I am excited to be spending the next 8 months in this lovely country.

Name: Katie Piorkowski
Course: BSc Psychology
Placement Position: English Teaching Assistant
Location: Activa, Valladolid, Castille and Leon, Spain

Post #1: From being offered my placement to starting it

Securing the Teaching Assistant position:

The process of securing a placement felt like a lot of hard work, but it paid off in the end. The placement that you choose may have not matched your initial interests, but that is okay, that is the case with me. Originally, I wanted to gain experience as a research assistant and stay in the U.K. After many applications, interviews, and pep talks from friends, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and apply for a placement abroad, amazingly, I was offered the placement. I felt relieved but anxious as I realised that this meant that I would be living in a new country for quite a while. Secondly, I never thought that I would pick up a teaching role due to having a more introverted personality, however, with 3 weeks to go as of writing this section, the many positive emotions I am feeling are an understatement. As my placement involves gaining experience as a Teaching Assistant for English classes, making a difference in a way that promotes bilingualism is what is motivating me.

The challenges of packing and moving to a new country:

With my placement starting in October which is later than most placement start dates, I will solely be reflecting on the whole moving in process. With abroad placements, most students will fly to their destinations, this can create the challenge of having to only pack what is important. So what I have realised about packing for these kind of placements is that it is important to only take what you will need as you will be able to buy certain items such as stationary, bedding and toiletries in the country that you’re staying in, however it is also important not to under pack as saving money is always important and it helps to settle in if you bring things that remind you of home. Once you start packing, you start to realise that you are starting a new chapter, and this is when all initial emotions are at their highest level.

When working abroad, finding accommodation is often a different and more daunting process, however, my managers are going above and beyond with helping me. I will be spending a week in an Airbnb and will be going for viewings during then and therefore aim to find accommodation within that week.

First day of living in a new country:

My placement will be in Valladolid, Castille and Leon which is around an hour from Madrid by high speed rail. My first day is being spent in Madrid as that’s where I flew to, so I decided to spend the first night there and explore Spain’s capital before heading off to Valladolid. Currently, I am enjoying my day in Madrid and the weather is amazing, the city also has its quirky areas but since it is touristy, it has its fair share of shops that you’d see in the UK such as Primark and H&M. All I can say is, I am excited to be spending the next 8 months in this lovely country.


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