Working abroad – WIYA and External Placements – Germany

Fiona (Modern Languages), worked in Bavaria

Fiona Germany

I spent the academic year in Germany. I was working as an English language assistant with the British Council in Passau, Bavaria. I have so many fantastic memories from my year there, and I know I will never forget it. I think it is safe to say that I learned far more in that one year than I have learned from all my years of formal schooling put together. I did not just learn about the German language and German and Bavarian culture, but also about myself, others around me and life in general. My self-confidence improved in leaps and bounds and I became a lot more independent: I know now that I can do anything I put my mind to and I will not let any opportunities that come my way pass me by!

I taught students aged between 10 and 29, and got along brilliantly with colleagues and pupils alike. My landlady became like a second mum and a best friend. By the end of my year abroad Bavaria really felt like home. I did a lot of travelling with colleagues and friends, too; we visited Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.
My favourite memories would be the walks in the Bavarian forest and in Austria with my colleagues, sledging and snowball fights in winter, cosy afternoons in cafes with my older pupils, visiting my friend (another assistant) in Saxony, and all the times I spent at colleagues’ houses chatting and eating delicious home-baked cakes!

Georgina (Modern Languages), worked in Rhineland-Pfalz

I absolutely loved my year abroad as a language assistant in a secondary school in Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany. I enjoyed the teaching so much more than I ever thought possible, mainly due to the friendly, welcoming nature of the teachers and the overwhelming enthusiasm of the pupils. There was a huge variety within my teaching schedule; pupils ranging in age from 9 to 19, small groups, entire classes, working alone or with other teachers and using either the text books provided or my own material. Working in a school environment also enabled me to establish a circle of German-speaking friends quickly, which helped me to improve my language skills drastically throughout my placement.

Aside from the academic aspect of my year abroad, I had plenty of opportunities to travel throughout Germany. As well as visiting cities such as Frankfurt and Munich, I explored many of the smaller towns and villages local to where I was teaching, many of which were not only stunningly beautiful, but also both historically and culturally fascinating.

All in all I could not have wished for a better experience, and wouldn’t hesitate for an instant if given the chance to do it all over again!

Lauren (Modern Languages), worked in Freiberg am Neckar

I spent my year abroad working as an English language assistant in Freiberg am Neckar, Germany. At the beginning it was definitely strange standing in front of a class and teaching students who are sometimes only a couple of years younger than you and who are calling you ‘Miss’!! But the teachers were so supportive it didn’t take long to form good relationships with the pupils. I’m so glad I did a year abroad – it gave me the confidence I needed to get out there and speak German, and you learn so much about yourself when you have to live alone in a foreign country. I especially loved having so much free time to get involved with a local church and to visit so many exciting places in Germany. It’s a brilliant opportunity to travel and to make the most of your free weekends and holidays. Apart from travelling, I also met some amazing friends, got some teaching experience, felt so welcome in a country I didn’t previously know very much about and now I have memories that will last forever!

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