15 Oct 2015 10:06 AM

I moved to the UK from Russia almost 4 years ago and I really had no idea what I was letting myself in for. All I wanted was to become fluent in English, to be able to have a full blown conversation with locals. You see, speaking - is the most difficult part when it comes to learning a foreign language. I think many people would agree with me.

Having had 2 jobs before realising my career path as an accountant, I was fortunate enough (hard work comes with it!) to join Alliotts 7 months ago and to finally start studying towards ACCA qualification. Since starting my training I have been exposed to a variety of clients of different sizes and in different sectors allowing me to see all aspects of accounts preparation - from analysing out clients' cash books and preparing VAT returns, to the actual year end financial statements. This has been extremely helpful with my studies as you get both sides of the coin - theory and practice, and, you also earn while you learn.

Here I have the opportunity to work with colleagues who are willing to share their experience and expertise to help me learn. My line manager mentors me and provides regular feedback on my work, which helps me to continually improve. There is a wide variety of assignments, which gives me the opportunity to learn something new every day, meaning no two days are the same.

Living and working in a foreign country, to my mind, is one of the best experiences anyone can ever have. It forces you to adapt to things that are unfamiliar and unusual to you. I personally became more independent and open to new, exciting, and sometimes terrifying challenges that I would never have encountered in my home country. The most rewarding of all is the opportunity to learn and develop as a person, as I’ve discovered things about myself that I not have known before – my passion and my character.

However, some of the challenges of living abroad can be tough, the hardest being the language barrier - especially in the first couple of years, when your English is not as good as you want it to be, and it can be difficult to keep up with conversation.

I have found that English people are very welcoming and this really helped me a lot in my first year. I’ve also been lucky enough to work alongside professionals who never say no and are always there if I need help or advice on any issues – to me this is very important.

My friends and family back home often ask me ‘don’t you miss Russia?’ – of course I do! In fact, I’ve never actually realised how much I love my country. I miss being able to communicate in my own language with ease.

But, if you ask me if I regret my decision? Not once!

 Natalia Lezhneva, ACCA Trainee, Alliotts Guildford Office