Katharine volunteered in Lisieux and Buenos Aires and now works for an NGO

Katharine volunteered in Lisieux and Buenos Aires and now works for an NGO Buenos Aires by Tadeu Pereira

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 8th March 2012 and has been read 31791 times.

Katharine did a BA in Modern Languages at The University of Sheffield and spent her year abroad on voluntary work placements in Lisieux, France, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She graduated in 2010 and is now working for an NGO back in Buenos Aires.
"I spent the first four months of my year abroad on a voluntary work placement as a youth worker intern in Lisieux, France, where I was involved in schools work and work in a deprived neighbourhood of the city. I was required to teach, translate, plan education activities, organise community activities and develop my public speaking, and therefore my language skills were challenged and improved greatly.

I then went on to spend six months on a voluntary work placement in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working for an international NGO and working in a children’s home. This placement involved teaching and educational support for the children in the home, caring for children with special needs, public speaking and taking part in a variety of community events.

Whilst the activities from the two placements appear similar, they were extremely different due to the very different cultures. My time in Argentina was a valuable experience, which benefitted the rest of my studies as I pursued further studies on Latin America. My language skills improved significantly during my two placements, as I was very involved in the local community and learned a lot about the respective cultures.

On graduation, I immediately started an internship in the UK with the NGO I had worked with in Argentina and I then went on to be employed by the charity. My Year Abroad placement played a major role in my employment, as I had gained valuable experience that benefitted the organisation. I understood the way it worked and I had a good awareness of their work ‘on the field’ in Latin America. Cultural awareness, linguistic skills and an ability to express myself well in new or different situations have all contributed to my career prospects and opportunities.

My Year Abroad experience enabled me to discover new skills and develop existing ones. I was able to discover new interests, which later developed into hobbies on my return to the UK."

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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