BSc Spanish and Maths, Graduate 2013

After visiting Aston University on a Year 12 Spanish Master Class, I knew I wanted to pursue the language further and study it here after A Level.

In Spanish I am learning content which is very relevant and will help me in a future career. To prepare me for my year aboard, lecturers included CV writing and interview seminars. This helped me obtain the post as an English Language Assistant in Seville. I’m really excited and nervous about the experience but from speaking to students who have completed the year, I know I will improve my Spanish and hopefully have one of the best years of my life!One of my favourite lecture topics is 'Spanish Oral Skills' where the class consists of 6/8 students and one lecturer. It’s an opportunity to discuss current events and also practice conversation. In one task, we had to pair up and present to the rest of the class as a news team. I noticed as the weeks passed that my spoken language had improved thanks to the feedback given in class.

Aston University is a small university but I think that’s advantageous as all my lectures are in one building. It means that class sizes are smaller and lecturers get to know you. There is support both inside and outside of lectures. Lecturers are easy to contact and are always willing to help and ‘The Hub’ provides support for any situation and the Hub team was extremely useful when first settling into university. Living out on campus has been fantastic and I didn’t regret it. I like the international flavour of the university and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from all cultures, countries and backgrounds. There are also many societies and I found myself really enjoying Aston Music Society where I love being part of the choir.

I started off my placement year by working as a British Council Language Assistant, just outside Seville in Spain. Over the nine months, I really immersed myself into Spanish culture and by doing so, I noted an improvement in my speaking and listening abilities. By teaching young children, I grew in confidence when presenting and also found a brilliant way to be creative. These skills were vital when continuing with the second part of my placement in South America where I worked as an English Language Assistant in Lima. I was confident enough to take classes on my own in a variety of subjects. My language had improved sufficiently that I could easily interact in a community where English is less common. During the year, I had the time to achieve a lot of personal goals. The highlight would have to be the trek to Machu Picchu. I used this to raise and set up a project helping disadvantaged children, I trained and got fit and I survived one of the hardest treks in existence. My placement year enabled me to go out into the world, practise Spanish, gain intercultural awareness, expand on work experience and also gave me the opportunity to make a little change in the world too. 

Gagan Aggarwal

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