02/02/2016, by CLAS

Pursuing the Nottingham Advantage Award in France

Fran McKay, a French and History student, has used her extracurricular work as a teaching assistant in France to pursue the Nottingham Advantage Award alongside her degree, and blogs about her experiences below. The Nottingham Advantage Award is an award-winning scheme that has been developed to help students to participate in activities that develop the kinds of attributes and qualities sought by employers. The Award is accredited by the University, which means you will achieve additional credits on top of your degree. Since 2008 more than 4,000 students have participated in the Award. The Award is recognised and supported by graduate employers who deliver skills workshops and modules. Several graduate employers also offer students additional prizes and certificates to recognise outstanding achievement. For more information about the Nottingham Advantage Award, click here.

I spent last year in Valence, a residential city in the Rhone-Alps region of France. I had decided to undertake an Assistantship program during my time abroad, and I was placed in three primary schools in the outskirts of the city. My 12-hour a week contract left me with the perfect amount of time to travel, meet new people and, completely unplanned for, I completed an additional 20 credit module towards my Nottingham Advantage Award.
I had initially been too late to sign up for the Assistantship module so started the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies Year Abroad Work Placement instead. The content of this module worked out better for me in fact. The Work Placement module was a 3,000 word ‘review’ of my cultural experience as a primary school teacher, and as an English girl abroad. Although I am someone who enjoys the writing process anyway, the reflection that the piece of writing asked for was a really worthwhile practise that has helped me to articulate some of the skills and experiences that I gained last year, allowing me to now include them in applications and interviews for graduate jobs. Rather than seeing 3,000 words as a daunting essay-sized piece of writing I wrote a few hundred words during breaks, on the bus or after lesson planning. There was no formal structure to follow so it really did become a very personal exercise that when spread across a few months felt like no work at all. Working towards the Advantage Award module gave me a reason to write and most importantly a way to track my progress, something that would have been difficult with the speed the year passes! On the whole, I could not recommend the module more, it allows you to complete two-thirds of a highly respected degree supplement just by living and experiencing life abroad, and then reflecting on it!

Fran McKay, 4th Year, French and History


Posted in French and Francophone Studies