I chose all three options because I wanted to sample all the possibilities! I hoped to gain as wide a range of experiences as possible to allow me to discover what I really enjoy and what I might want to do in the future after I graduate.
I am currently doing a 6-month work placement with Air France at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. This involves teaching English to Air France staff as well as other duties such as working on the reception desk of the employee training centre known as Le Campus, posting on the Yammer English Learner social media page, setting up training programmes and language tests, and translating between French and English.
In February I will start the second half of my year abroad which is a 5-month Erasmus study placement at the University of Florence in Italy.
Was it a difficult decision?
Not particularly. I found it easy to decide to do a work placement in France because it was the option that appealed most to me. I felt that working for a French company would help me to develop a lot of skills and would really immerse me in French culture.
Ideally, I would have liked to have done work placements in both France and Italy but, after doing some research and consulting the relevant DUO page, I realised that there weren’t many paid internship opportunities in Italy besides teaching in schools.
I therefore had some difficulty in choosing whether to do a British Council Teaching Assistantship or an Erasmus study placement in Italy. In the end, the decision was made for me because the teaching assistantship position was too long (9 months if I remember rightly) meaning I could not fit it in alongside my Air France internship. I also felt more attracted to studying at a university and I didn’t really want to be in a school environment teaching children, especially as I don’t think I want to do this in the future.
Do you think you made the right decision?
Yes, I am very happy with my Air France internship. It’s been a valuable and enjoyable experience and the people in Air France have been very kind and welcoming to me. Most of my time is spent planning and delivering lessons which means I am getting a similar experience to British Council teaching assistantship, so I don’t feel as though I am missing out.
I haven’t started my study placement yet so I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision but I hope so!
- Do you have any advice for people currently trying to decide what to do?
British Council English Language Assistantship
- Not many working hours so plenty of free time and long school holidays (could travel to other cities or countries for example)
- Most people who apply get allocated a placement so high chance of success
- You may not be happy with the placement you’re allocated (due to location, age of children etc.) but you can’t do anything about it
- Having so few teaching hours per week could mean you don’t have much to do and you might get bored
- It tends to be a longer placement (7-9 months) so you may not be able to do this if you’re studying more than 1 language.
- Experience a foreign university system
- Continue to pursue your academic interests – choose from a wide variety of modules
- Meet lots of students who are your age – may be the best option to make friends
- No income (although you may have the option of finding a small part-time job e.g. as a babysitter or private English tutor)
- This option might be competitive – only a limited number of places, not guaranteed to be selected or to get your first-choice university.
- Gain valuable work experience and develop skills
- Looks good on your CV (although of course all options do!)
- Wide variety of placements to choose from – can do something you really enjoy like journalism or social media
- If you can find a paid internship then your salary will help to cover your costs.
- Harder to secure than the other 2 options as you may have to do a lot more research and go through recruitment processes i.e. writing and sending CVs and cover letters and doing interviews in foreign languages (a bit nerve-wracking!)
- You may be working full time and find that you don’t have much free time or opportunity to work on your TLRP
By Isabella Beaumont