Joanna studied Modern and Medieval Languages (French) at Cambridge University and spent her year abroad working in Paris. She graduated in 2011 and is now job-hunting.
"It is not every twenty year old English girl who finds herself reading the weather forecast on French television, interviewing a rock band in a dark and smoky recording studio in a Parisian basement, or auditioning young actors for a short film series for the Festival of Cannes. My Year Abroad in France, made up of two Erasmus-supported work placements gave me a wealth of experiences working in French companies, with all-French teams, in the heart of French film and television culture. I worked unpaid for four months of my ten months' experience, and without the Erasmus funding and the increased student loan I received a part of being a language student on a year abroad, I would not have been able to do it.
Having graduated this year, I am currently looking for work and find myself in a strong position having accumulated 10 solid months of work experience, when most other graduates have done two-week stints here and there. I am planning on returning to France to find permanent work because my experience was so positive. The friends I made I have been able to keep in touch with, and they will be the most important part of my professional network in the future.
Without the Year Abroad, a linguist would struggle to find the confidence and experience to go off into the world and make a life in their chosen country. They would struggle to see the culture beyond the pages of books, and outside of the perspectives of the British and American literary critics who form the majority of our critical reading. The Year Abroad was the most fulfilling and exciting year of my life so far, and I would be far less employable, rounded and confident about the future without it."