Chantal Lamont studies Business and Administration in Stockholm, Sweden, and arrived in the UK to embark on the Internship Programme a few weeks ago. Since then, the 21-year-old has worked in the HR department of the hotel chain Radisson Blu, boosted her self-confidence and taken her camera on a series of adventures around London. You can follow her journey on her blog, Trails of Wembley. We spoke to Chantal about trusting your heart and not being afraid to try new things.
What has been the best thing about your trip?
Getting to know new people and making new friends. But also getting to know a totally different culture and society and seeing how it's both different from, and similar to, my home country. I will, no doubt, miss England. Therefore, I shall come back when this journey is over.
What's your work placement like?
Challenging! In a lot of ways. Working in the Human Resources department at two different hotels is without a doubt taking a leap into the unknown. I felt rather uneasy at first, because I had no previous experience in this particular field. But now I enjoy it!
You have to be prepared, though. It's a lot of hard work and you need to be engaged to achieve what you want. Nothing will be handed to you on a plate if you don't work hard for the recognition. Quite often you also have to be confident enough to work independently and rely on yourself and your abilities. If you know yourself (and your limits and abilities), you will do great.
What are your tasks there?
Human Resources is mainly about keeping the threads together in a company and making everything run smoothly and everyone feel safe and comfortable. I do a lot of paperwork and computer tasks, like filing and scanning important documents and entering data into the system. I also handle job applications, organise employees' pay checks, and assist the other staff members. Every day is different!
How would you compare your work placement to previous work experience?
If you compare this position with my previous work placement at a juice bar in Stockholm, there's a mad difference! It's fun though. I love the challenge of trying different careers. The work environment in the UK is more formal than what I have experienced in Sweden, which you need to be aware of before you start working here. Of course, it surely varies from place to place.
How has this experience inspired you?
I want to move to England! Haha... not right away, but maybe in the future. But seriously, I believe it has changed and inspired me quite a lot. Being here for several weeks - exploring the city on my own and being independent in an unknown country - has made me feel more grown up and strong. I can see myself working abroad in the future.
What have you learnt from the trip?
Don't be afraid to ask! Whether it's about work or a simple question to a stranger on the street, everyone is very helpful and kind here and willing to help you out in any way they can. That's what I like about this country, amongst loads of things. When you get out of your comfort zone and start exploring the world outside the box, the magic happens. Trust me.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
Being forced to stand on your own two feet and getting to know something that is completely unknown and unfamiliar to you. It makes you grow as a person and is quite confidence-boosting. I also have to mention the fact that I have gotten so many new friends and connections here, thanks to this opportunity. I'm so happy and grateful for that!
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
You can do it! So many students from my school in Sweden were too afraid, anxious and unsure about applying for the opportunity to travel to London and gain work experience. And now afterwards, they all regret it and wish that they had applied. So just go for it! If you feel like you could benefit from it or find it exciting... or maybe you're tired of your current situation and just want to get out of there and get thrown in at the deep end - London - for an adventure, then apply. Don't be afraid, don't hesitate, don't doubt yourself. Trust your heart.
Chantal visited London through our Internship Programme, a project eligible for EU funding. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send us a message.