My Co-op in Cologne

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Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick. She is currently off campus on her Co-cop placament in Cologne, Germany. Here she gives us a review of her first few weeks away from UL:

“Coop chooses you, unfortunately you don’t get to choose your coop. You select a host destination and the coop office organize interviews for you and you are placed wherever you are successful. For me, I was lucky and got my placement on my first interview meaning I had lots of time to prepare. I am working in a Kindergarten in the German city of Cologne (Köln) and thankfully I love it.

When I began the process of applying for coop I was adamant that I didn’t want to work in a kindergarten after having a traumatizing experience au pairing however I was successful in my first interview meaning that unless I wanted to find my own placement I was off to Cologne.

Come January first  I was on my way to becoming a full time kindergarten teacher. After spending my first month here I am so happy that you are made to take your first offer. The job is so rewarding and I come home everyday feeling a bit tired but never stressed out or unhappy with how the day has been. The working environment is warm and friendly with a real family atmosphere.

For me the biggest thing that I have learned so far from my coop placement is to stay open minded and take every opportunity that comes your way. If I had had the opportunity to turn this teaching position down I would have but now that I am here I am very happy to be spending the next five months in this role!

If I could offer any advice for students thinking about going on coop to a foreign country it would be to remember to be open minded, for me I wanted to go to a bigger city like Hamburg or Berlin and wasn’t so keen on the idea of Cologne a smaller city that I didn’t know that much about. However after being here for the past month I really love it and even have started to prefer it to Berlin. Co-op is all about learning to become an adult and finding out how to take part in the world around you independently and although I don’t think I will pursue early childhood education as a further career I am very thankful to have this opportunity!”

ellewalsh

Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student studying French, German and Politics at the University of Limerick. Last year, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe. 

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Studying Languages: The social degree

By Elle Walsh

I chose to study languages at third level mostly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I knew for that I enjoyed French in secondary school, well I enjoyed talking… to anyone, in any language. I have been “blessed” with the gift of the gab. From the moment I learned to speak I have not stopped. I will to anyone, about anything. I have communication skills in capital letters all over my cv, and similarly too chatty on every school report.  By choosing to study two languages I have no widened my potential pool of potential conversations by 449 million people!

Studying languages at UL has opened so many doors for me. Last year I spent nine months working and living in France. Six of these were spent in the French Alps working in a ski resort and the other three consisted of living on the French island of Corsica looking after two children. I was also lucky enough to spend some time in Berlin, learning about the history and culture of the most amazing city in the world. Without my language skills I would never had put myself in these situations.  Some of which were the best times of my life!

And that is only the beginning of my travelling thanks to my degree, this coming January I will be packing my bags once again to move to Germany to work in a German company for six months. A compulsory part of my course! Then that September I get to study in France for a semester, also compulsory! These are things that so many people don’t have the opportunity to do, but with a language degree in UL it’s just the beginning! Every summer people most of my course migrate to different parts of the world to improve their language skills and soak up the culture! Trips like these are ones that create friendships and memories  that will last a life time.

Although I sit in German grammar classes and wonder what I ever did to deserve a fate like this I would never change my degree for the social benefits that come with it.  I chose to study languages without really knowing if it was right for me, I can say now that it definitely is.  My  degree has given me the ability to form friendships with people I would have never have spoken to and made me feel at home in a foreign country miles away from anyone I knew! This alone without even considering the advantages language graduates have, makes my degree worth while!

This week, the University of Limerick marks Languages Week – check out the full programme here: http://www.ulsites.ul.ie/mlal/ul-languages-week-2016

ellewalsh

Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick. Last year, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe. This semester she is back in Limerick studying French, German and Politics.