Jill was a Language Assistant in Stuttgart and now has a German-speaking role at P&G

Jill was a Language Assistant in Stuttgart and now has a German-speaking role at P&G Stuttgart by D Petzold Photography

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 29th April 2012 and has been read 34608 times.

Jill studied German at the University of Leeds and spent her year abroad working as an English Language Assistant for the British Council at the Ferdinand-Porsche School in Stuttgart, Germany. She graduated in 2009 and now has a German-speaking role at Procter & Gamble.
"My role was to plan and take lessons with large groups of pupils, work with smaller groups of pupils on specific tasks and also give one-to-one help to students who are struggling with their class work. The pupils ages ranged from 9-19 and I found teaching them demanding but very rewarding. I also planned my own timetable for various classes for the duration of my employment. This job helped me develop my organisational, leadership and time management skills, which has certainly helped me in my working life.

The best thing about the year abroad for me was having the opportunity to practise the language I was learning with native speakers in the country itself. This is completely different to speaking to other English students in a foreign language and it helped me to expand my vocabulary extensively. It was also lovely to experience the culture of the country first-hand. I was able to see how they celebrate Christmas in Germany with the traditional Christmas markets and also visit a spring festival, which was really lovely.

I had spare time in the evenings to be able to continue studying German at a local night school for adults, which really helped my command of German improve.

Being able to say you have worked abroad looks really good on your CV and in job interviews I can always use examples from my year abroad to show I have the right skills for the job. Living and working abroad at a young age shows I have determination, the ability to work in new environments and handle new challenges. I have been able to draw on experiences from my year abroad during in job interviews.

I currently have a German-speaking role at Procter & Gamble. I doubt I would have the same level of fluency in German had I not spent a university year there and this has really helped me in this role, as I use the language every day.

In my spare time on my year abroad I also had the opportunity to trave to places I had never been before - Belgium, France, Austria and Italy. The year abroad was undoubtedly one of the most influential experiences of my life. The experience of living in a foreign country, speaking a different language every day and teaching abroad has not only made me a more confident person but has helped me to integrate with all nationalities and broaden my horizons."

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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