Lauren Jenner case study
I applied for Halsbury Spanish work experience for February 2011 and it was by far the best trip I have ever been on. Forget college trips work experience abroad challenges your language skills and allows you more freedom and independence.
In my online application form, which was surprisingly simple, I could choose preferences to what type of work I wanted to do. This meant I wasn’t stuck in a job I found boring for the whole week! I posted my money and soon enough I was given a placement and details of my trip. I found that all my queries could be answered quickly over the phone which made me less nervous about my trip. Halsbury also had a Facebook page where you could chat to other people on your trip; it was reassuring to find that most people were as nervous as me!
My placement was in a sports leisure centre in Salamanca. Halsbury purposely left me to research and find directions to my placement which was actually easy using online Street Maps. I applied with my friend so Halsbury made sure we had the same flights and hotel, but when we arrived at the airport we found that people had come both in large groups and by themselves. So if you are thinking of applying by yourself don’t worry, the group leaders are quick to introduce you to the other members. Once we arrived at the hotel, we chose our roommates and explored the city of Salamanca!
All of the people on our trip were really easy to talk to, on Sunday afternoon we all decided to walk to our placements ready for our first day at work on the Monday. After walking around, getting lost on a few occasions we all managed to find our placements. Our group leaders organised our first meal where we were able to try local food and practice our Spanish. After our meal we went to a local pub and got to know everyone.
My first day at work was the most memorable, I was so nervous. The group leaders gave me a booklet with useful sayings which made it easier to introduce myself. Once I found my boss I was relieved to see a familiar face, one of the other members from my trip had also been placed in the leisure centre. We were shown around the centre and I was amazed with the amount of facilities. My boss told me I was allowed to use the facilities any time I wanted for free! I was happy to know that he spoke a little English so when I struggled to reply, he was really understanding. My job consisted of speaking to customers, helping and joining in with sporting activities which was really enjoyable. Day by day I was able to improve my Spanish skills massively, as well as my self confidence. I even managed to challenge some Spanish people my own age to some basketball and football tournaments!
I must confess the most enjoyable part of the trip was in the evening, there was an enormous amount of things to do and we enjoyed the options of cinema, bowling and local attractions. The amount of Spanish I spoke whilst out in the evening was amazing and I was really proud. Despite the busy social scene of the trip, everyone managed to get up on time in the mornings ready for work!
My advice is, even if you’re not thinking of taking your language further, the Halsbury trips are extremely worthwhile. I am definitely thinking of going on another trip in the near future and it has improved my Spanish grade by 2 levels! My self confidence both in myself and in my Spanish abilities is much better and I have made lots of life long friends. When I got back to England I had over 30 friend requests! This trip was definitely worth the money and I have learnt so much.
Thank you Halsbury!