"It was without a doubt the period in my life that helped me mature from adolescence to adulthood and gave me the confidence to be the person I have become today.
I faced certain hardships whilst abroad, including an initial struggle to find accommodation, a temporary but rather debilitating issue with my student loan, as well as a family bereavement, on top of the usual issues of settling into a new way of life, a different culture and discovering that my language skills weren't quite where I thought they were! But all of these things only helped to strengthen my character and made the overall experience even more worthwhile!
The experience abroad, above all else, gave me the confidence that I could achieve whatever I put my mind to, and my language skills improved immeasurably too! I have since been back to visit the landlady of the third flat I lived in, as well as returning to help out at the school I taught in. You really can build some fantastic relationships if you fully grasp the opportunities available to you whilst abroad. While there I always felt like an ambassador for the UK, and it paid off!
For approximately 4 years I worked in finance (mortgages and pensions) as finding a job was hard to come by and opportunities in those fields presented themselves to me. However, after about 2 years I decided that it wasn't for me and had a really good think about what direction I wanted my life to go in, and eventually decided to apply for the Royal Air Force. In 2010 I started my training to become an interpreter and I'm now 3 months away from being a fully qualified interpreter in the forces (having now learnt a slightly more obscure language).
I'm not sure that I would be where I am today had it not been for the amazing experience of the year abroad. I didn't always enjoy my time at university but I was desperate to have the opportunity and experience of living abroad and it has definitely paid off for me! Thank you!"