Former assistants are often a valuable source of advice for new language assistants and can offer practical help and support.
Successful candidates will be connected with former assistants during the summer before they begin their assistantship, however in the meantime, you may find it helpful to learn what some recent English Language Assistants thought of their experiences.
'I cannot put into words how enjoyable a language assistantship is; you get out of it what you put in. I worked in a German secondary school, where no two days were the same.
Despite only working three days a week, the children were always a joy to see, and the teachers were even more of a joy to work with. I never considered being a teacher before the assistantship, but now I am in the process of applying.'
Adam, Neuss, Germany, 2018-2019
'I worked in a university in a small, isolated city called Pasto in the south of Colombia. I taught students from the first semester up to the ninth semester so I had a huge range of abilities and gained lots of experience.
I absolutely loved sharing my culture with them and learning from theirs. Outside of the 18 hours I worked a week, I spent time trying south Colombian delicacies, dancing salsa and exploring what the surrounding Andes had to offer.'
Pete, Pasto Colombia, 2018-19
'I taught English in two French primary Schools and I absolutely loved it! Every day was unique, from drawing, to counting, to singing songs, to crawling about and mooing as animals; teaching was so much fun. Truly an amazing experience and I couldn't recommend it enough.'
Emma, Valence, France 2018-19
'I was teaching English in a secondary school in Gijón, a city in the northern Spanish region of Asturias. I absolutely loved the experience of working with the students, aged between 12 and 18. I was really encouraged by the English department to be a cultural influence from Scotland, so for Burns Night I took in my fiddle to play them some tunes and got them to sing along to ‘500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers!
When I wasn’t teaching, I used my long weekends and national holidays to go travelling around the country. My favourite trips were to Bilbao at Christmas time, and to Seville, Granada and Córdoba in Andalucía for Easter. I couldn’t recommend this enough – I’ve taken away not only valuable teaching experience, but also some great international friendships and memories!'
Caitlin, Gijón, Spain 2018-19
'I had the pleasure of teaching at both a secondary school and a college in Nice, south of France. My most memorable experiences were teaching my class 'All I Want For Christmas' by Mariah Carey, how to make welsh cakes and receiving the cards they all made me when I left (which made me cry).
My time abroad was brilliant. I made many friends and became so much more confident thanks to the programme, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting to teach abroad.'
Melissa, Nice, France 2018-19
'I worked in a high school in Sassari, Sardinia and each year in January they hold an open day for prospective students and their families to come and visit the school and get to know the teachers and the subjects they offer. The year I was there the theme for the open day was 'Alice in Wonderland'. I spent one weekday evening assisting the other teachers promote the school whilst wearing a cardboard playing card costume and a red lycra suit underneath!
I would definitely recommend spending your year abroad working as a Language Assistant in a school as an alternative to studying because the experience is invaluable.'
Helen, Sassari, Italy 2018-1