The new academic year sees many of our students begin their Year Abroad. Today, we catch up with Liam Beddall, a student of Modern European Languages, who is splitting his Year Abroad between France and Germany.
Whether you’re a prospective or current student of modern languages, the Year Abroad stands out as one of the most exciting aspects of your degree. A new country, culture, social life and working environment all piece together to immerse you into ‘the great unknown’. As part of my Year Abroad, I have moved to the coastal town of Fécamp, in France, where I am working at The English Centre des Hautes Falaises, which offers English language tuition for children and adults. I will be spending six months here, before moving to Göttingen, Germany in April 2017 to complete a university placement.
Having been in Fécamp for just over a week, I have already had the opportunity to partake in a variety of activities that have put my language skills to the test. Working at The English Centre has thus far been a fantastic experience (and one I would wholeheartedly recommend for next year’s students). The family-like camaraderie that the centre promotes makes the work here extremely gratifying. On the first day, I felt like I had been thrown in at the deep end, but I have had the opportunity to work with children and adults with varying levels of English, all of whom have been very welcoming and willing to learn. Every day has been different and offered new challenges, both in the classroom and in the administration of the centre. I am having to use a plethora of skills, which I know will prove extremely valuable to prospective employers.
In my short time here so far, I have learnt that if there is a question, the answer is normally ‘yes’. Try the foods you don’t like, go to the places you wouldn’t normally go to and do the things you wouldn’t normally do – it’s all part of the experience.
Aside from working at the centre, I’ve been extremely lucky to be living with a very friendly French family of six. Not only has this helped improve my language skills immensely already, but it has also opened my eyes to new cultural experiences. I have been lucky enough to dine with people from different cultures, go on a guided tour of local stained glass windows, explore an abandoned WWII German hospital, sit in on a viva for a PhD on Astrophysics, and even meet the Mayoress of Fécamp!