Meet: Maria

Meet Maria, a Level 1 ESOL student at Oaklands College who since beginning her course at college, has opened up her own business.


Name: Maria
Course Studied: ESOL Level 1 English

We sat down with Oaklands College ESOL student Maria, to learn more about her time at the college and what she is looking to achieve next.

Tell us about your time at Oaklands so far. What led you to study here and what have you enjoyed about your time at the college?

I originally started at Oaklands in 2018 to progress further in English that would help me to find a job related to my degree.

During my two years at Oaklands, I have met different people of all ages, cultures and from different countries. This is something that I liked as I’m from Spain and enjoyed a multicultural class.

Does your chosen career relate your studies, how has it evolved over time and what did you learn at Oaklands?

At first I wanted to further my English because of my degree in Human Resources but since starting in 2018, I actually went on to start up my own company.

This happened because of my learning and made me realise that I am able to do this, so I did! Spring 2019 I started my company to sell Spanish and Portuguese products online and at markets, I am still trading today! (Six weeks into the pandemic lockdown).

I was able to do this because of the more technical wording needed to set everything up and continue the business.

What has the ESOL course helped you to achieve?

It helped me to achieve a goal of having my own company, integrate more within the community without feeling like the outsider and further my English.

Tell us about your teachers, how have they helped your learning?

I found the teachers very helpful, understanding with my life/job especially when I arrive a bit late to class because of work.

They would give current life situations as learning examples that helped everyone. Plenty of home working as well, I personally loved that as it meant I could focus at home and building up my English skill to the level that I wanted.

Tell me about your recent employment, what is your role and how has the ESOL course helped you whilst at work?

I am currently self-employed with my own company. The ESOL course helped me to achieve this.

I have to contact my UK-based suppliers everyday. I now understand what is required and the technical language used. Speaking to my customers online, over the phone and via email, the ESOL course helped me to build this confidence to speak and write the English language.

What are your plans for the future, once you leave Oaklands College?

To progress further in my company and take it to the next level! Oaklands College has already allowed me to achieve this by giving me the confidence to start up and will allow me to carry on.

What would you say have been major highlights of your working life that you may wish to share with us and our students?

The major highlight of my working life so far in the UK is starting up an online company, speaking to customers around the UK fluently and with confidence.

What advice would you give to today’s Oaklands students if you had a chance?
Be persistent, grow confidence and try new exciting things. All of these, Oaklands College can bring out the best of any student.

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