When deciding on which university was right for me I wanted to make sure that not only did the course and the university facilities meet my needs, but also wanted to be sure that other opportunities were available to me if I chose to take them. For this reason it was the placement year that really sold Aston to me, the chance to earn money and gain n valuable work experience in my chosen field was a huge bonus and in today's competitive job market, something I couldn't turn down. When I came to Aston for the first time for an open day I instantly knew it was the place for me, the small friendly campus made the thought of moving away from home not quite as daunting, as well as the fact that everything you could possibly need is five minutes up the road in Birmingham city centre.
The best part about my English Language course and something that surprised me when I first arrived was how friendly and helpful the lecturers are, I had the perception that I would be left to struggle through essays and mountains of work, but all the lecturers are willing to help and are always available at the end of an email. The relationship with my lecturers has definitely benefited my studies and is something that makes LSS unique, the small classes enable this relationship to be developed.
As an aspiring teacher my favourite module so far has definitely been TESOL, teaching English to speakers of other languages. The lecturer was a real life teacher who passed on her expertise and knowledge and the assessment was geared towards particular aspects of the teaching profession, for example writing detailed lesson plans and teaching a short lesson to various age groups and abilities. It was through this module that I was able to apply and gain my placement in Japan and I know use the skills I acquired nearly everyday.
My favourite thing about being an LSS student in particular is the access to specialist facilities and computer labs, it makes studying much easier when you know you will be guaranteed a computer in the LSS lab when you need it and can access any support you need. Further, specialist software has helped me in many assignments, particularly when transcribing the International Phonetic Alphabet from a sounds recording, for example.
I am currently on my placement year as an English Teaching Assistant at Toyo Gakuen University in Japan. The experience so far has been amazing; I have experienced a completely different culture, learnt a new language and put my teaching skills into practice. What makes the opportunity even better is that it was only available to Aston University students due to links between the two universities, proof of how well established and helpful the placement team is.
I want to complete teacher training once I graduate, although I am undecided on whether I want to teach secondary English or go down the TESOL route which would give me the option to travel. I know that my degree from Aston will help me immensely, the graduate employment record speaks for itself and having a degree from a well know and respected university can only be a good thing.