From dodging the scooters in Naples to lounging in Parc Beaumont in Pau, from stuffing my face with crêpes to feeling full from too much pizza, from teaching anglais to children in France to learning italiano in Italy – my year abroad was one of the most exciting and rewarding years of my life.

As part of my studies in French with Italian at the University of Warwick, I was required to spend at least 8 months in a Francophone country on a year abroad. Italy was an optional extra since I “majored” in French and “minored” in Italian.

From October 2012 to April 2013, I worked as an English Language Assistant in three primary schools in and around the city of Pau in South West France. I found this placement through the British Council scheme, which was backed by my university. I wrote a slightly cringy blog called Perdue à Pau to record my time there.

From May to June 2013, I went to the Centro Italiano Language School in Naples, Italy. I lived on a bustling street in the city centre and ate pizza and gelato pretty much every day. You can read all about that in a memoir I wrote here.

I then spent six weeks working as a translation intern at Giulio Barbieri s.r.l, which is located just outside of Ferrara. Again, I ate a lot of pizza and gelato and fell in love with la vita italiana.

Alas, my year abroad came to an end and I returned to Leamington Spa to finish my studies – but it sparked my passion for languages, for travel, and for immersing myself in a foreign culture.

I wrote a little more about my year abroad in this post.

year abroad - paris france -

 Have you been on a year abroad? Does your university offer this scheme?

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