Hi, my name is Gabriela and I represent Travel Work and Study Ltd Company in London, a partner of Czech-us Agency based in Prague, Czech Republic.
Our clients are traveling to London in search of a work experience as they are seeking to gain valuable experience and also to improve their language skills. Our aim is to help our clients to become independent and to be in employment in a short period of time. The participants of our working programmes abroad will gain very important experience for their future lives thanks to the employment but they will also build new lifelong friendships with people from all over the world, get to know their cultures and habits.
We currently have clients mainly from the Czech Republic and Slovakia but we are hoping to be expanding our services to other EU countries in the near future.
We would like to bring you a closer look at some of the experiences and challenges our clients have been facing here in London and so we have sat down with some of them and here are their stories…
First Story – Olga from Rakovnik, the Czech Republic
Olga came to London on the 23st of November, 2015 and currently works as a barista in the network of French cafés located at the international train station King’s Cross.
I have met Olga for a quick chat.
Olga, tell me, what brings you to London?
I was attracted to the United Kingdom from early age as so to USA and Canada. But after a careful consideration and a chat with my parents I have decided to travel to London. And as this was my first work experience abroad I wanted to be sure I can actually succeed and live abroad without being too far away from home.
So what is the current verdict after three-months stay?
Definitely positive. I must admit that I am happy with my initial choice of London for my new life abroad.
London is a great place full of people, which might be sometimes a little annoying, but especially when it comes to the case of public transport, where the word PUBLIC takes very real dimensions.
Every single day is different, full of new stories and if you don’t like stereotype, you will love this place.
Glad to hear that ! Now, can you tell us, what was the biggest hurdle for you?
I think the biggest hurdle was the loss of convenience as I was used to living with my parents and they took care of lots of daily issues. Food, laundry, bills, everything seemed automatic to me. Abroad, you must get used to being independent very quickly.
Also the fact that I came all by myself was a little scary to begin with but that has changed soon, because people in the UK are really very friendly and open-minded.
I have to admit that I was expecting a different answer, you surprised me. I expected something about language barrier, that you were afraid of the job search after your arrival, or the job interviews…?
Of course all these were frightening, but eventually, it was fine. Regarding the language I have adapted really quickly and thanks to the help of the Agency, I didn’t have a lack of job interviews, actually I started to work a in a few days after my arrival.
So tell us something about your job:)
I am currently working in the network of famous French cafés as a barista, which means that I prepare coffee and other beverages for customers. Sometimes I also work in a retail part where I sell the bakery products, desserts, sandwiches, etc. It is not a difficult work, I got the hang of it in a quite a short period of time. I have received training from my employer, so if you don’t have any previous relevant experience, they will help you learn everything on the go.
I work shifts: morning/ afternoon and I work aproximately 35 hours per week. The morning shifts are more difficult, because I start at 4:30 am, it means that I have to leave my house at around 3 am. This shift passes very quickly, I am done at about 11 am and then I am off for the rest of the day. The afternoon shift is from 2 pm and I finish at 11 pm. I really like the atmosphere, people all over the world work here and the team is perfect.
It sounds quite tough and not everybody would be willing and able to get up so early, but for me it is fine, I got used to it.
Olga, is this job your first working opportunity in London?
No, immediately after my arrival I was successful at the interview for a work in a hotel position of Catering Waitress. I liked the atmosphere but unfortunately, they couldn’t offer me as many shifts and I intended to save some money for the future. The advantage is that I have a possibility to work there even though I have another job, if I want more hours.
What do you think about searching or keeping work in London, is it hard?
In my opinion, finding a job is not that easy, there is a big competition and a lot of places where you can be employed only for a “good word” and then get in trouble. Also, don’t go abroad without good spoken English! I have chosen the assistance of an Agency, although many people tried to discourage me from that. The agency has helped me to find reliable employers and I’ve avoided the long frustrating job search. I wouldn’t even know where to start with everything, London is huge!
Olga, thank you for your opinions and answers! Just one last thing, could you tell me your 3 favourite places here in London which you have visited and were charmed by and why?
Sure, the top one for now is definitely Camden Town Market.
This gorgeous market fascinated me in many ways, delicious food from all over the world, which is prepared fresh in front of you, endless market stalls, where you can buy almost anything and there is an amazing nightlife full of interesting bars and pubs.
The second choice would be the city centre, historical centre, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, many museums and of course, the River Thames.
And in the third place is currently King’s Cross Station and its neighbourhood, where not only you can find cultural activities in a form of shops and cafés but you can also find a little bit of a movie history. If you are a fan of Harry Potter Books and films, the Platform 9 and ¾ known from the movie and a Harry Potter memorabilia and a gift shop is well worth visiting.