Laura Gómez, a 25 year-old from Spain, came to London through a scholarship, believing it would be a great opportunity for her future.
More than a year later, she believes she will stay here unless she finds a good job in Spain.
Her favourite thing about London is its multiculturalism. With so many things to see and do, she believes London has something to offer to everyone.
Why did you come to London?
I was working in Spain after a year of having finished my audiovisual communication studies, and I was invited to apply for a test that would lead to a scholarship to study abroad. I passed it and decided it would be a good opportunity.
Did you ever imagine you would live here one day?
No. Actually, when I came with the scholarship it was originally for six months. I was convinced I would return to Spain once I finished, but it’s been fourteen months and I’m still living here.
Not really, no. Even though I was working in Spain, I knew the economy was bad and sooner or later it would affect me. So, thinking about my future, I knew it was the best thing to do.
What was your job in Spain?
I was a photographer for a modelling agency. Although the job was in my field, it wasn’t creative and didn’t help me develop professionally.
What work did you do for you scholarship?
I was six months at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where I was a digital web and database assistant. My job was to retouch pictures from the museum’s database, as well as updating the website every month. It was a kind of image bank so that newspapers and editorial companies could buy pictures from the museum.
I liked it because I learnt a lot and could work by myself. I also improved my English.
How did you decide to stay?
As I was coming to the end of my six-month stay, my boss tried to get me to stay, although it wasn’t up to her. So I looked for a job to complement my voluntary position at the museum. I was very lucky as I found a job within one week, and after looking at the situation with my family and friends back home, I decided it was best if I stayed.
What do you do now?
I am a bookkeeper for eight branches of Subway. It may not be connected to what I studied, but surprisingly I am enjoying it a lot. I am learning many aspects of business, even though it may not be something I want to do for a living. I am happy with the job itself and the atmosphere.
I feel as if I don’t live in London. I am always around Spanish people. I have created something of a “mini-Spain” here, since I live with Spanish people and many of my friends from home have come here. The only exception is work, where I can practice my English daily.
Do you feel accepted by the locals?
I’ve never had a problem. Everyone I’ve met has treated me well. Something that surprised me is that people are very polite and can help you with anything. It might be because the city is full of foreigners and they are used to it, but it’s still nice to get help in such a big city while you may think you are just a small part of it.
I had hoped to practice more English, but that’s probably more my fault. I do hope however that it will give me enough maturity and experience for when I have to return to Spain, hopefully with a good CV and great experiences.
Do you think there are good opportunities for immigrants in London?
I believe so. Here, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, your gender or race. I think it’s easy to prosper and get a job. This generally honours the city.
(Translated by David Buchanan (Google Drive) – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)