Ilze studied in Grenoble on her year abroad and is now a social policy consultant for UNICEF in Florence
By the end of that year, I spoke French, I had gained several life-long friendships, and I had received a university diploma ‘Politique et Administration Internationales’. The experience and knowledge I gained gave me many things I am grateful for. The most important thing I gained, however, was a greater self-confidence and more trust in my own capabilities. I realised that everything is possible, as long as I work hard and trust myself. I applied for an internship in Brussels, and I got accepted after finishing my exchange year in Grenoble. It was a very valuable three-month experience, which helped me realise what I wanted to do in the future.
After that I came back to Scotland where finished my final year and received a first class degree. My grades and experience got me into the Graduate School of Governance in the Netherlands where I did my MsC in Public Governance and Human Development. As part of my studies, I was selected to go to Mauritius to carry out a field work for three months, mainly because of my experience with living abroad and because I spoke French.
The project in Mauritius, the internship in Brussels, the language skills, as well as multicultural experience, all helped me getting my present job in Florence. I am currently working as a social policy consultant for UNICEF’s research centre in Florence. My job involves developing a methodology to evaluate children’s state of well-being in the developing as well as the developed countries. I work in English and French on a daily basis. It would certainly not have been possible to get this position and do a job I really enjoy without the language skills and the confidence I gained during my exchange year in France."
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.