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Modern Languages and the Year Abroad

Modern Languages and the Year Abroad

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Modern Languages and the Year Abroad

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  1. Modern Languages and the Year Abroad Prof. Margaret Topping Head of French School of Modern Languages m.topping@qub.ac.uk

  2. Why spend a year abroad? • What do ML students do on their year abroad? • How do we prepare students for the year abroad? • How do we support sudents during the year abroad? • Why spend a year abroad? • What do ML students do on their year abroad? • How do we prepare students for the year abroad? • How do we support sudents during the year abroad?

  3. Why spend a year abroad? • A life-changing experience • Enhanced awareness of cultural diversity, difference, relativism • Global citizens • Linguistic and cultural fluency • Acquisition of skills that are attractive to employers • Flexibility and adaptability • Resilience and independence • Thinking ‘outside the box’ • Communication skills • Ability to make connections

  4. LOUVRE, Paris, France TEOTIHUACAN, MEXICO

  5. La citadelle, haiti La alhambra, Spain

  6. Why spend a year abroad? The student perspective… Go for it!! Don’t be afraid to try something new on your year abroad and take advantage of every opportunity.” Stephen McKenna, BA French and Spanish, ‘Scene From On High’, Allevardles- Bains, France

  7. The student perspective… Here are some things I know about moving to a foreign country: 1. It is really hard and scary and exciting and hilarious. All of these will prove mutually inclusive. 2. Everything that you have filed away in a box in your brain labelled “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” will suddenly burst forth unbidden, and you will spend at least a fortnight dealing with the ensuing catastrophe that is now your life. 3. All the vocab you ever learned about racism, drugs, homelessness or any other scourge of society will turn out to be quite shockingly useless. Learn how to say “direct debit.” Or “gas meter.” 4.Whatever the room, whoever the occupants, you will become rapidly accustomed to feeling like the stupidest person in it. Still want to go, then? I hope so. The Erasmus experience is of course completely unique for all of its thousands of participants across Europe each year; it is like a kaleidoscope of moving parts, every combination all too brief, but each as c chaotic and colourful as the next. I can therefore speak only from my own experience – but can say, without exaggeration or hesitation, that my time s spent as a law student in Bordeaux, France, was one of the best years of my my life. NiamhHargan – Law and French

  8. “Going to university was amazing but going to Mexico was the best experience in my entire life – it was absolutely fantastic. It was the Mexican culture and generally being in such a fantastic country – it was just so different” Final-year Spanish and Portuguese student

  9. Why spend a year abroad? The employer perspective… “Being able to speak another language in what is now a truly global marketplace can be a key differentiator when it comes to employability.”. Steve Shacklock, Managing Director of Euro London Appointments “The value of [a student’s] international experience goes beyond purely the acquisition of language - it lies in the ability to see business and personal issues from other than your own cultural perspective.” Charles Macleod, Head of Global Sourcing and UK Talent Leader, PriceWaterhousCoopers “Rolls-Royce recruits graduates from a wide range of disciplines, not just engineering. We are looking for graduates who can be our future leaders who demonstrate qualities of courage, judgement and breadth. Where do we find such qualities... linguists or arts graduates.” Miles Cowdry, Director - Global Corporate Development, Rolls-Royce plc

  10. CBI Education Skills Survey 2011: • http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/1051530/cbi__edi_education___skills_survey_2011.pdf • British Academy Languages Matter More and More report: • http://www.britac.ac.uk/news/bulletin/Language_matters11.pdf

  11. What do ML students do on their year abroad? • English-language assistant • 8-9 month contracts organised via the British Council • From 5-20, village and city, Europe and beyond • Work placements • University-based Erasmus exchanges • Supplemented by intensive language courses

  12. How do we prepare students for the year abroad? • Staff-led briefings from Oct/Nov before placement year • Preparation for living abroad embedded in the curriculum • Student networks of information via student societies • British Council/in-house TOEFL courses

  13. How do we support students during the year abroad? • Interim reports • Pastoral visits • Open communication • Student-led facebook sites