"Going to Mexico as a 21-year-old female was quite a daunting prospect but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was in a small town, a couple of hours from Mexico City where there were no other English speakers.
My Spanish improved no end. I was also able to fully immerse myself into Mexican life and culture and I made some really good friends. Incidently, I am currently planning a third trip back to see them.
Aside from my language skills, I learnt to be self sufficient, to believe in myself and my abilities more. I became more confident - if you can teach English to a group of 60 young "macho" guys, you can walk into an oral exam, an interview, a new office with your head held high and brimming with confidence.
After graduating, I did a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism and I now work as a journalist for BBC Sport. During my stay in Mexico, I maintained a weblog for the BBC and I spent time at the local radio station which helped me to get on the post graduate course.
I can't imagine doing a language degree and not having a year abroad. It almost seems pointless as this is the time when you learn so much and make huge strides in your language abilities."