A bit of a light for Spanish professionals in London

By on 2014/12/08
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Laura Salesa at the “Espanoles en Londres que Quieren Mas” Networking event in London, 30th November 2014

A couple of weeks ago I was one of the speakers at a Networking event for Spanish entrepeneurs in London. Given the fact that I have spent nine years in the British capital with the result of a quiet successful professional career, event organiser The Happy World Company considered that my story could inspire an audience formed mostly by Spanish who have just moved to London in the search of a better future.

My speech was honest and direct. I moved to London in 2005, before the credit crunch, where European immigration was less frequent and unemployment rates in other countries were lower. My English language skills were also in a good level, something that most Spanish can say, in a country where English is just a subject within the Education and we don’t have the chance to practice (unless we live in touristic destination like Benidorm, Canary Islands or Marbella). Many of the Spanish immigrants arriving to London recently come to England in a desperate mode, escaping from the poor state of the Spanish economy, run by a Government that has lost completely the sense of reality.

And the truth is that some of this people live Spain also with the wrong idea of what living and workin in England is, probably misled by the Travel agencies and language schools. In my experience, the key to success in London is down to 3 main factors: initiative, confidence and determination. Without this it doesn’t matter if you are super skilled, you will be pushed back to the end of the pile of super skilled people with initiative, confidence and determination. I had to fear many of my demons to get to where I am: shyness, insecurity, fear of failure. I am more than confident to say that when it comes to professional success it all starts from within (hard work is obviously needed as well).

Spanish education and culture has many positives, but it also lies in some wrong assumptions and principles that can become obstacles when moving abroad:

  1. You need to have a degree to have a great professional career. The affordable education system in Spain helps for anyone to access University; it also creates the false idea that this is the one route to success.
  2. A university degree will secure you a job. A degree gives you knowledge, but a piece of paper saying you studied “xxx” will mean nothing if you don’t have the personal skills, initiative and determination to find a job.
  3. If you come from a modest family you will have less chances to get anywhere. Sadly “knowing people” to get to places is a common route in Spain to get decent jobs. In other countries, there is a real sense of equal opportunities.
  4. Our English is not good enough. There is a common sense of embarrassment within Spanish people when trying to speak English. However, we might have better Grammar knowledge and vocabulary than people from other non English speaking countries.
Laura Salesa at the book launch of her first novel New Era. The European Bookshop, London 2014

Laura Salesa at the book launch of her first novel New Era. The European Bookshop, London 2014

I have lived abroad long enough to realise about how deep Spanish have these beliefs imprinted in their brains. During my speech at the event I emphasized these to the audience so they can realise early. It was very rewarding to help and advise people (always starting from the fact that every experience and person is different and can’t be compared) and I am hoping to do more of these in the future.

If you would like to find out more about who I am and what I do please visit my About Me page.

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