Year Out

During my Computer Science Degree, I spent a year (1997-1998) working for the European Foundation Centre in Brussels, Belgium. The centre is a resource centre for third sector - charity - funding in Europe and plays an influencial role in linking various donor bodies to grant seeking groups.

This involved spending a year abroad, I lived in Ixelles, a suburb of Brussels popular with students. This also meant that I had to develop my linguistic skills - mainly my French - in order to get the most out of living there, from working with my colleagues to buying food in a supermarket, being able to work in a myriad of languages was very important.

Workwise I was responsible for all IT related systems in the office, from the website and mail server to the support of MS Office as well as the network and the computers themselves. During the year I also worked on the Funders on Line project developing an internet connected database solution - originally written in Perl, it has since been updated to ASP - with a colleague.

The mixture of different people in the office, including Americans, Bulgarians, Spanish, French and Italians meant that I was exposed to a variety of different languages, cultures and approaches which broadened my horizons. Having such a diverse working environment improved my communication skills, confidence and teamwork skills.

In addition to work, I was privelidged to be a part of the congregation at Holy Trinity Brussels, a wonderful Anglican church in the heart of Brussels. I was able to get involved in the Youth Work as well as leading several morning and evening services there and found it a place of peace, reflection, nuturing and refreshment and recommend it to anyone.

In conclusion, I believe that living and working abroad in a foreign language has been a wonderful experience for me, personally and professionally.

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