Castilla y León: Emily.

Author: Emily James
Published: 10th May 2019

This year, I took part in piloting MFL Mentoring in Castilla y León, Spain, which was offered to students completing the final year Student Teaching module at Cardiff University.

Overall, the whole experience was incredible and I can honestly say that I have learnt an awful lot. I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge on the current position of languages in Wales, including the challenges that languages face and what is being done to overcome these challenges. Being part of such an inspiring project with such a hard-working team has inspired me to apply for a PGCE in secondary education. Moreover, the opportunity to work in a Spanish school as a mentor and expand my classroom experience proved to be priceless.

On a personal level, the experience of travelling to Spain was very enriching as we had the opportunity to live with a host family and immerse ourselves in Spanish culture. Not only did I enjoy this experience, but the opportunity to practice my language skills also helped me in preparation for my end of year Spanish exams. I found being able to spend so much time with the students and mentor them about the benefits of languages very inspiring. The students’ attitudes were a breath of fresh air and their enthusiasm about languages, and I mean all languages not just English, was amazing.

On a professional level, the experience enabled me to expand my classroom experience in another country and provided me with a new outlook and a new approach to language learning. Being able to approach language learning from a mentoring point of view as opposed to a teaching point of view was very refreshing and interesting for me. It has provided me with a new attitude towards learning, which I will be sure to use in my future teaching career. In preparation for our trips to Spain, we participated in a range of workshops with a number of education professionals. These workshops taught us many new skills and provided us with many new tools which I know will also prove to be extremely valuable in my future studies. Beyond the work that we did in the classroom, we also had the incredible opportunity to attend other events which we were able to use as a networking opportunity in order to further our professional development.

Overall, I would recommend this project to anyone who has the opportunity to participate in it.

Emily completed a BA French and Spanish at Cardiff University, graduating in 2019.