My name is Justyna, I study a French and English Language BA degree at the University of Westminster and this is my journey from Poland to London.
I come from a small town in the south of Poland and have always had a passion for studying languages. Languages like German and Spanish interest me but French, English and Italian have always appealed to me the most. From the age of 6 I began dancing in a local national Polish folk dance group (Ziemia Cieszynska). As part of this dance group I travelled a lot around Europe, attending many international festivals. Some of the countries I visited included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Belgium. There I met with organisations like the ministry of sport and culture among others. Luckily I had the opportunity to practice my language skills in many of these countries. I even helped the manager of my group to translate important speeches. It is likely that these early international experiences increased my interest in languages and travelling and ultimately lead to my dream of moving to another country.
London – love at first sight
At 16 years old whilst studying at secondary school I had the opportunity to complete work experience in the UK. My placement was at a London hotel as part of the Leonardo da Vinci project (similar to the Erasmus project). The work experience was organised by a college in Harrow, London.
Arriving from Poland to London was exciting but not so easy. I was very young and I had to face an adult world in a city probably 100 times bigger than my hometown. I did not know what to expect, I was happy and scared at the same time.
My first day of work in the hotel was probably one of the most stressful days of my life – unnecessarily. The hotel where I worked was based in Liverpool Street in central London. For a teenage girl travelling every day to one of the busiest areas of London, surrounded by women and men dressed up so smartly, was the most beautiful view. I fell in love with London at the very first sight. During my London work placement I had to deal with many challenging things. But importantly, I learned how the hotel industry works and thankfully I met many lovely people.
Working towards my target
When I went back to Poland I kept telling everyone that I would try my best to one day move to London and study at university. Nobody really believed me.
A year after my first work experience in London I had to organise another 1 month work placement. Through contacting the same college in Harrow I found a job in a travel agency again in central London by Warren Street tube station. I loved that place and again had such a great experience. To this day I am still in touch with the management team there.
Making the move to London
After finishing secondary school with the required grades from a tourism focused Polish Matura qualification I decided to make the move to London. I wanted to get a job before starting my studies, and thankfully I did. I started working at an Italian restaurant conveniently near my home in London. At the same time applied to a number of different Universities in London through the online UCAS service.
In the end though, I only went to one open day, which was at the University of Westminster. After attending Westminster’s Open Day at the Regent Street campus, I knew right there that it would be my first choice. A few weeks later I received an offer to study at Westminster, which only increased my belief that dreams can come true.
From Poland to London so far…
Moving from Poland to London was scary at first, but I’ve really enjoyed my course and the overall experience studying at Westminster. One highlight so far has definitely been the amazing opportunity I had in my 3rd year to go practice my French in Montpellier in France as part of an immersive Study Abroad Year….I am going to talk about this experience more deeply in a future post 🙂
I’m really excited to share my experiences with you and to show how amazing studying and living in London really is! I believe chasing your dreams will make you truly happy and will pay off in the future.
Until the next time,
For this post and other blogs from International Students at Westminster please visit International Student Blogs.