"I spent the first four months of my year abroad on a voluntary work placement as a youth worker intern in Lisieux, France, where I was involved in schools work and work in a deprived neighbourhood of the city. I was required to teach, translate, plan education activities, organise community activities and develop my public speaking, and therefore my language skills were challenged and improved greatly.
I then went on to spend six months on a voluntary work placement in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working for an international NGO and working in a children’s home. This placement involved teaching and educational support for the children in the home, caring for children with special needs, public speaking and taking part in a variety of community events.
Whilst the activities from the two placements appear similar, they were extremely different due to the very different cultures. My time in Argentina was a valuable experience, which benefitted the rest of my studies as I pursued further studies on Latin America. My language skills improved significantly during my two placements, as I was very involved in the local community and learned a lot about the respective cultures.
On graduation, I immediately started an internship in the UK with the NGO I had worked with in Argentina and I then went on to be employed by the charity. My Year Abroad placement played a major role in my employment, as I had gained valuable experience that benefitted the organisation. I understood the way it worked and I had a good awareness of their work ‘on the field’ in Latin America. Cultural awareness, linguistic skills and an ability to express myself well in new or different situations have all contributed to my career prospects and opportunities.
My Year Abroad experience enabled me to discover new skills and develop existing ones. I was able to discover new interests, which later developed into hobbies on my return to the UK."