Introducing our new Student of the Month, Laura Smolders! She is an 18-year-old Beauty Therapy student from Belgium who journeyed to London with our Internship Programme back in March to do work experience at WW Hair and Beauty Spa. After receiving some very nice feedback from her supervisor (he basically said Laura had a brilliant future and would become a star in her field), we decided to ask her some questions about her experience and she immediately said yes.
As it turns out, Laura also had a great time at the salon and felt inspired by her colleagues' passion for hair, beauty and customer service. During her time there, she carried out all sorts of treatments and learnt skills and how to handle new equipment from her colleagues. This is what she told us about her stay in London.
What sparked your interest for beauty and hairdressing?
It has been an interest of mine since a young age, always doing my friends' hair and makeup. Or giving my mum a back massage because she told me I was good at it. So maybe that is why I was motivated to start the Beauty Therapy course. It is something I really like doing!
What was your work placement like?
On my first day at WW Hair and Beauty Spa I was a little bit nervous, but my supervisor Léonardo gave me a very warm welcome and I felt right at home. The other members of staff were so sweet and friendly. It is a beautiful place. The hairdresser's is located in the front and there are two rooms in the back for the beauty parlour. Everything is clean and tidy and the atmosphere is very relaxed
What were your tasks?
They were very similar to what I have learnt at school - waxings, facial treatments, pedicure, manicure, makeup, massage and body treatments. Some of the treatments, like the Cellulipo Ultra sound Cavitation I hadn't heard of before, and that was interesting. You could really see the difference before and after!
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
Here, they worked with very good products and used more expensive machines to do treatments with.
How has this experience inspired you?
Actually, the people who worked at the salon inspired me the most because they were so good at what they did and you just saw how much they loved their job and how good their relationships with their customers were. They took their time to listen to the clients and did their best to meet the clients' expectations.
What did you learn from the trip?
I learned some new techniques at the salon. But more importantly, I learned that you shouldn't be afraid of challenges, in all kinds of ways! It is important to show what you can do, what you have learned. Don’t be afraid to be curious or ask questions!
What did you find most exciting about working and living in a new country?
It was an amazing experience to work in a big city like London. I have been there a few times before, but now I saw the real London, the part where people work hard and live their lives.
It wasn’t that hard for me to speak English because my stepdad is from the UK. After a few days it felt normal! Oh, and I loved the food so much, especially the classic English breakfast!
What are your plans for the future?
I have a few different plans after this school year. I want to do a theatre makeup course, which means studying for one more year. After that I would like to study spa and wellness management for three years and I might do another evening course at the same time, in hairdressing or photography.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
It might seem daunting to go to London and navigating another language and culture. But like I said before - don’t be scared to challenge yourself! A trip like this only happens once in your life and you need to enjoy it as much as you can. Every day is a new day to learn and make memories!
What was the best moment of your trip?
Probably when I got my first tattoo in Camden. I was really excited to get one and I had researched the tattoo shop - Hell To Pay - beforehand. On the 13th of March I went into the shop and I asked If I could make an appointment and showed them my design and then they told me I could come back in two hours. I didn’t expect I would get it that day, I was so happy!
Laura visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we're also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. 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 email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.