How can the FLSco programme make our students dream big? Hélène Wu, our alumni from the LFS promotion 2017 shares with us her experience at LFS, and how our school helped her build her next steps.
Hi Helene, you graduated from LFS in 2017, can you tell us more about your LFS years?
I was coming from the Chinese education system, life at LFS was a true discovery. The French education system gives importance to a more complete education, and highlights literature and scientific courses equally. We had many extracurricular options we could choose from. On my side, I joined the choir and the badminton team. The school is well equipped, and I had the opportunity to try many different sports I had never practiced before.
My first year was probably the most difficult because I couldn’t speak a word of French when I joined LFS. I had to spend a lot of time revising before each exam. All my teachers and classmates helped me a lot and I really enjoyed the general atmosphere at LFS.
When you arrived at LFS, you didn’t speak French and had to join the FLSco programme. How did FLSco help you? What memories do you have from this experience?
Without FLSco, my studies at LFS would have been so much harder. I joined LFS in Grade 9, and all my literature classes were replaced by FLSco. Starting from the last trimester of Grade 9, I started following literature classes with my classmates.
My FLSco teacher, Ms. Petragallo, used to start every class with necessary vocabulary for daily life as well as grammar and conjugation foundations. She also helped me to better understand homework, better prepare, revise and correct exams.
I must say, sometimes FLSco was a safe place for me when I faced difficulties in my school life. I was always listened to and helped in FLSco classes.
On which aspects do you think FLSco helped shaping your path after LFS?
High school years are crucial for teenagers, and with FLSco, my level of French quickly improved, which enabled me to better follow my other classes. During this time, students try to figure out who they are, and what their true interests are. Having a language barrier can be a real obstacle when it comes to deciding what your future will look like. Yet, thanks to FLSco, I was able to access a wider range of opportunities. To apply for different schools, the FLSco team really helped me improve and proofread my cover letters.
What do you do now and what do you aspire to become after graduation?
I studied a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in Switzerland, followed by a master’s degree related to the cosmetics industry in France and Italy, where I focused on both scientific and business skills. I spent my second year in Italy, which gave me the opportunity to do a 6-month internship in cosmetics in Milan.
I recently finished my internship and was offered to stay and work as a Project Manager focused on clients and innovation. I currently work full-time. In parallel, I am working on my thesis and defense. Even though I am involved in the business world of cosmetics, I don’t want to close doors and wish to keep exploring my potential in other industries in the future.
Do you have any pieces of advice to give students currently in the FLSco programme and who wish to continue their higher education in Europe?
We sometimes assess a school just for the school itself, without taking the choice of the faculty into account. But knowing in which department you want to study in is crucial as you may not have access to the same resources. If you want to improve your French, you can also look for a school or university where French will be spoken.
I would recommend trying to actively get involved in your new environment, it can really make your life abroad easier, especially if you are alone. You can join associations or practice your hobbies to meet new people. It will make you practice your foreign language and enable you to settle down in your new country more easily. Living abroad and being away from your family can seem difficult and different, but do not get discouraged. You can do this!