Eleanor is now a PA in a Paris law firm
Eleanor studied French and Management at the University of East Anglia, and spent her year abroad working in Vélizy, on the outskirts of Paris. She graduated in 2008 and now works as a PA for a Paris law firm.
"I spent my year abroad on a placement as an Admin Assistant at the telecommunications company Alcatel (now Alcatel-Lucent). Working within this international company allowed me to meet people from all over the world.
My original placement was for 8 months but I extended it to 11 months as I didn't want to leave. I lived in the centre of Paris during my stay and fell in love with the city.
My year abroad gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in French life, gain a working knowledge of the French language, and gave me a year’s invaluable work experience. I made friends during my year in Paris who I know will be friends for life.
After graduating I immediately found a job in Paris as a PA in a law firm. Without having had a year abroad I would not have been considered for this job.
With the economic climate making finding employment so difficult, having a year abroad on your CV is a clear advantage. A year abroad allows students to gain real work experience and the opportunity to become fluent in their chosen language which just isn’t possible in a classroom.
After my year abroad I returned to my final year of university with more confidence and with a real passion for the French language and life in France! Paris now feels like a second home to me and I am so grateful I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience a year abroad."
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.