sometimes doubted myself and my capacity to fit in but everyone I've met has been really supportive. I am confident about my journey ahead as I can easily understand, engage and connect with others.
About Valentin Van de Walle
Valentin has taken C1 Advanced, one of our Cambridge English Qualifications. He thinks that preparing for Cambridge English Qualifications really helped him as he feels that he can go and live and work anywhere in the world.
'I always wanted to be a radio presenter and now I’ve got my own show in the UK.'
'The human body is so complicated, yet very organised, so I thought it would be really interesting to study medicine.'
'I’m thinking of starting my own channel to teach English songs on social media, as well as doing more studies.'
'I love learning so I decided to do an exam for English teachers as well as higher level language exams.'
'I decided to start my own language school and that’s where things really took off.'
Everyone has their own reasons for teaching or learning English. You can see more real-life stories at our sister organisation, Cambridge University Press.
Better Learning Stories