The EU kickstarted my career.
I was lucky enough to live in Paris whilst completing my degree; a year which was paramount to reaching fluency. In turn this gave me a foot up in my career in the travel industry, which I began a year later.
With frankly little effort on my part as a 20 year old student (albeit a couple of disgruntled tutor meetings and a few forms to fill in) I was welcomed with open arms into France to study at one of the most prestigious, historic universities in the world: The Sorbonne.
With the UK leaving the EU it feels like we haven’t kept up our endpart of the deal in the close, reciprocal relationship we have with our French voisins.
It was the Erasmus experience, not the sparse contact hours in Manchester, which helped me reach fluency in French. Being from a country so linguistically lethargic I know it is always this language skill in my CV that halts the skimming eyes of potential employers.
For my generation it’s becoming more difficult to stand out in a working world evermore crowded with desperate graduates. I know plenty of people whose lives were enriched by their year abroad and who use their language skills in their careers. Take, for example, a couple of friends, now French teachers, or my flat mate, who speaks Spanish every day whilst working for a luxury hotel company. There is nothing quite as gratifying as when a sentence in a second language rolls off the tongue; this cannot be achieved without living, breathing and dreaming in another country for a long length of time. Unfortunately this opportunity will no longer be so readily available to future language students.
As The Telegraph confirms:
Academics have also warned that Brexit would restrict movement of UK students. Over 200,000 British students have benefited from the Erasmus exchange programme, which provides funds for undergraduates to travel to EU countries to study as part of their degree. According to Nigel Carrington, vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts, London, leaving the EU would make this travel a lot harder.
“We’ve had a 50 per cent increase in the number of our students going abroad to study under the Erasmus programme over the last three years,” he said. “Obviously, they can do this because of the funding that is available through the EU’s Erasmus programme. Without Erasmus we would have major problems in terms of enabling our students to study overseas.”
Brexit has broken my heart.