My placement year in Paris

Guest Blogger#MyPlacementStory, Hannah Hine, International Placements, On Placement, Second Year

Blog by Hannah Hine

At the end of January I moved to Paris to pursue a job within the largest culinary school in Europe, FERRANDI Paris. I have spent the last six months assisting the International Team with their mission to recruit over 100 students for their courses that begin in September 2018. Working abroad recruiting students from across the globe for Pastry, Cuisine and Bread Baking programs has had numerous advantages, most notably the amount of food I consume on the job!

This has been my first proper office job. I have loved having a routine, arriving at 9.30 and working through to 5.30, with a long leisurely French lunch hour where I have had a chance to really get to know my fellow colleagues in our school canteen. I have learnt to manage my time with tasks that I have been given, learnt to prioritize my day and to optimise the processes I use at work. It is thanks to the experiences of my colleagues that I have learnt so much within the company.

I have done some incredibly wacky extracurricular activities within my role – I spent a day cutting cheese for a cheese and wine pairing class, helped to photograph famous chefs during demonstrations at the school, recorded the voice over for a new promotional video for the students who have enrolled into the programs, visited Rungis which is Europe’s largest fresh produce market and also assisted on a school trip to a utensil factory (yes, really!).

This experience will have undoubtedly enhanced my CV. Next year when I am applying for grad jobs, grad schemes, or perhaps even a Master’s degree course, I am able to say that I lived and worked abroad, and I will be able to discuss my achievements during interviews in the future. I feel more confident in myself knowing that I have been able to make a new life in another country, continue to run in a local Adidas running club each week and to have found French friends by immersing myself into life here. The resilience, perseverance and flexibility that you learn by leaving your family, friends and the comforts of home behind are qualities that will shine through to future employers. Moreover, I have built a global network of friends and colleagues.

Perhaps the most important skill I have improved is my communication, in both French and English. I did not have a lot of confidence with my French before my year abroad, and the fact that I knew a few ways to phrase things meant I have learnt to be pertinent and concise when making a point. By giving prospective students tours of the school, by conversing with potential students and their parents via email and on the phone, and from speaking French with my team I have learnt communicate in a professional environment. Outside of work I have loved speaking the familiar language with locals, whilst sometimes feeling completely lost and having to guess what is being said because we do not learn this vocabulary at school nor university!

Working within a team has made me more confident in myself. I know people trust me and rely on me to get jobs done. I feel honored to have worked alongside famous chefs, a fantastic and encouraging team and with dedicated students (soon-to-be chefs) representing over 30 nationalities.

Paris is a beautiful city, and somewhere I would consider relocating to in the future. For now I have a month left to enjoy the city and absorb as much of the language and culture as possible before returning to Aston.