"I lived in a town called Joliette, which is around fifty minutes' drive from Montréal, Québec. I worked for around nine months as an English Language Assistant in a nearby secondary school.
The entire experience was extremely enriching. Not only was I able to hone a range of highly valuable skills through working in a school, I was also able to experience being part of a new and exciting culture. The Canadian way of life - or, more specifically, the Québécois way of life - was dramatically different to anything I had experienced before; I thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to something so new and exciting.
I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing people throughout my placement. Living with a local family had two very positive effects on my overall experience: firstly, it provided me with a great opportunity to practise my French on a daily basis, enabling me to attain a high level of proficiency by the end of the year; secondly -- and perhaps more importantly - it allowed me to forge a lasting connection with various people from the local community. I am still in regular contact with many of the Canadians with whom I interacted throughout the year; it is such a privilege to know that I will always be warmly welcomed by them should I choose to return. Similarly, I was able to form lasting friendships with a number of the other assistants, which was great. I think something about the uniqueness of the situation perhaps pushes you to build solid, lasting relationships somewhat more rapidly than you might do in other contexts. Needless to say, I consider myself very fortunate to have met many of the people I encountered during my time in Québec, and I know will be in contact with many of them for the rest of my life.
My placement was a frequent topic of conversation in almost every interview I had when I was applying for graduate jobs. My interviewers seemed genuinely excited and interested to hear that I had had the experience of working in a foreign culture, and much of our discussion was based around this fact. Even though I was applying for training contracts with commercial law firms, I found that many of the skills which I had developed during my teaching placement were highly relevant - namely the skill to communicate effectively in a range of different spheres, and the ability to manage my time well. More generally, however, I think that the whole experience of living and working in a culture that is different to your own is an extremely attractive prospect to potential employers, since it displays self-confidence, proactivity and determination. In so many jobs, employers are seeking well-rounded and confident individuals, who can adapt to a variety of situations; a teaching placement in a foreign country constitutes concrete proof that you embody all of these skills.
I would recommend the placement scheme to anyone: it is a highly formative experience, which opens your eyes to the diversity of the world, helping to you mature and develop - both socially and professionally - in an utterly unique setting. You have nothing to lose."