Author: Giraud-Johnstone, Laurence
Date of Publication: September 2012
Series Title: Scottish Languages Review
Notes: Issue 25
This paper provides an account of the implementation of a Work Based Learning Abroad module designed to help university language learners to recognise and critically assess their personal and social development while working abroad as English Language Assistants. This project was launched in 2008 for BA Languages students within the School of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of the West of Scotland. The author considers students’ reflections collected over the past three years on the impact of the work placement abroad. Qualitative content analysis has been applied in order to find recurring themes, to gain insight into students’ attitudes, behaviours, concerns, lifestyles and aspirations. Overall, the module was recognized as an efficient way to measure personal development as manifested by greater understanding and increased confidence in use of both foreign and mother tongue languages, improved cultural awareness, the development of some generic employability skills and a growing sense of self-belief amongst the participants.
Keywords: British Council, language assistants, personal development plan, linguistic skills, cultural awareness, work abroad, employability, self-confidence, self-awareness