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Working abroad key element in learning a new language
Mother of two Amelia Morra Cidriain from Zaragoza in Spain decided to take a three-month work placement in the UK to improve her rusty English language skills. Little did she know at the time that her other language skills would come in handy when EURES introduced Amelia to her perfect placement.
Amelia was awarded a European mobility grant by the Spanish Government, which gave her the opportunity to take an unpaid placement in the UK. She went over to London in 2010 but struggled at first to find an employer that could take her on because her English was not very good. A number of interviews left her frustrated, though not down-hearted.
EURES helps out
Fortunately, the local EURES team was on-hand to offer help. EURES Adviser Aileen Oliver put Amelia in touch with LMLAS, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that supports the interests of ethnic communities in Lewisham, London. The NGO provides its services in a number of languages, including French and Spanish. Amelia is fluent in both languages – and in fact she used to work teaching adults French, Spanish and Italian.
Amelia used her language skills to help the NGO with its research and casework. She says that the placement turned out to be a “wonderful experience”. The former Sorbonne University student was also able to attend English classes every day during her stay.
“I have not yet mastered the language but my time in London has certainly helped me make improvements,” says Amelia. The 46-year-old is now back in Zaragoza and studying at the local university to get a qualification that will allow her to work as a civil servant.
“I commend EURES to anyone – they provided me with really valuable help when I needed it most,” adds Amelia who, through her own experiences, has one crucial tip for international job seekers: “In most cases you have to be able to speak the language of your destination in order to find work!”
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