Lucy Knowles' experience (Ecuador)

Living and working in Latin America has always been something that I have wanted to do. The Language Assistant programme seemed to me the perfect opportunity to experience this.

The whole idea of being given the chance to work in a completely different culture seemed so exciting to me. I taught at a university and a variety of age groups, as the English courses at the university are open. The age range was anywhere between 16-30. My class size varied from four students to 17.

I had daily classes of about 3 hours, the classes being one hour long each. My daily teaching activities would include mainly planning and marking. The most enjoyable aspect of teaching was being able to share cultures and ideas in the classroom, and when activities worked well it gave you a great sense of satisfaction and was very rewarding.

From the moment, I arrived the Ecuadorians were so welcoming that I immediately felt integrated. My main circle of friends were Ecuadorians and therefore could provide a firsthand insight into the culture. I always made sure that I was willing to try new things, such as salsa classes and never refused invitations to events.

My language skills definitely have improved. I often found myself in situations and doing activities that I wouldn’t normally have imagined! I visited places that I never thought I would, and speaking in front of large groups of people is something that I would never have thought I would do before.

You must be patient as things happen a lot more slowly in Latin America, but enjoy every opportunity that is presented to you, and make the most of the experience. I have so much more confidence now. Before, speaking in front of people was very daunting, but this experience has made me actually enjoy it.