My dream Erasmus+ traineeship with EF Education First
Molly Davis studies Spanish and Italian Studies at the University of Liverpool and is spending her year abroad doing an Erasmus+ traineeship in Málaga and then moving onto Palermo, Italy, to study. She is documenting everything on her YouTube channel (Molly's Year Abroad) and, inspired by our article on using your blog to reflect on your year abroad, she wrote this article about her time in Málaga during her first semester.
The work placement or 'traineeship' option of an Erasmus Year (or Year Abroad) can perhaps be the most daunting. The act of finding a job, translating your CV and, in some cases, doing a Skype Interview in the target language can put many people off the idea all together. My advice would be to push through all of the difficult admin business and go for it, because you could end up on your dream work placement (just like I did!).
My work placement was based in Málaga, Spain. I worked for a Spanish teaching school (aimed at foreign students) The company I worked for is called EF Education First. It wasn't a paid work placement but I received free accommodation, bus travel and airport transfers. My main job role was based in the Activities Department where I assisted the Activities Coordinator. Did I enjoy it? YES!
2. What is EF Education First?
EF Education First Ltd is an international education company that specialises in language training and educational travel. With offices in over 52 countries of the world and over 16 products on offer, EF Education First Ltd is the world leading company in the field of language travel. If you would like to learn more about the company and what they have to offer, then you can visit ef.com.
3. Why did I want to work for EF Education First?
When I first started searching for job placements, I quickly became trapped in the cycle of only looking for English teaching placements in public Spanish schools (as I believed these would be the most beneficial to an Erasmus student). After a while I came to the realisation that my love for languages spanned even further than teaching English to young students who, to be quite frank, would probably not care. I really wanted to work for a company that shared the same values as I did, and loved learning new cultures and new languages just like me and EF Education First as a company satisfies all of these requirements. This is where my journey becomes slightly complicated.
4. How did I find the position?
Unlike many people who find a work placement abroad, I had already worked for the company EF Education First in the UK. I discovered EF in 2013 just before I left for university when I stumbled across some people in magenta t-shirts leading a group of children around my city. After speaking to their leader and discovering more about the company and the summer programme they run in the UK- I became hooked. I immediately applied to work as a leader the summer 2014. After working one “EF Summer” in 2014 I was invited to the prestigious “Leadership Academy” where I met the Head of Recruitment for Europe (who I cheekily asked whether he could perhaps, maybe, possibly ask if I could work in Spain). A couple of months later… I had my work placement.
Perhaps my dream work placement was born out of luck and circumstance but that isn’t to say that EF does not normally offer internships for Erasmus students (the best place to look for these availabilities is on www.ef.com/careers or on their Linked In profile).
5. What did my job entail?
As I mentioned before I worked within the Activities Department of the school which meant a whole lot of fun things! Every day consisted of a different activity (whether it is cultural, sporty, historical or adventurous) and my job was essentially: to organise the activity and to accompany the students on their activities. During the day I was on the reception and during the evening I was also helping out in the residence (where I lived).
6. Why did I love it so much?
Working for EF is a blessing in itself. You are constantly surrounded by people who have the same love for travel and languages as you do, which means that there are endless adventure stories to hear and tell and hours of laughter between newly formed friends. But the best part of this particular role was that I was able to experience so much of Málaga and the Spanish culture (and for free!!). I will just give you a little example of the adventures I was able to go on in my time at EF Málaga: Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada, Ronda, Surf Trips, Horse Riding, Arabic Baths and Spa, Museums, Art Galleries, Mojito Nights, and Cathedral and Churros. All of this was free to me as I was a member of staff. I was given the most amazing opportunity to explore and experience one of the world’s richest cultures as an integrated part of my job. Not only was the activities aspect amazing, but I also met the most amazing people. The school itself welcomes students from all over the world with an age range from 14 all the way up to 79 (most of the students were my age though!). I can now truly say that I have a family that transcends continents, cultures and languages, and this is something I will never forget.
So there you have it! It may not have been the most conventional work placement but it truly was the best five months of my life and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.