Julia Rozet, 28, from Bordeaux, France, attended her local European Job Day in 2007 without a clear idea of what she was looking for, seeking instead an opportunity to live in a new culture with a different working environment. She had always been attracted by Spanish culture, so when she found out about a Leonardo da Vinci project in a cultural research centre in Seville, Spain, it seemed perfect. The Leonardo scheme was set up by the European Commission to support international opportunities in the field of vocation learning; projects range from small-scale, single-company initiatives to international, multi-organisation ventures.
With her Master’s degree in heritage promotion and local development, and her three years of professional experience in the field, she fitted the desired profile well, and quickly applied – successfully. “When this opportunity was offered to me I seized it with both hands,” says Julia. “I think I was selected because of my academic and professional background on the one hand but also because of my flexibility: I am able to adapt to new situations quickly and was ready for a new, different challenge.”
Julia lived in Seville for the Leonardo programme between January and May 2008, but the adventure didn’t stop there! She returned to Spain again in June to look for more permanent work, and was offered a new project at the company where she had previously been working. Julia will work there with the team until the end of November researching the industrial heritage of Andalusia, as well as working on specialist projects in some of the museums of Seville.
For example, she’s currently working on a programme for children in the archaeological museum to teach them about life during Roman times by engaging them with archaeological objects from everyday life. “Not everyone would like to be in my situation, what with being on short-term contracts all the time, but I really enjoy my work – and it actually suits me very well while I decide what I want my next professional steps to be.” Whatever she decides, she is pretty sure she wants to stay in Spain, and she knows that her EURES Adviser, Catherine Galharret, is there to help with any questions she may have.
Seville has offered Julia a combination of experiences: alongside her interesting work she has got involved in the strong local culture, and has fond memories of taking part in La Feria de Sevilla in the traditional costume and learning to dance ‘sevillanas’. She has also had the opportunity to improve her Spanish and meet lots of friends from all over the world. “I learnt Spanish at school and I think I was seduced by the culture before I even thought about living here. In 2007 I took part in a language course at the Institute Cervantes which provided a great base for me when I arrived here.”
“But this is just my story; maybe it will inspire others to experience their own. Everyone has different hopes and fears about such a big change, but I am really glad I took this opportunity – it has surpassed my expectations, which were already high.”