Philippa was a Language Assistant in Córdoba and is now a teacher

Philippa was a Language Assistant in Córdoba and is now a teacher Córdoba by CameliaTWU

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 8th March 2012 and has been read 30540 times.

Philippa studied French with Hispanic studies at the University of Liverpool and spent her year abroad as an English Language Assistant in Córdoba, Spain. She graduated in 2008 and is now a French and Spanish A Level teacher.
"During my year abroad I spent ten months working in a Primary School in Córdoba, Spain as an English Language Assistant. Having started Spanish ab. initio in my first year of University, I found the year I spent working in Spain invaluable to my progress in the language. On arrival in Spain I had a very limited vocabulary as the University course focused mainly on catching up with grammar. Living and working with a group of Spaniards and enrolling onto a ‘Spanish for foreigners’ course at the local University accelerated my learning so that, within eight weeks of arriving in Spain, my Spanish was fairly fluent. When the time came for me to leave Córdoba the following year I was fluent, not only in the grammatical and taught aspects of the Castilian Spanish, but also the colloquialisms and street language that I had picked up through spending a large amount of time with native speakers.

More importantly, in my opinion, than the linguistic skills I gained during my year abroad were the opportunities to learn and explore a different culture, the life-long friends I made in the process and the independence I achieved from living so far away from friends and family. Thanks to my year abroad, I have had the opportunity to travel across the globe and visit friends I made whilst in Spain, from Italy to Japan.

Upon returning from my year abroad I felt a lot more confident speaking Spanish and I am certain that, had I not spent my year abroad in Spain, I would neither have the interest or the ability to be teaching A-Level Spanish as I am currently doing. Before my year abroad, I had not considered teaching as a career option, however, having enjoyed my time as a language assistant so much, I decided, after a brief period as a Multilingual Recruitment Consultant, to embark on a PGCE and I am now thoroughly enjoying my career as a French and Spanish Teacher.

I attribute my love of the Spanish culture to my experiences on my year abroad, and now regularly return to Spain for the various different festivals and carnivals that are held there throughout the year. I had never been to Spain before my year abroad, my family preferring to holiday in France and Italy, and had I not had the opportunity to experience living and working there, I may not have ever visited Spain and thus have had the chance to expel the preconceptions I had of holidaying there.

I will be forever thankful of the opportunities experiencing a year abroad has given me and the abundant memories I gained from participating. I am constantly recommending my A-Level students to pick a course with a Study Abroad option, knowing how much they will benefit both personally and professionally in the future."

In partnership with the British Academy and University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) we gathered short reports from graduates on the importance that the year abroad has had for them, in terms of their skill set, their careers and their lives. These reports formed the basis of the Position Statement: Valuing the Year Abroad. Browse the reports below for inspiration, and select a tag within a report to read more on that theme.

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