Spanish AS students Gianna Ormerod and Ed Richardson spent a week on work experience in Alicante during February half term.
“I worked in a day nursery,” says Gianna. “My job was to settle down the small children once their parents had left and then to play games and sing with them – I’d taken my ukulele with me! We sang both Spanish and English songs, which was good for the children as they were under three years old and so able to pick up other languages easily. I also helped to feed them and settle them down for their naps. Finally, I helped to clear up at the end of the day. I liked this because it was when the children were waking up, and they were singing to themselves. It was quite challenging as there were 30 small children and four babies, although there were other staff there of course!”
Ed says: “I was working in the lobby of a boutique hotel, Hostal Les Grands Monges Palace – the name is Valencian Spanish. Apart from being in the lobby, I also helped to fill and empty the dishwasher and clear the café area. Best of all though were the evenings, when I chatted with the owner in the lobby. I studied GCSE History at Linton Village College, part of which covered the Arab-Israeli conflict. As the owner had just read a book about this, we had some quite high-level debates, which was really good for my spoken Spanish!”
Gianna worked 9am – 5pm but Ed and the other British students worked from 10am – 2pm and 5-8pm. After work they generally went out and tried out various restaurants – although Gianna found some of the local food quite challenging! On their day off they visited Alicante Castle (see main photograph), even though that was the one day when it rained slightly. “We could still wear t-shirts or light coats,” says Gianna. “It was a little bit chilly sometimes, but not like here in England.”
Both students said that their experience had been very worthwhile. “I probably won’t study Spanish at university,” says Ed, who is also studying History, Maths (Mechanics) and Physics at AS, “but I will continue to learn it – and my father has now started to study it so we can practise together.”
“I would love to live in Spain,” says Gianna, who is also studying Business, Media and Psychology at AS. “I’ve always loved the country.”
They both agreed that their spoken Spanish had improved enormously as a result of the trip.