Monday, 22 August 2016

A Truly Wonderful Start to a Second Year Abroad!

Hello again!

Long time no speak! 

Having not updated my blog since August 2015 you may be wondering why I have suddenly returned to it! 

Well, during the past year an awful lot has happened in my life. I did my final year at Bangor University, graduated with a 2:1 in my degree in French and Spanish, and made the big descision to return abroad to work and travel as a graduate. Now you might be wondering why I didn't decide to apply for graduate scheme jobs and start thinking about settling down in the UK. Or why I didn't decide to go into postgraduate study. I will admit that I often worried about moving back abroad back in January when I made the decision to do it. I mean, lots of my friends and course mates were going into permanent jobs, postgraduate study, or PGCE's so I naturally questioned whether I was making the wrong decision financially and also whether I would be using my degree in the best way possible. However, I eventually decided that having enjoyed my university year abroad so much, it would be lovely to have the chance to live the same adventurous lifestyle once again. I also feel that I am not quite ready to settle down yet and need time to reflect on what I would like to do in the long term, so going abroad and getting some more international work experience whilst getting to know myself better seemed like the perfect plan! And here I am, back in continental Europe! 

So you may be wondering what I have been up to over the summer and what I will be doing for the next year!

On 15th July (2 days after my graduation), I returned to Cannes in France where I had previously completed two summer placements on either end of my year abroad. This is because I had arranged with the language school where I had worked and studied previously to do some more work there for one month. I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the school, seeing friends that I had made from previous years, putting my French into practice, and getting used to the school environment once again before a big new start in September. I always love going to this language school in the summer as the people there always make me feel very welcome, help me improve my French, and teach me loads about teaching and also the local culture and traditions! 

In addition to my mornings at the language school, I also had loads of free time in the afternoons during which I could travel the region, spend time with friends, and teach private English classes to earn some extra money whilst gaining valuable teaching experience! During the four weeks that I was in Cannes I taught eight private lessons to children and adults which gave me the opportunity to meet more new people and also increase my confidence with teaching. The extra hours made me very busy but I still had plenty of time to travel to some new places! I found myself visiting Saint Paul de Vence, a small traditional French town located in the Alpes, as well as Ventimiglia in Italy, Le Trayas beach, and Mandelieu de la Napoule! So as you can see, I managed to see more of France and even stretch over the French/Italian boarder and experience a completely different country in one day trip! 

As those of you who read my blog last year will know, my placements in Cannes are also packed full of exciting social events and night life with the lovely friends that I have made over my three summers' there! This year, I stayed with my good friend Manel who once again showed me Cannes beyond the famous places and events that are known to tourists. She always made sure that I was really immersed in the culture and language, meeting new people, enjoying myself, and really building a good social life in Cannes! And she did a really fantastic job! I am so grateful to her because I spent the month really feeling a part of the community and her circle of friends and building wonderful memories at parties, daytime outings to brunches, watersports events, and music festivals! Having previously spent a year abroad in 2014/2015, I very quickly learnt that socialising with local people is one of the best ways to integrate oneself into a foreign community and to feel really happy and I would say that this summer was my very favourite of the three that I have spent in Cannes so I really am very grateful to Manel and her friends for making this possible! 

Every time I go to Cannes, I fall more and more in love with it thanks to the welcoming and friendly people there! And as my friendships with them strengthen, I further realise just how lucky I am to have studied modern languages at university where I developed skills that have led me to wonderful ppeople who have had a very positive impact on my personal development over the years alongside my university lecturers and fellow students. 

I was very emotional when I left Cannes because I really settled down there this summer and often forgot that I was only there for one month. However, I went straight from Cannes to Milan to meet my cousins for a week of InterRailing in Italy so I am now onto more new adventures that I am thoroughly enjoying! I will write a blog post about my week in Italy next week when I am home in the UK. 

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I am going to be spending the next year abroad but realise that so didn't really explain what I will be doing and where I will be. 

During my final year at university, I was very unsure about what I wanted to do in the future and was also finding the workload quite intense so I decided to apply to do a British Council assistantship in Spain as teaching is something that I have always considered going into. I will be working in a secondary school in Sevilla, southern Spain which is in fact the Spanish city where I did a work placement in 2015 for my degree. As those of you who read my blog last year wil know, I had the most incredible time in Sevilla so I am very excited to be going back in just three weeks time and staying for an entire academic year this time! During the year, I will see how the placement goes and use the time to think about what I will do after that. I feel confident that it will be a very interesting, productive, and enjoyable year that I'm sure will help me make the next big life decisions.

On this note I will say goodbye for now as this post has turned out to be quite long. However, I will write a post about Italy shortly and I will also be back in a few weeks time when I will start writing fortnightly blog posts about my experiences in Spain! I will also add some new photo pages next week when I get home from Italy so please watch this space if you are interested in seeing Cannes in pictures!

 But for now, See you next week in Italy! :) 

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