Here's how you can change your life by gaining vocational skills abroad - Paride Contin, an Italian living in the UK, an automotive sector specialist and a Vocational Skills Week ambassador shares his story.
When I have to talk about myself, the first thing I am proud to share is that I am an open-minded person with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, meeting new people and learning something new and engaging every day.
I was born in Italy, not far away from Venice, and until my late 20s I was very much confined within my own country as a lifestyle, apart from sporadically travelling abroad for holidays.
Until then I didn't travel too much, because when you only get to see your own village, your eyes and mind-set cannot see any further. But then I started travelling a lot for work as I was part of Ferrari F1 team back in 2005-2007.
After this, galvanised by the diversity of cultures and sceneries tasted during my travelling, I completely took myself to a dive towards the unknown. I left a dream job and a dream company to move to another country, without the language and without a job! Just a bag full of confidence, tenacity and a clear target in mind, all backed by a good CV of course.
Into the unknown
My target was to achieve the same level of career that I did in my own country, with the huge difference that I could barely speak English when I moved to the UK back in 2008. It was in fact like being born for the second time, as everything had to be re-learned almost from scratch, I was unemployed for months and it wasn't easy - does it sound bad? Well I can tell you today that I did it successfully, surely it was as tough as rewarding, but today I feel that my achievements are untouchable as they are all coming from my own efforts and skin.
I got stronger and wiser, I discovered new culture, where I adapted and integrated myself very well, I am fluent in English, I am now a Project Engineer for Continental Automotive and previously Technical Author in English language for McLaren Automotive HQ.
I met so many people, I keep learning new things every day, I have a very open and flexible mind now, as I absorbed and combined different cultures and, last but not least, I am a satisfied and happy person today, not every day but mostly! Did I do it in the most practical way? Not at all, but I have no regrets.
My best piece of advice for you is to use the several tools and opportunities offered through Eurodesk UK and Erasmus+. Just get out of your comfort zone if you want to learn in life. Stop overthinking and jump on this train as sometimes it could be the last one to pass by before anything else might change in your life.
Decide yourself how to shape yourself and your own future, it is in your hands, make an intelligent plan and go travel! Enjoy and arrivederci!
Article submitted by Paride Contin, a European Vocational Skills Week Ambassador
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