In my very first week at university – four years ago – me and my fellow students were asked to write a 500 word essay. The topic of my essay wasn’t particularly original, but came right out of my heart: I wrote an essay about my biggest dream in life, my aspiration, my life goal – living in London!
Living in this enormous, beautiful and breathtaking city has been a dream for many years. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with this place and every visit made me long for more. I used to visit London almost every year with my parents and sister around Christmas time, and there’s one particular visit that I vividly remember: the four of us were strolling through the streets of Notting Hill, admiring those gorgeous Victorian terraced houses, and I remember thinking: “Some day, I want to live here”. Somehow, that thought never really left my mind and 6 years later I decided to go study English literature and linguistics at Ghent University. Perhaps studying and mastering the language would bring me a step closer to realising my dream? Turns out I was right.
Two years ago I did an Erasmus exchange in Canterbury, a picturesque historic city in east Kent. The 3 months I spent in Canterbury were some of the best of my life! It’s true what they say about going on Erasmus: the person you are returning from abroad is not the same person who left in the first place. Due to the shortness of the programme, my days in Canterbury were full and busy as I wanted to make the most of my time there. I took part in as many activities I could, stayed up late to hang out with my friends and got up early to take the train to nearby cities during the weekends. It was intense, but so good!
To me, Erasmus meant a lot more than just studying abroad. It was a chance to live in the country that I’ve been wanting to make my home for a very long time, and a chance to find out whether it would live up to my expectations. Canterbury quickly started to feel like home – I fell in love with the place and made some unforgettable memories there. However, every time I took the coach to London and got off at Victoria Station, I realised again that, no matter how amazing Canterbury is and no matter how close it is to London, it wasn’t enough. I longed for more, and couldn’t help but wondering how it would be to live in London, that city that captured my heart many years ago.
When I was about to graduate from uni, I decided to just go for it. Being 22 right now, I felt like it was the right period in my life to do this. Old enough to be able to make my own decisions, young enough to start over if things wouldn’t turn out right. I was told that it was possible to receive an Erasmus grant when doing an internship abroad, so I started sending out some emails to companies that sparked my interest. When I came across a vacancy for a 3 month copywriting and social media internship position at a jewellery company, I knew that was the one. So here I am! Working at a company that allows me to combine my interest in fashion (and jewellery in particular) and my love for writing, where I can be part of an amazing team that made me feel welcome from the very first day and where I can grow and learn something new every day. Oh, and not to forget, in my favourite city on earth!
If you’re wondering what’s the inspiration behind the title of this blog post (“Here’s to the ones who dream”), let me explain! This summer I went to an outdoor screening of the film “La La Land”, and although I loved the film in general (I’m a sucker for musicals and Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling are simply a match made in heaven), there was one particular scene and song that really spoke to me. In the song “Audition”, Emma Stone sings about her aunt who’s an inspiration to her because she always dreamed big and didn’t give up on her dreams. The song is about the struggle to make it as an artist, but it’s also about dreamers and how important it is to chase your dreams.
“Here’s to the ones who dream
Foolish as they may seem”
The song reminds me of my own journey and the choices I had to make to be where I am now. I like listening to it on my way home from work in the evening and thinking back on the days where I would pray for the things I have now. Living in London has been a dream of mine for many years, but for a long time I never really believed it would actually come true. Deciding to just go for it and succeeding in turning my dream into reality gave me a lot of self confidence and made me excited & optimistic about the future. What I’m going to do after this internship is something I haven’t completely figured out yet, but for once the uncertainty about what’s coming does not bother me. Right now, I try to focus on living day by day and making the most of every moment, and I’m open to new opportunities. No matter what those will be, I’m sure it’s gonna be another adventure.
See you in the next one!