Not Good Enough

I’m an Italian young woman living in London.
I’ve been studying and practising English my entire life, and I’m almost 24 now.
I’ve spent six months studying at the University of Birmingham during my Erasmus exchange.
I got certificates to prove my English level.
I’ve been living in London for eight months now and people are surprised when I tell them I’m Italian cause they never get my accent or they think I’ve been living here for years.

Now, with all that said, I’m not trying to brag, just counting facts.
I’m currently on a job hunting, so I came across this super interesting opportunity for a role within an important newspaper (I won’t give out any specific name here).
And that’s my dream, being a journalist, writing for the press and being read by people all around the world. That’s the reason why I have my own blog and I also post on different platforms. I was like, jackpot!, I might actually get in.

Well, not really.

I emailed my CV to the recruiters and an agent wrote me back, saying that before booking an interview I had to call them as she needed to check if I could actually speak English.
Fair enough.
So I call them, the secretary puts me through to speak with the agent and the conversation goes like this:

Me: “Morning, this is *my name*. I’m calling about the interview.”
Agent: “Hi, this is *her name*. Which position did you apply for?”
Me: “*states position*. I emailed all my details the other day.”
Agent: “Right, but we’re looking for people who are fluent in English and you’re not. Bye. *hangs up*.”

I mean, what the heck is this?
I’ll tell you what I think.
Maybe this agency only wants to deal with people born and bred in Britain. Maybe they just want native speakers. Maybe they even think that a person from a different country wouldn’t be able to deliver a service with the same efficiency as a British would do.
Of course, it’s not politically correct to state something like that in a job advert. They can always come up with the you’re-not-fluent-enough story, though. Neat and clean.

Is this some “British first” sort of thing? Well, thanks, Brexit. It’s not even a thing yet and this might be already one of its side effects.

For the records, I didn’t call them back to complain and I didn’t email the newspaper to let them know about it.
Maybe I should have taken some action.
In the meantime, I’m sharing this with you, even if I’m not an investigative journalist (yet).

Chiara Pistillo

Italian young woman based in London. 24yo. Blogger, writer, journalist, traveller, translator. Curious for nature.

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