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English Language Teacher Assistant
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

Since I'm study Spanish its vital that I visit Spanish-speaking countries, not only to practice my Spanish but to immerse myself in the culture as you cannot truly know a language without understanding the culture of its people too.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Through family or friends

Application process

The application process has many steps. First I needed to write several essays about why I wanted to be a language assistant, the skills I have that will help me perform to my best, and what I hope to achieve from my experience. Then I had a video interview with the head of the organisation and then created a video as to why I wanted to join the organisation.

Main responsibilities

My main responsibility was helping the students with pronunciation and helping them have a more native sounding English accent. I also produced presentations about the culture of England and how it compares to the culture in Peru. With the host family I also had the responsibility of helping the children improve their English.

Typical day

On a typical day I would help in 3 classes of varying ages, helping with specific vocabulary, telling English children's stories, describing English culture through presentations and most importantly helping with pronunciation through conversations with the students or games like tongue twisters. I would then go home and have lunch with my host family and do something with them such as watch TV. We would then have dinner and watch a movie before bed.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed being surrounded by Spanish. Not only would I be talking it but it would be on the TV, street signs, everything. This helped with my Spanish immensely. I also enjoyed being able to explore Peru and learn about its rich history and culture as it made me feel as though I were truly a part of the country.

Challenging aspects

The language barrier did pose a problem at times as I would not have understand what someone had said and so with students I couldn't help them with the English equivalent, and with the family I wouldn't understand what they were asking me to do. There were also some culture differences that were challenging at first. The food took a while to get use to as it is very different from British food and meal times are also different too so it took me a while to get accustomed.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I used my Spanish-speaking skills gained from my course but also others as well such as public speaking as that was imperative for teaching English to a class. I have also learnt about Spanish linguistics from my course and so used this knowledge during my stay. For instance, I was aware that Peru uses the 'seseo' style of speaking Spanish as apposed to the 'ceceo' style used in Spain and so change my pronunciation to match that.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Teaching in Peru has made me think more seriously about becoming a language teacher and whether I would prefer to teach a foreign language in England, or teach English in another country.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Research your placement carefully before you go and try and contact someone who has done it before. Even if there are reviews for the placement on the website, they do not always tell the true story.

Other comments

When considering whether to do an overseas placement far away from Britain, such as Peru, but are put off by the cost of flight tickets, research into whether the cost of living there would actually be cheaper than having a placement closer to home. For me, while the flight was more expensive than a flight to Europe, the cost of living in Peru was so low that if I had gone to Europe I would have spent more money overall.

Form completed: 06 Sep 2017

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