It’s an experience that demands courage and perseverance. Because it involves immersing yourself in an alien living and working environment for several months. “It’s a completely different life, far away from family, familiar routine and friends.” That much is clear. But unexpected obstacles also await you. “In Britain, opening a bank account is very difficult and involves a lot of paperwork.” But in the end, it’s evident: there’s a lot to gain! “Anyone who gets the chance to work as a language assistant in another country and to live there should absolutely take advantage of it.”
The language assistants interviewed for the survey, who taught their mother tongue abroad or in Switzerland in the 2016/17 school year, are certain that what’s on offer is well worthwhile. Not just because they become acquainted with another culture and a different education system. “Foreign language teaching in England seems to be based very heavily on learning by heart.” Their own knowledge of the language of the host country is also improved. Furthermore, participants are convinced in general that the experience will be useful for their subsequent working life.
This last year’s survey also, and for the first time, included questions regarding input and involvement in the lessons, the linguistic standard of the pupils, popular lesson content and differences in the school systems and lessons respectively. It is noticeable that teaching assistants at Swiss host schools teach a whole class alone more frequently than their professional colleagues abroad. The linguistic standard of their pupils is also assessed as higher.
The survey reveals certain peculiarities too. Thus, for example, one participant seems to have had trouble finding accommodation in Trogen in time, but no-one in the more expensive cities of Zurich or Zug did. The question of whether accommodation can be found in time is a subject that’s already on everyone’s mind before applying. Hence the tip to everyone dreaming of living in London, Vienna, Marseille or in the wilds of Scotland in the next school year: “Don’t rent a room until you’ve seen it for yourself!“
Movetia will also be passing on these and other tips in June at the outgoing seminar. Of course, a couple of enthusiastic former teaching assistants will also be there, eager to get a chance to tell everyone about their experiences.
Movetia is currently accepting applications for the 2018/19 school year. Conversely, Swiss host schools have the opportunity to take on a teaching assistant at their school. In this way, varying linguistic levels in the classrooms can be balanced out more easily and language learning becomes livelier thanks to the support of supply teachers who are familiar with the everyday life experience of the pupils. Find further information here.