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Case studies

English Language Assistant

English Language Assistant

"Definitely do it - no matter how scary the prospect or difficult the process. I considered changing my mind so many times in the second year, but something kept me going, and I can genuinely say it has been the best decision of my life, and one that will continue to affect my future."

Catherine McKenna

English & Philosophy (Joint Honours)
British Council – English Language Assistant at Peter-Joerres Gymnasium Ahrweiler, Germany

Catherine chose to undertake a year in industry to get a real insight into a career on a one year placement as it would allow her to see every aspect of a job –more so than a couple weeks of work experience. Catherine also thought that it would make her much more employable, as her degree is non-vocational and in the current economic climate this would give her an advantage.

Catherine’s first thoughts were to look at a placement close to her home in London. She progressed with a few companies and gained great experience at assessment centres and interviews. She had also applied to the British Council as an English Learning Assistant and an offer came through for this.  As Catherine is not a languages student she did have some concerns that she may not be able to cope with the demands however, with an AS in German she fulfilled the requirements and was determined to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to live abroad, get paid and learn a new language.

Catherine has become a much more confident person through her placement- developed through standing up in front of classrooms of teenagers and keeping them engaged in her lessons.  Her organisational skills have been improved through planning lessons and organising a social life outside of work - made more difficult as she was based in the middle of the countryside with sparse public transport. Her interpersonal skills have been improved – both through working with teachers to plan lessons or materials or working with them in the classroom, and particularly through working with teenagers, which is the aspect Catherine enjoyed most about her placement.