By Aine O'Neill
As part of my BA in English and History at the University of Limerick, it is mandatory to do a cooperative placement. Although you have the option to do this placement in Ireland, I luckily was picked to go to Spain! There are many companies that collaborate with UL for placement, for all aspects of any Arts degree. Through the University, I was set up with a company called Meddeas. This company specialises in sending students to Spanish schools to be a language assistant.
So I'm now in the province of Cadiz, the sunniest part of Spain. Among my many duties at the school I am there to improve the children’s English skills. I work with children aged 1 -5 years old, they are enthusiastic about the language and are always trying to communicate with me. I have conversations with them in English and do activities with them. I live with a host family which has made me feel right at home, although of course nothing beats the comfort of your own home (or dog). It is nice to have the support and dynamic of a family even when it feels like you’re a million miles away from yours!
The culture shock is perhaps the most interesting parts of my cooperative placement, no more potatoes or Cadburys and I am now a far cry from the coffee at the Eden café. The Spanish culture is one you have to immerse yourself in, the people; their way of life and their food are all things I hope to take back to Limerick with me. The most glorious aspect of placement is the Spanish weather, it seems like yesterday I was walking through the UL campus with a heavy coat from the rain but now the only worry I have is what pair of sunglasses to wear!
My Arts degree at UL has not only has given me the opportunity to make friends, travel and work with a language - which I love - but it has also giving me grounding for the real world of work. I am thankful for this opportunity which UL has made possible for me, it will stay with me for the rest of my life.Until my next blog, Adios!