This week Her Campus chats to Leeds University student Parick O’Brien, currently on a year abroad teaching English in the south of France.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are in France?
I’m 21 years old, I study French at The University Of Leeds but I’m currently teaching English on my year abroad in a small town in the Pyrenees mountains called Bagnères de Luchon.
Have you got any advice for anyone who is currently deciding what they should do for their year abroad?
My advice would be to dive in! Try to speak the language (If applicable) as much as possible and experience everything. For languages students, I’d recommend the British Council assistantships, it’s only 12 hours a week so you have plenty of time to travel.
Is British Council strictly an option for language students?
I don’t think so; however, I think the criteria is an AS level in the native language. I don’t know of any non-language students doing it but if you fulfilled the criteria I don’t see why people couldn’t.
Are you glad you picked to teach instead of spend the year studying abroad?
Yes, for me it was a no brainer. It meant getting paid for fewer hours but also being placed in a small town away from other Erasmus students means that fewer people speak English, so I’ve had plenty of practice.
What kind of things do you do in your day to day life?
A typical day would include; a couple of hours of classes during the day followed by free time where I’ll read, play guitar, watch a film/series or go swimming, then in the evening I usually socialise with the other teachers in my block. I usually spend the weekends in Toulouse with the Spanish language assistant.
Have you seen a lot of France this year?
I’ve been on a few, Bordeaux in October, Strasbourg in December for the Christmas markets, and Paris in Jan to visit a few friends. I’ve also been to Limoges because the flights from Manchester were cheap-that was a mistake.
What’ve you missed most about Leeds/if anything?
Well, I get quite bad FOMO when I see people’s snapchat stories and stuff. Mostly I’ve missed my friends and it might sound sad but I’ve realised I have missed learning.