After receiving a phone call that I had been awarded BBM Youth Support Award which would lead to the most prestigious and life-changing experience of my life, I spent months and months preparing; organizing my trip to the UK under the BBM Youth Support Award for Ballet. I received the award in 2010, but after much deliberation with my family and BBM Youth Support, I decided to take up the Award in 2012 – after I had completed my HSC school education, and also after my 18th birthday – so I was eligible for the essential Tier 4 Youth Mobility Visa to the UK (allowing me to both work and study full time for up to two years). This visa was absolutely necessary for me, as I had contacted various schools, colleges and companies applying to attend for a period of time, but I also needed to work in the UK to sustain myself there.
I began at the BBM Youth Support office in Wynyard. I contacted previous awardees and read their reports, understanding the important lessons they had learnt and what they enjoyed the most. I concluded that most people did not travel alone – or if they did they were met by someone or had a home organized for when they arrived – and that many had chosen particular times to go; i.e. during the audition season, the competition period, and for various workshops and holidays schools. Unfortunately I had no contacts in England, nor had I anyone to travel with me, so the host family option sounded the most appealing. Fortunately, my older sister had travelled to England to work, a few years previously, and still kept in contact with a lady she had roomed with for the majority of her time: her name was Joan; she lived in Oxford, and became my second mum as time wore on.
For many months before I left, ‘Google’ was my best friend. I researched everything I found associated with dance in the UK, and emailed them in pleading my story to ask if I could observe or even take part in their classes. I learned that London was where I wanted to be centred (it is the key area for dance in the UK), and that I wanted to travel up to Scotland and even parts of Europe. Most places I had emailed were not very helpful and some didn’t even reply, but others were extremely supportive and sent me details about their auditions, courses and dates in which I could visit. Unfortunately, as I learned when I arrived in the UK, many places who had said I was welcome to visit turned out to be too busy or could somehow not accommodate me anymore. So while I was there I constantly checked forums, researched, and emailed colleges as I found out about them – by word of mouth or at the dance expo ‘Move It!’ I attended in February.Update Your Details