Quelle horreur! I can’t believe that my Year Abroad is over! It has flown by so fast and I have learnt so much in the 7 months I have spent living in the South of France. Not only have I vastly improved my language skills but also my knowledge and awareness of French culture. Although admittedly, I only really got used to French table manners (etiquette comportement à table) at the end of my stay…. Being so used to keeping my hands on my lap in England, I struggled to grasp that it is polite in France to keep your hands on the table and the expressive hand gestures that the French use so easily!
Working in the two Primary Schools, meeting the children and forming close relationships with many of the teachers has without a doubt been an experience that I will treasure forever. I think that it is only when you leave a place that you realise how much you have grown and how much you will miss it. I can say that finishing this year I am much more independent and confident in my ability to problem solve and thrive speaking a different language. This year has made me a clearer and more effective communicator, which definitely makes me more employable. I have learned to effectively communicate both through using English to teach children and through using French to make and maintain friendships whilst in France.
Career wise, my experience as an English Language assistant has been invaluable. I have always been interested in communication and recently I am thinking about pursuing a Masters course in Speech and Language Therapy after my current degree. Peut- être je vais devenir orthophoniste. This year I have closely worked with a disabled class as part of my role, who have inspired me greatly. Out of all the students I worked with, they were the most enthusiastic to learn English and we had lots of fun playing games, reading stories and singing songs. Their favourite was ‘If you are happy and you know it’! Despite their various individual needs and the struggle to communicate in their own language, they loved English and wanted to learn as much as they could. As a result we both became better communicators at the end of our time working together. I learned to use simpler and clearer expressions to explain activities in both English and French and they mastered key questions and answers in English. This particular class showed me that I want to work with the disadvantaged (défavorisé) in society and help them to live their lives to the fullest. They taught me the importance of self expression and effective communication.
This is only an example of the many jobs that I could go into after studying a Language degree. Teaching is a great option as you really get to play a part in raising up and inspiring the next generation of young learners. I could work for a company or business and deal with the international side of trade (commerce international). I could go into translation, work for the British Council or I could teach English as a foreign language all over the world. Il y a un grand nombre d’opportunités. The only thing holding you back is you!
orthophoniste – speech therapist
to treasure something – garder précieusement
to problem solve – résoudre des problèmes