Lots of students want to spend their year abroad volunteering, but are put off by the costs – how on earth can you live abroad for a year with no money? I felt the same way, until I found out the European Voluntary Service. I’ve just graduated with a degree in French and Russian, and I’m currently doing a year-long voluntary project in Samara, Russia, working for an international youth exchange charity called Lastochki. Other volunteers I know here are working in kindergartens, hospitals and with disabled people. We’re learning lots, having great fun, speaking Russian all day every day at our projects, and none of us has paid a penny!
Maya studied Spanish at Leeds Metropolitan University, and spent her year abroad as a Language Assistant at a secondary school in Spain. She is now working as a Quality Assurance Manager for a translation agency.
Virginia studied Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at Exeter University, and spent her year abroad at university in Córdoba, Spain, and doing an internship at Armani in Modena, Italy. She is now on the European Language Graduate Scheme at O2 UK, Telefónica, where she is Manager of the CEO's Office.
Kathleen studied Russian at The University of Edinburgh, and spent her year abroad in St. Petersburg and Moscow. She is now working as a Regional Director for a private tutoring company in St. Petersburg.
Liz studied Hindi and South Asian History at SOAS and, having travelled widely and learnt lots of languages, she is now a headhunter for the International Committee of the Red Cross, responsible for finding people who have learnt rarely-studied languages.
I am about to set off to Paris – Boulogne-Billancourt more precisely – not for a third year abroad, but for a post-graduation year abroad. Though I graduated in English Literature in June, in a few days I will be joining the scores of current language students heading to foreign shores to work as a Language Assistant with the British Council.
Hannah studied French and Italian at Durham University, and spent her year abroad working as a Language Assistant in Tuscany, Italy, and working in a hotel in France. She is now working for an American software company, dealing with their sales to the Italian market.
Tilly studied French and Spanish at Manchester University, and spent her year abroad working at a language training centre in Lyon, France. She is now a Project Manager for a dubbing and subtitling agency, working on films and corporate videos.
Jennifer studied French and German at Durham University, and spent her year abroad working as a British Council Language Assistant at four primary schools in Paris. She is now a TV weather presenter for the BBC.