Kelly Thornhill, Founder of Adventures in Spanish
A boutique language school dedicated to helping students discover the Hispanic world through learning Spanish
I became an entrepreneur for one reason: to reunite my family.
Pablo, my partner, is Argentinian and currently lives over there. I’m living in Crewe with our two daughters, who are home-educated and being raised bilingual by a single parent.
We’re separated due to an immigration law which states that I, as a supporting British spouse to a non-EU partner, must earn a Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) of £18,600pa before we can begin the VISA application process. My daughters haven’t seen their dad in the flesh since April 2018. He used to visit us on a tourist VISA for six months at a time, but the process became too traumatic for everyone – especially the girls.
I’ve always been a fighter – having survived growing up with an alcoholic mother, dad leaving us when I was 14 and being made homeless at 17. After putting myself through college and university, I spent years travelling the globe – living and working in a number of South American countries, which is where my fluency in Spanish skyrocketed and I met Pablo in Argentina.
Following many successes overseas – becoming a dive master, setting up a lucrative magazine and running a travel agency specialising in wine tours – I was devastated when Pablo couldn’t, as planned, join us in the UK.
In 2013, I founded Adventures in Spanish and it’s grown ever since; however, if I was going to reach the MIR by December this year, I needed a supplemental income… In October 2018 I became an independent distributor with an optimal nutrition company – a life-changing decision for a myriad of personal and business-related reasons; then, six weeks earlier than targeted, I hit the MIR.
Heading into the New Year – knowing I need to maintain my current income for another 12 months before Pablo can apply for a VISA – I’m going to take everything one day at a time and fully prepare both myself and the girls for what’s ahead. January, in particular, will be a significant month because I’ll be celebrating 15 years of sobriety.
I want my story to conclude with a message of hope: if you’re at peace with yourself, you CAN overcome difficulties and lead a happy, successful life.