When I finished my first year of Translation and Interpreting, with a couple of classmates I went to London in the summer “to improve my English and to work” (in that order).
We found a company that acted as a liaison between Spanish and English businesses.
On their website, where they explained their services, they gave examples: if you work as a bellboy in a hotel, you will receive X pounds in salary, and you can expect at least Y in tips.
The proposal looked good.
The actual experience would make for a mini horror story, but I’ll leave that for another time.
When we arrived in London and went to the company’s office, the first thing we did, on their own recommendation, was to write up inflated resumes with cooking experience in Spanish restaurants.
(Disclaimer: I was living with my parents at the time and they pretty much spread the butter on my toast and opened my bags of cookies and mixed the chocolate in my milk in the mornings).
Needless to say, there were no jobs for hotel bellboys.
On one occasion we were called to a massive (and I don’t use the word in an exaggerated way) selection process to work in a famous hamburger restaurant.
A non-English woman asked me in English why I wanted to work there.
I imagine the correct answer was that I loved hamburgers and cholesterol, but my answer was, as I advanced, to improve my English while working.
Logically, I never heard from them again.
I thought that by paying some intermediaries I was going to get a lot of job offers and that businesses would fight for me and that businesses hire you not to work and make them money, but to gain experience and practice languages.
Just as I did back then, many people, even today, believe that by paying for a course you get the knowledge automagically.
For better or for worse, it doesn’t work that way. It takes many hours and months of study and practice (and enjoyment) to acquire a certain fluency.
Although this applies to many things in life, I am now talking about my Latin course.
P. S. After about three weeks of being unemployed in London, I returned home having spent (my parents’) money, without having worked and without having improved my English.