Lingomap: Erasmus over…What next?

Hola a todos!

Wow, so we’ve come to my last blog!

My year abroad is over and I could not be sadder, I have had such great time both in Toulouse and Granada, I have gained amazing friends (whom I cannot wait to visit already), I’ve seen amazing places and have had an incredible experience “erasmusing”.

But I guess, all good things must come to an end, which means I need to start thinking about what’s next for me…which is rather scary, as my final year of university is fast approaching.

After having returned home, and reflecting on my experience, not only have I learnt a lot about myself but I have gained and improved skills on my year abroad.On my Erasmus, I’ve met people from all walks of life and from many different countries, which has allowed me to become more open-minded and learn about different countries and nationalities. Also, by living with Spanish, Chilean, French, and German people throughout my year abroad I had to immerse myself in the cultures of both countries but also adapt to many other cultures, which is a skill that I am very grateful for and that is valued by employers.

Confidence. I’ve gained confidence on myself but also on my language skills. After having to deal with French bureaucracy and Spanish landlords… I’m no longer scared of making mistakes, I just want to get my message across in the target language. It’s all about stepping out of that comfort zone, talking as much as you can in the language and learning as you go along. Also, the locals really appreciate us making the effort to speak their language and most of the French and Spanish people I met were always willing to help me improve my language skills, and I have gained expressions and vocabulary that I would never have learnt from a textbook.

 

So, year abroad over and what now?

I’m home now, which feels strange to come back to my little welsh town after having lived in two of my new favourite cities the past 10 months, I miss the people, their accents, cheap prices for food and drinks, and the beauty of both cities. However, it is nice to eat my mum’s food, not having to cook for myself and being able to spend time with my family.

But, I do keep finding myself googling flights back to Granada, Toulouse, and to visit friends I have made. This summer, in exactly 10 days I’m returning to Toulouse to au pair for a month which means I get to live with a French family, look after their children, learn more about their culture, show them mine and practice French 24/7. Then, I plan to visit some of my French friends in Brittany, Lille and some of my friends in Germany, this is a perk of Erasmus: making friends from everywhere. Since being home I have spent so much time face-timing my friends from abroad and cannot wait to be reunited with them.

Here are some of my favourite moments from this last semester in Granada:

  • Meeting these Spaniards

  • Being so close to my other home: Lisbon, Portugal

  • Wandering the streets of Granada

 

  • Showing my friends from home around… you probably recognise Liam- check his blogs out from his time in Brussels and Ciudad Real. I must say that all of my friends who came to visit, LOVED Granada and were blown away!

  • Getting cultured: flamenco shows, Feria de Granada during Corpus Christi, supporting the Granada football team

  

The parade of the cabezudos (big heads) and los reyes catolicos (Catholic monarchs) was insane, this was held to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi

  • A trip to Morocco, probably one of my favourite trips as I always dreamt of riding a camel, and Chefchaouen (the blue town) was incredible.

  • Beach hoping with these guys, decided to rent a car and wander the south of Spain

As for after my degree, after this year abroad I have definitely come to the conclusion that my future job should consist of me interacting with people, I like talking and sharing what I know. I also really enjoy working with young people so I think I would enjoy a career in teaching in a secondary school. I love that feeling of fulfilment I get when teaching children and seeing them reaching that ‘lightbulb moment’.

On the other hand, I think I would also love to interpret. I have had many moments on my year abroad where I was able to, for example, help a French man out at a butcher’s in Spain, and translating between my French and Spanish housemates who couldn’t speak each other’s languages. Little moments like this, made me realise how skilled us linguists are, and how we can help others. Being part of the interpretation services for prisons is an option on my list, it would be a challenge but a valuable experience. But at the same time, I also love the thought of teaching…

So, it’s either a Masters in Interpreting or a PGCE after I finish my degree. It’s crazy to think that this time next year, I will have finished my degree and have made my decision between masters and PGCE. Even if things change completely in the next year, I’m 100% sure my language skills will always be useful.

I’m so thankful for this year abroad, the friendships that made, and everything I experienced the last 10 months. I used to find it so cheesy when people said that they had the time of their lives moving abroad for a year, but even though it’s hard to adapt at first… I can say that I too had the time of my life, and I definitely recommend doing a  year abroad to everyone.

For the time being, my focus, for now, is to enjoy the summer, successfully finish my last year of uni, and continue to work for Routes into Languages and hopefully share more in detail my Erasmus experience and languages with some of you guys.Hope you guys have finished your exams and enjoy the summer holidays.

 

Big thank you to all of you who have read my blogs.

 

Melissa

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