From language student to world traveller and teacher
How my language degree helped me travel the world, earn well, and develop new skills
After university, language student Olly Stephens moved to Spain to work as a Graduate Language Assistant (GLA) at Laude School in Palacio de Granda, Asturias. For two years he was a GLA as part of an exclusive programme offered by the International Schools Partnership (ISP), a school group that owns international schools around the world.
The ISP programme offers language graduates one-year contracts to work as language assistants in English-speaking international schools. The GLAs support children (both expatriate children from non-English-speaking countries and local children attending the school) with their English language skills to ensure they benefit most from the rest of their learning, which all takes place in English.
Olly didn’t need a teaching qualification; purely a good degree in a modern foreign language and great personal skills. “The ISP programme has been one of the most beneficial components in helping me to choose a career,” he says. “Not only did I gain valuable professional skills, but unique life skills that can only be gained from living and working abroad and immersing yourself in another culture. There is a fantastic level of support throughout your time on the programme, making it genuinely enjoyable as well as informative.”
As a result of the experience, Olly decided to pursue his teacher training. He offers this advice to other language students: “If you´re considering teaching as a career, I can´t recommend the programme enough!”
Olly is not the only graduate who has benefited from the ISP Programme experience. Lorna Stephen was a GLA at another international school in Spain, Jack Morton worked in the vibrant city of Madrid, and Natalie Singleton travelled to Mexico. Here they talk about how their GLA experiences enhanced their skills and changed their futures:
I participated in some exciting activities and travelled across Spain
Lorna Stephen spent her year as a GLA at Laude El Altillo School in Jerez, Spain. “I benefitted from my time in Jerez personally as well as professionally,” she says. “I was also able to support and get involved in many extra-curricular activities such as the school drama production, duathlon, sporting events and the skiing trip.”
Lorna also used the experience to discover many parts of Spain: “I travelled around the Andalusian coast and mountain ranges, explored the main cities of Seville, Granada and Malaga and even looked over to Africa,” she adds.
It helped me to decide my future and have a fantastic experience too
Language graduate, Natalie Singleton wanted to teach but didn’t know which age group would be best for her. So Natalie used her experience as a GLA at Instituto Thomas Jefferson in Tlalnepantla de Baz, Mexico to help her decide.
“The school was very flexible and understanding and created a schedule that let me experience every section of the school (nursery, primary, middle and high school) which helped me a lot,” she says. “I learned about my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, and improved my skills in the classroom. I was encouraged to create lesson plans and had feedback and advice from the teachers.”
Natalie says all the staff went out of their way to support her and her fellow GLAs Mexico. “I felt part of the school community,” she says. “On paper the opportunity seemed like a fantastic deal and the reality was better!”
I learnt an extra language and new skills
As a GLA at Laude Fontenebro School in Madrid for two years, Jack Morton says it was an opportunity for him to learn yet another language: “I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the opportunity to study a new language and culture,” he says. “I gained key skills in teaching and working with children too. My time spent in Madrid was an incredibly enjoyable and invaluable experience.”
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