Helen is now a journalist for BBC Sport
Helen studied Spanish and French at the University of Exeter and spent ten months of her year abroad as an English Language Assistant in Mexico. She graduated in 2006 and is now a journalist for BBC Sport.
"Going to Mexico as a 21-year-old female was quite a daunting prospect but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was in a small town, a couple of hours from Mexico City where there were no other English speakers.
My Spanish improved no end. I was also able to fully immerse myself into Mexican life and culture and I made some really good friends. Incidentally, I am currently planning a third trip back to see them.
Aside from my language skills, I learnt to be self sufficient, to believe in myself and my abilities more. I became more confident - if you can teach English to a group of 60 young "macho" guys, you can walk into an oral exam, an interview, a new office with your head held high and brimming with confidence.
After graduating, I did a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism and I now work as a journalist for BBC Sport. During my stay in Mexico, I maintained a weblog for the BBC and I spent time at the local radio station which helped me to get on the post graduate course.
I can't imagine doing a language degree and not having a year abroad. It almost seems pointless as this is the time when you learn so much and make huge strides in your language skills."
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.