Amelia Walker: Case Study, Italy 2022

I am writing this final entry to the John Speak Language Trust from Milan, Italy, two and a half years after I was first awarded the scholarship.

Back in 2022, this foundation helped me to move from Sheffield to Florence in order to complete a yearlong Master’s degree in Fashion Design –this move changed the way my days have looked ever since.

Looking back at this time is something incredibly special to me and I am grateful to have this opportunity to reflect on the fantastic impact that it has made.

In Florence, I was able to study in a language that I was set on mastering, in an authentic environment where I could be fully immersed in Italian culture. Undergoing tutorials, presenting and justifying work at University is something that as a “creative” is always daunting. However, the satisfaction and confidence that came with doing this in Italian was overwhelming. In this way, I was exposed to diverse and contemporary ways of thinking about work, and I fully recognize today the profound effect that this had on my career.


I was intimidated by the idea of interacting solely in Italian. Having worked in Italy some years previously, I was comfortable with technical language used in the studio (explaining technical drawings and asking for help when drafting pattern blocks or needing to borrow scissors). As a student completing an Internship, I was so focused on work that I invested little time on social interactions outside of the workplace or integrating myself within a working community. Yet my return to Italy was an entirely different story. I was inundated with support from the wonderful people that I met, encouraging me to immerse myself in the language and the lifestyle. Free time was spent cooking together, sharing ideas, exploring and travelling with newfound friends. We remain extremely close and are now scattered across Italy in various pursuits and areas of commerce.

Coming from Sheffield and finding myself now working as a womenswear designer in one of fashion’s capital cities is a scenario that I hadn’t imagined possible for me. I come across very few British people in my field, even fewer from the North of England, and I believe that this gives me a unique insight and understanding of the Industry. Honing my skills and broadening my horizons by working and living in Italy has become a part of my identity and I am incredibly proud to be representing the Trust and my home Country on this stage

I often look forward to returning home as being abroad has really helped me to understand what is special about the UK.

However, for now I find myself completely immersed in the life built here in Italy. After much studying, I was awarded my Italian citizenship at the end of 2023 which continues to open doors for exciting possibilities across Europe.

As I continue to be shaped both personally and professionally by these different cultures, I am proud to be recognised as a product of collaboration and support across borders.

A huge thank you to The John Speak Language Trust for the encouragement and support in these endeavors! I am more than happy to talk with any other young professionals who are considering a similar course of action that have also sought the assistance of John Speak.


Posted in Case Study, Monthly Reports