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Erasmus Testimonies: Jack

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Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name’s Jack, I was given this opportunity in September. I’ve lived in England my whole life, I do want to live abroad at some point, so this is a perfect opportunity to introduce myself to that. 

How have you found the language barrier so far? 

The language barrier has been one of the biggest challenges we have had to face here,

But it’s one of those things because we are surrounded by it constantly and there are platforms we can use which help you. 

People here do actually speak very good English and so there’s things in place that can make it as easy as possible for you. Obviously you have to have a bit of give and take and try to learn the language, ultimately you are here and you need to learn to adapt to your environment.  

But the language barrier has been less of a problem than I originally thought it would be. And I’ve made massive improvements in my Spanish. 

Tell us about the kind of work you’ve been doing?  

Back in the UK my day job is a bar manager and so when I came I thought it would be absolutely fantastic to get involved in some bar work here and see how it differs from the UK. I can safely say it differs quite a lot. They have different procedures here that you have to adapt to. It surprised me how difficult it is to work here, they are so full on with everything and they are on top of everything 24/7. 

It’s very different but meeting the people you work with and the people at the bar, using your Spanish is so rewarding. 

I spoke to a Spanish lady at work with my limited Spanish, I was taking her order and was telling her I’m from London and afterwards she tipped me and said to my manager “that young lad over there speaks really good Spanish and is really nice” and that makes you feel so good, like I feel I’ve actually made some progress here. 

So I went from knowing basically nothing to now being able to hold a conversation with someone. 

What other skills have you been developing? 

Definitely people skills, because the people here are very different here to the UK. People are very to the point here, almost rude but you know it isn’t rude because that’s just how it is here. 

And in general I’ve been improving my overall life skills, because this is the first time that we and everybody else has moved away for a long period of time on our own and to do it in a foreign country is almost like a double barrel. We are moving away but it’s to Spain, which is a completely new environment and it’s so different. 

The skills we are developing here are invaluable.

We are not only having to get used to living on our own, cooking for ourselves, cleaning, maintaining the hostel, we are also having to get used to living in a completely different place. 

Which is great for us because we are all training to be cabin crew and this experience will be great for us as staying in a place for a few nights on lay-overs will very much be a part of our future. 

What have you been doing in your free time?

In our spare time we’ve been mostly relaxing, we’ve been going on trips, we went on a bike ride around Seville, we’ve been to the cathedral, we have plans to go to Cadiz to the beach. 

 3Si have been stars, they really help you book things. They helped us book the cinema there last week and we saw the new James Bond. 

How have you found the food here so far? 

The food’s amazing, it’s out of this world. It’s my favorite thing about Spain at the minute. Obviously if you go out to dinner in Spain there’s the option for the people who just want chicken fingers and ketchup which is fine, but then you have food like a braised ox tapas and it’s amazing. Tapas is amazing because it’s so diverse. You can go in and half five dishes and it will come to the same amount of a normal meal, but the variety is much better and satisfying. 

What has been your highlight so far? 

The overall highlight for me has been getting to know everyone at work, getting to know the workplace, how they do things, getting to know all the 3Si staff. They are all lovely. 

It’s so nice because this was organised in a relatively short amount of time and it’s just so good to see something come together. 

It’s just so refreshing to be here. 

How have 3Si helped you so far? 

They have been so supportive, right now we are doing the weekly work reports and if you have any problems or any questions they will sort it out for you. 

The point of being here isn’t to make you scared of being in another country, it’s to build that confidence and gain that experience. 3Si really understand that and aren’t going to put you in a place where you aren’t gonna see that growth. 

What is one tip you would give to someone who’s going to start the same experience? 

The number one tip I think, the moment you find out you are coming out here, start practicing Spanish.  It would really help even initially. Just learning some phrases and the vocabulary for the environment you’re gonna be working in would be so helpful.  

Can you try to sum up this experience in one word? 

Is Eye-Opening one word? Eye-opening definitely. I think it describes it perfectly. because as someone who is British you expect to be thrown into the deep end with language barriers and stuff. But people really try to help you here and it’s made me really want to learn Spanish properly now. 

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