I applied to be a Language Assistant in Argentina because I wanted a placement that would allow me to experience true Argentinean life. British Council placements offer accommodation with families and I felt this was a great way to learn about their culture and lifestyle. Most importantly, I wanted a productive placement - something that I would be proud to write about on my CV.
During my placement I taught in primary, secondary and English teacher training colleges – my students were aged between 5 and 45! I worked 12 hours a week and had much flexibility over when I worked.
In terms of the teaching, the topics I taught were dependent upon the age group of the students. In primary schools, I mainly read out loud to the class and participated in English vocabulary games. Older students asked more questions about British culture and society. I was given the freedom to prepare classes on the topics students wanted to learn about and I taught various topics ranging from the British monarchy to my Indian heritage.
I was lucky enough to be living with a lovely family who helped me integrate into the local community, I often went out with other teachers and sometimes even my students would invite me out. The family I lived with showed me many of the local sites and introduced me to traditional Gaucho customs.
My language skills improved during the placement. Living with a family that hardly spoke English helped me improve my Spanish, and in a few weeks I felt more confident and fluent. I would recommend living with an Argentinean family, otherwise you could fall into the trap of not practising Spanish on a daily basis. Daily contact with Spanish speakers is vital to improving fluency, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and say silly things.
I would recommend applying for an assistantship - I have never met another assistant who did not enjoy their time working for the British Council. It is great for improving your language skills, and the experiences you have in and out of class are unforgettable. There may be bad times however the good times outweigh them ten times over!