When are you expected to graduate?
I’ll graduate in 2011.
What languages do you speak?
Catalan, Spanish and English.
What did you do on your year abroad?
I studied Media at Thames Valley University in London. I also collaborated on a Catalan TV program called Blog Europa, where I video-blogged my experience as an Erasmus student. I joined TVU’s basketball team, which was good, as I got to know other people. Occasionally I worked in art schools as a still life model, as I’d had some experience back home. I found this job on the Internet but English universities normally have an employment office and they can help you to find a job.
What line of work are you interested in?
I am really interested in art and design. I especially like video art and poetic films. I would like to be a video editor making short films for museums, music groups, video journals, etc.
How's it all going so far?
Things are going well. I have to spend hours editing videos every now and then, but I really enjoy it. Thanks to my degree, I have been studying stuff like TV, journalism, cinema and radio. It feels good to have a general background but I have decided to follow the “editing branch”. However, even if I am busy doing what I really like, I feel like I still have loads of things to learn, both career and language-wise!
After a year in London my English has improved considerably. When I got there my English skills were very technical as I had been studying Media, not English. If I had worked harder on my English before leaving ,everything would have been a lot easier! However, I am glad I have had this fantastic chance to live and study in 100% English speaking country. Now I’m not scared of speaking it, and even though it needs improving, after a year in England I feel much more confident and closer to fluency.
What would you recommend to others planning on doing the same?
Pay a little more attention to your language skills before you go! I really wish I’d put in a bit more work, so it would have been a lot easier when I initially got there - but also, don’t worry too much, it’ll all fit into place eventually and people are patient with language learners.
Maria Padró, Media Studies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Year abroad in Thames Valley University, London