How my Erasmus+ experience led to a job offer in the UK

Judit Belastegui is a regular in our blogs: enthusiastic and always on the go, this student of Education has shared with the rest of us her wanderings in the UK since she got there under the Erasmus+ scheme. The last episode of her international adventure could not have been more exciting: a job offer in the school where she was doing her internship.

An excellent start to the new year, Judit. Congratulations!

Hello Judit, tell us more about your current life in London! How did you end up working there?

To be honest, it was a last-minute decision.

In the last year of my degree, students need to do a 4-month internship before obtaining the diploma, and it was my plan at first to do it in a school here in Valencia.

Judit, jumping into a new life in London!
Judit, jumping into a new life in London!

However one day I thought that, given that I was specializing in English, why not take advantage of the international opportunities my university offered me under the Erasmus+ scheme? It would be a great opportunity to improve my English skills and experience something new at the same time. And so I applied without a second thought…maybe I was lucky!

A couple of months later I got an e-mail telling me that my application had been accepted and that Underhill School and Children’s Centre was the school assigned to me for my internship.

I started looking for accommodation that very same day and on September 12th I was already settled in London, full of beans and ready to squeeze every second of this experience.

How did your internship turn into a job offer? What kind of duties and responsibilities do you have?

One day, during my second month in London, it finally dawned on me: I was really happy here and I didn’t want to go back. One day in class I mentioned to my supervisor that I wished I could find a job there and stay a bit longer but I knew it would be difficult, given that I had not yet finished my degree.

After a couple of weeks, the Principal called me. He said that they were all really happy with my work there and that all the references and reports about me were excellent. It was then that he told me that he knew I wanted to stay and he informed me about a job vacancy as Assistant Teacher.

It was a good opportunity so I applied without questioning. They spent the whole week carrying out interviews and I was the last candidate to pass it, the very last day.

I was really nervous, both because the interview took really long and because I had to express myself in formal English. I was asked questions related to my capabilities, my skills or my thoughts about the British Education System (and how different it was to the Spanish model).

The next day I went to the Principal’s Office to bring some papers and they told me that the job was mine if I wanted it.

I couldn’t believe that just after two months I was already signing a contract allowing me to continue working in London.

About the job, I’m working as Assistant Teacher in the Underhill School and Children’s Centre, which is located in the London Borough of Barnet. My main responsibility is to assist and help the Class Teacher. I also provide personal support to the children who struggle with reading. One by one, I bring them out of the class and we read together so they learn how to pronounce the phonemes correctly.

My other duties include:

  • Prepare the classroom before classes start
  • Help out children with special education needs
  • Help Class teachers prepare their lessons and teaching materials
  • Control class behaviour
  • Organize activities in small groups
  • Keep accurate records of the children’s performance. We normally do this through an app, where we upload the activities the kids have carried out during the day. This app is easily accesible for parents.

How are you coping with your new environment? Are you adapting well or are have you experienced any cultural shock already?

I’m trying to make the most about this experience. Everyday I learn something new and exciting. I really love living here: there is always something going on in London. Every day is different here and, even if your day is planned out, something unexpected always happens.

Judit and other CEU students in London
Judit and other CEU students in London

The truth is that for us Spanish it is hard to adapt to their lunch hours. We eat at 12pm in the school, but the working day is also shorter: we work from 8am to 3:30pm.

London is truly a multicultural city. Figures show that only 48% of the population living here are British; our students some from around the world (Turkey, Somalia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Syria, Spain, India, France…), so you always hear interesting stories that never fail to surprise you. London is a melting pot where you are always learning new things.

Did you ever plan on working abroad?

As I said before, it was something unexpected. One day I woke up and felt that this was my place: I wanted to stay here. And then one thing led to another…it’s something that I just cannot put into words.

About your career prospects, what would you like to work as in the future?

I would like to finish my degree in the first place 🙂

Then, I would really like to extend my stay here a little longer so I can keep learning and improving my English.

After all that, I would maybe go for a Master’s Degree, which is an idea that has been going on in my mind for a while. Both the Máster en Gestión y Dirección de Centros Educativos and the Máster en Educación Bilingüe are on the top of my mind.

On the other hand, I’m planning on something for the summer holidays. Maybe I’ll do some kind of volunteering, there are a lot of people who need us.

As for my future plans, I honestly don’t care where but I really know what to do: work in my field, which is Teaching.

A wish for this new year we have just started…

Whatever 2017 brings me, I only hope that it is something exciting and surprising!


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