So, exciting stuff – I started my work placement today!
For those of you who don’t know what I’m doing, let me give you a little run down. I’m going to be working for the global bank HSBC in on of their offices in La Défense in Paris, France. For six months I will be working as an English language assistant, teaching mostly one-on-one classes with some pairs and threes here and there of HSBC employees of varying levels of English ability. And today was my first day!
I woke up this morning and there was the tiniest bit of snow settled on the scaffolding outside my bedroom window which made me happy. I love snow!
I had a pretty hard time getting to sleep last night from nerves and excitement, so I only got about six hours sleep, but I got up and in the shower to wake myself up and my myself presentable.
I left the flat at about 8:15am and arrived at La Défense at about 8:45am. I was pleasantly surprised at how not-busy the Metro was at morning rush hour, and I made it in really good time. I got to the reception of my office tower at bang on 9am because I waited for a friend who was also starting her placement today and she got lost in the train station (easily done – it’s massive).
We were both taken upstairs by her manager/tutor and he took me to my floor to meet my own manager. He introduced me to all the members of our small department and showed me to my desk. I have the most amazing view ever. Check this out!
I won’t be forgetting where I am in a hurry!
Pretty early on we had our first coffee break (which for me is a hot chocolate break) and I got to know some of the team a little bit better, and even started to joke around with some of them. My manager speaks sarcasm…wonderful!
After our break I sat down and read the little book of instructions, tips and support that my wonderful friend Sarah had written me. She left this team at HSBC in December and I’m taking over from her now. It was so nice to arrive to, she has even written me a timetable of all my lessons and booked my rooms for me. I definitely owe her a meal once I’ve been paid!! (Love you Sarah! ?)
For lunch I stuck with the team as I didn’t want to isolate myself from them for the first day, and they all seem like wonderful people so I genuinely wanted to spend time with them and get to know them better. We headed over to the other HSBC building on La Défense where the HSBC cafeteria is and I saved a table while the others got their food. Needless to say my ham baguette looked a little bit sad next to their lamb chops and fish and potatoes!
After lunch we had another coffee break (read: hot chocolate break) and we chatted some more. I forgot to mention that most of this is in English as the French is very overwhelming right now! But they made a couple of crude jokes in French and made me laugh, so I can’t be doing all too bad! They apologised and one of them said they were just preparing me for some of the worse jokes that others in the team make, but they made me laugh all the same and made me feel comfortable with them already.
Back to my desk and back to sorting through the mountain of rubbish that an English assistant from a couple of years ago left in the cupboard. I eventually managed to sort the wheat from the chaff (useful exercises from the outdated articles and doodles) and even managed to have a nice little conversation with the guy sat next to me who is super nice.
The whole team/department is really nice and really friendly. I feel very relaxed and comfortable with them already, and they’re all being very friendly, asking me lots of questions about myself and initiating conversations when I’m still too nervous to.
I think it’s a good sign that I’m excited to go back tomorrow and get working some more! Tomorrow I should have my computer user set up and my ID badge all sorted. Ooh, official!
Here is a picture of happy but tired me taking a photo with the arch at the end of the day. Although I didn’t do all that much today I am excited to start my lessons soon and finally be able to plan activities and topics and all that.
Off to bed to get a bit more sleep than last night and start tomorrow on a less sleepy note!
Until next time,