More about Kyle
What made you choose to study at NTU?
“Before deciding to come to NTU, I actually started off my university experience at Sheffield Hallam University. After feeling at the time that I was not quite ready for university, I left Sheffield and worked in my hometown for two years. During those two years working in jobs that I hated, I decided that I wanted to return to university and revitalise my love for languages, as well as furthering my career prospects. I had heard great things about Nottingham and I am extremely happy that it all panned out the way it has. I have had such a great time in the three years spent here, making many friends for life - I couldn’t ever imagine having done university somewhere else! It’s my second home!”
What do you enjoy most about your course?
“What I enjoy about studying languages is the fact that you are constantly covering a wide range of materials; history, politics, current affairs, work, society and art to name but a few. The diversified topic areas keep you interested and you really learn to understand a lot about a different culture.
“As part of my TESOL course, I taught foreign students and refugees English on four occasions. This has helped me to gain confidence in my abilities, develop working relationships with students and peers and my presentation and communication skills.”
What do you think about the course staff?
“The course staff are always on hand to help you with anything that you need. If I ever have any doubts about anything, whether it’s related to university work or just any problems in general, I know that there will always be someone to talk to, and that is a very reassuring aspect whilst being at university.”
In a nutshell, why would you recommend your course / NTU to someone looking to study BA (Hons) Italian and TESOL?
“Even though Italian may not be the most spoken European language, the country is beautiful and there are many jobs available. The course allows you to develop skills in many different areas that are all relevant in developing cultural awareness, cultural competence and communication. The TESOL course is extremely practical and it develops your skills in communication. The ability to communicate is key in the working world and both of these courses allow development in this area.”
Can you tell us more about your year abroad in Italy?
“For my year abroad, I opted to study at Università degli studi di Perugia in Italy. Although doing an assistantship seemed the most viable option as I also study TESOL, I was told by previous year abroad students that through teaching English, you spend a lot of time speaking your native language when teaching English, and you also spend your time in a city where there are potentially fewer students. Therefore, as I mainly wanted to improve my Italian, I went for the study option.
“The most enjoyable part of my exchange trip was meeting people from all over the world, many of whom I would never have imagined speaking to before. I made many African and North African friends whose stories shocked and inspired me. Living with six people from different parts of the world was a huge learning experience and I grew so much more as a person. I also enjoyed the social life in Italy. I also enjoyed having free time on the weekends and travelling to the many beautiful and different cities in Italy.”
What was the application process like, and what type of support did you receive?
“Here at NTU, I was provided with an itinerary of everything I needed and the NTU staff were extremely helpful with everything in preparation for departure. One thing I would say is to have your certificate of arrival and learning agreement filled out and signed within the first few days of arriving, and to request an examination transcript in order to receive signatures from your professors to show that you have completed the exams. The funding I received was substantial, and you can request repayments for any travel expenses when you return after the first three flights and spending over £200.”
What skills have you gained from this experience, and how will these skills enhance your employability for your chosen career?
“In regard to professional skills, I have certainly learned how to communicate to a wide range of people, formally and informally, both in English and in Italian. After returning to England for my final year, I realised I had vastly improved my language skills and this gave me a newfound level of confidence when attending classes. I had so much exposure to my chosen language - immersion surely is the best way to acquire a language.”
What advice would you give to future exchange students?
“I would say to just enjoy yourself, don’t stress too much about anything and enjoy the experience one day at a time! Bite the bullet, go out and meet new people and make the most of being in the country. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! Joining the ESN group (Erasmus Student Network) is another must. They provide nights out and trips to different cities with other Erasmus students from around Europe.”
Why would you recommend going on exchange to other students?
“My year abroad was one of, if not the, best experience of my life. What you learn and achieve whilst being there is so valuable both personally and professionally. Being alone for a year in a place where no one speaks your language can be extremely daunting at times, but I cannot tell you how much of a rewarding experience the year abroad is, and how proud you will be upon returning home. If you can spend a year abroad on your own in a different country and speak a different language, you can do anything.”
Read Kyle’s blog to find out more about his adventures abroad.