Chloe spent a year as a English Language Assistant in Santiago, Chile. She used her breaks from teaching to explore South America.
Tell us a little about yourself and your placement
My name’s Chloe Harrison, I am currently in my final year at the University of Leeds. On my year abroad (2014-2015) I worked as an English Language Assistant in Santiago, Chile. I have always been interested in teaching English as a foreign language, and I wanted to go to South America rather than Spain on my year abroad as I thought it was an opportunity which was too exciting to miss. I was very lucky to be placed in Santiago as it is one of South America’s safest and liveliest capital cities, with so much going on. After I graduate I am hoping to go back to Santiago as I fell in love with the city, the people, and the Chilean way of life.
What is your favourite memory from your time abroad?
Picking out one single favourite memory from my year abroad is near-impossible, but a highlight has got to be New Year’s Eve. The end of term in December meant summer holidays; time to go to the beach, have picnics in the park, and experience my first Christmas away from home. I spent New Year’s Eve with friends in Valparaiso; a vibrant city on the Chilean coast. After a day of exploring, we watched the last sunset of 2014. An incredible fireworks display followed (one of the best in the world, apparently – it certainly didn’t disappoint!). It was a very happy end to a very happy first few months abroad.
We decided to make the most of our summer holidays in February by travelling the country. The highlight of travelling that month, and one of the highlights of my entire year abroad, was hiking the W-Trek in Patagonia. It was the best scenery, most beautiful walking, and most peaceful atmosphere I have ever experienced! This photo of us overlooking the stunning water and snow-capped mountains takes me right back.
How has your time abroad benefitted you?
I benefitted immensely from my time working as an ELA in Chile, learning something new every day. I am far more culturally-aware, conscientious, mature, and confident as a result. The challenges that I faced helped me to realise that I am capable of a lot more than I had previously thought. The skills I learnt will benefit me hugely with regards to employment, as I have really improved in areas such as decision-making, problem-solving and creativity.
What is one lesson you learned from your time abroad?
That you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
What advice do you have for people thinking about going abroad?
Reach out, take risks and do something out of your comfort zone. Never say no (within reason!) to an opportunity, and give everything a go.
To learn more about how to become an English Language Assistant, visit our website.