In collaboration with educationsuisse, Movetia enables young Swiss people abroad to work as language assistants in Switzerland. These young people have embraced two cultures from a very early age but there are still some surprises.

Leslie Schmid, one of this year’s language assistants, talks enthusiastically about what motivated her to take part in the language assistants programme: “Movetia helped me land my dream job – I absolutely love the work!” she says. Leslie grew up as a Swiss national in Canada and has been working at the cantonal school in Zug since September 2018.

Leslie knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a teacher, which is why she studied German Language and Literature in Ottawa and obtained a language teaching qualification. As most of her relatives live in Switzerland, she decided to apply to Movetia for a language assistant position. She fulfilled the admission requirements and everything went like clockwork. 

Leslie is one of five Swiss young people abroad – from Canada, Australia and the UK – who are currently working at various host schools in Switzerland. They enhance language lessons by teaching their mother tongues and giving Swiss students an insight into the cultures of their home countries.

These encounters are enjoyable and motivating for students and help them shed their inhibitions about speaking the language. Meanwhile, language assistants gain professional experience for a school year and improve their future career prospects. They also get to know Switzerland, the homeland of their parents or ancestors, and can take advantage of the many opportunities that Switzerland has to offer.

Although Leslie is Swiss, not everything is familiar to her. One of the things she noticed is that the Swiss are less likely to engage in small talk. There were also some surprises, such as the Swiss school system, which was new to her. In any case, she was very well accepted by the teachers, quickly settled in to the school and is coping well with everyday life.

Now that she has “switched sides” and is able to be with her relatives in Switzerland, it’s important to her that she stays in touch with her family in Canada. At the end of her assistantship she has the option of continuing her training in Switzerland, seeking permanent employment or returning to Canada with a wealth of experience under her belt.

Interested Swiss people abroad can apply for an assistantship for the 2019/20 academic year until the end of March or by agreement. The programme is open to students or graduates from universities and colleges who have grown up in countries where the official national language is English, German, French, Spanish or Italian.