"It was a great opportunity to meet diverse people with multicultural and professional backgrounds"
I am Komala from Sri Lanka, a mother of two kids, and professionally a chef at Cambridge University. I came to the UK in 2015 from Sri Lanka for my husband's postgraduate studies. In Sri Lanka, I had completed a hospitality management and culinary diploma with relevant NVQ and City & Guilds qualifications. Although I didn't work in my country as a mother with small kids, the UK presented me with many opportunities to utilise my training as a culinary artist, chef, and entrepreneur.
I consider that being able to join the Cambridge English Language Society opened many gateways for me. It allowed me to advance my English knowledge and develop various social skills. It was also a great opportunity to meet diverse people with multicultural and professional backgrounds to share each other's interests. The society organised numerous social events apart from English classes and they created great opportunities for me to develop valuable transferable skills.
Last year during the COVID pandemic, I also had a chance to recognise the entrepreneurial capacities I had. I developed my own handmade artisan soap brand N by Niro using natural plant oils and butter. With the help of my family, I also launched my own website www.nbyniro.com to sell my artisan soap, and I also began to sell them at online stores like Etsy and E-Bay.
During this period, I was also invited to join the CELS professional group. This was a great experience because it allowed me to meet with various other entrepreneurs and highly skilled professionals. In this group, we had weekly professional meetings, and in them, everyone had opportunities to learn how to take on various responsibilities within an organisation as well as to practice formal roles like chair and secretary. The culmination of the activities of the group came with its annual conference titled 'My English Language Drive' held online in 2020, in which the mayor of Cambridge participated as the chief guest. At this conference, I had the opportunity to give a presentation featuring my professional development and language practice.
Overall I believe that the social events, professional group meetings, and language workshops organised by CELS tremendously helped me to develop my innate abilities, social confidence, and leadership skills. I was also able to progress my professional career with the inspiration of CELS activities and projects. I heartily wish the success for all future CELS projects and invite you all to join us to develop your career.