Month: January 2017

Moving to London? Some tips to prepare your luggage

Hello, English speakers. During the last few weeks we have given you advice to help you achieve your career goals. Today, instead we are going to speak about less metaphorical journeys. Indeed, since most of you don’t come from London – and are frequent travellers, we thought it would be useful to give you some practical tips to make your life easier. If you have already moved to London you might consider them helpful for your next trip, and if haven’t, this is some great advice to keep in mind before coming to visit us.


  • First thing’s first: make a list. You might not be a list person, but let’s face it, if you don’t make one, the risk of forgetting important items to store in your luggage is high, and there is nothing worse than discovering you have forgotten your lucky jumper right when you need to wear it.
  • Be aware of the length of your stay. We know that you are tempted to bring with you most of the things you own (everything but the kitchen sink), but that doesn’t work. Remember that there is a weight limit to respect, so choose carefully what you really need. Considering the weather forecasts before making your choice might help you to go through this hard choice.
  • When packing, remember to fold your clothes neatly, arranging the heavier fabrics at the bottom. Instead of creating a tall pile made up with all your folded clothes, it would be better to fill in both the sides of the luggage and then firm the content with the strings attached to both the sides. In this way your items won’t crease and you’ll be able to wear ironed clothes even after a long flight.
  • Place your fragile and precious items in the middle of your luggage, in this way there will be several layers of clothes to protect them from impact.
  • Cover the soles of your shoes. This is imperative. There is nothing worse than dirtying your clothes just because you didn’t think about this simple action. You can cover the sole of your shoes with papers or plastic bags. Use something “easy to shape”, this way you won’t waste useful room inside the luggage
  • Pay attention to your liquids: seal them! It is obvious that you have to seal your bottles but, as always in life, attention to detail makes a huge difference. If you cover your bottles with plastic envelopes (the ones you can seal) your probability of success will increase exponentially. More importantly, your clothes will be safe from stains.
  • Once arrived, place your items outside your luggage. Use wardrobes and dressers: luggage is great to transport your clothes, but there are better places to store them!


Despite the fact that some of these tips might be obvious for some of you, for others they might be the key to less stressful trips and the beginning of an enjoyable stay here in London!


Maria Chiara Strano

move to london blog

The art of having a plan B

Hey there, Speak Up London friends. Last week’s blog post was about helping you make your career dreams come true by doing a kick-ass interview. This week, we’re reflecting on the fact that sometimes things just don’t end up the way we’d hoped. That’s why today, we’re revealing successful people’s biggest secret: they have a plan B.

Ok, it isn’t a secret, but you’d be amazed to know how many people let their lives be determined by the flow of events. The real difference between these people and the ones that you end up admiring is that the latter know that life is unpredictable. So what’s the best way of beating this unpredictability? Our suggestion is to learn the art of having a plan B.

The first step towards learning the art of having a plan B is not thinking that it’s an excuse to neglect plan A. Focus on your plan A because that’s your main goal, but remember that being aware of having other options will release some of the tension and as a consequence, you might be able to reach your goal more easily.

Rule number two is, be realistic. It doesn’t make sense to formulate a plan B that is much less likely to work out than plan A.
Remember that a backup plan shouldn’t be a consolation prize. You’ll need to spend time and effort working on plan B, so make sure it’s a viable alternative – something you really want. Don’t settle for less.

The last important point to remember is that having a plan B is more a state of mind than an actual strategy. In fact, being open to the idea of changing your plans in reaction to unexpected events is something you should do regularly in your life, because if not you might miss out a lot of unexpected new opportunities. Who knows, you might end up loving plan B more than plan A.

Do’s and don’ts during interviews

Here at Speak Up London we like to think that our school represents for all of you the chance to start on your path towards the fulfilment of your dreams. We understand that for most of you the first step to reach that sweet spot is receiving a job offer.


We’re pretty sure you already know a lot about the job hunt, constantly looking for new opportunities that might help you reach your goals. In the light of this, dear friends, Speak Up London would like to give you a few extra tips to put you guys on the right track and help you tackle one of the most stressful moments of the application process: the interview.


Here are our “do’s and don’ts” during an interview:




  • Be confident: if you’ve made it this far, it’s because of your skills, so show your interviewers that you are also confident enough to develop that potential.
  • Make eye contact: it might sound a cliché, but in order to engage with your audience while you’re speaking, it is really important to make them feel part of the conversation.
  • Dress to impress: you always have to market the best version of yourself, so try to think about the kind of position you are applying for and dress one notch above what is considered suitable for that job.
  • Do your homework: this can’t be stressed enough. If you get an interview you should always be prepared so look for as much information as you can about that company and the industry. It’ll pay off!
  • Ask questions: you should always consider interviews as “two-sided”, so don’t think of it as a monologue. They are deciding whether to invite you on board, and in case of success, you want to know if they’re right for you as much as you are for them.




  • Don’t arrive late: despite this sounding obvious, it is just to remind you that you’ll have only that one opportunity to persuade your interviewers that you are perfect for the job. Don’t waste it!
  • Don’t be arrogant: being confident is a must but being overconfident is a huge mistake. Think about it: would you like to work closely with someone too presumptuous?
  • Don’t leave your phone switched on: we are sure you already know it, but we just want to remind you how profoundly this simple action might affect your performance on the day of your interview. Don’t let a call from your friend distract you or irritate your interviewers!
  • Don’t say “I don’t know”: I don’t know wasn’t a clever answer when you were at school and it still doesn’t sound smart. Try to have an opinion, think carefully about the question they ask you and try to answer carefully using all the knowledge about the subject that you have.
  • Don’t be unprepared: although it is not possible to predict the future; there are some typical questions during interviews that can be predicted. Study your CV and try to rehearse the story it narrates while you prepare for the interview: the most likely topic of discussion is going to be you.

Maria Chiara Strano

Do's and don'ts during interviews