Teaching abroad: Broaden your horizons and use travel to inspire your career

Caimin Browne writes about the benefits of thinking outside the box when it comes to your teaching career, and why teaching overseas on a Meddeas teaching programme can be such a rewarding and enriching experience.

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Why did you take the step of coming to Spain with Meddeas?

I was finishing my degree (Saint Patrick’s College-DCU) in Ireland and I had limited options here. I wanted to do teaching in Ireland, but I couldn’t get onto the the course I wanted to do. A friend reminded me of an email I received to teach English in Spain, related to TEFL. Although I didn’t speak Spanish I thought it would be worth applying for. I’m very glad I did.

If you had to choose one specific memory of your Spanish experience, which one would it be and why?

THE HEAT. I have never experienced such heat and it being considered normal. I was wearing shorts up to December and playing a rugby match on the first weekend of March, and it was 25, 26 degrees Celsius. Coming from Ireland, where the weather is always in the public domain, I couldn’t believe how normal temperatures in the mid-20’s were in October, and people wearing jumpers and jackets. Madness!

What relationships and/or friendships do you keep from your stay in Spain?

I still stay in touch with staff from the school and the rugby team I played with, on an ongoing basis by Facebook or WhatsApp.

In what sense has your worldview changed after your experience teaching in Spain?

The role I have to play in life. I left Ireland to teach English in Spain. I was no longer a student, I was seen as a grown up, an adult with responsibility, whose main objective was to teach as a language assistant in a school and instruct, kids are going to use what you teach them to broaden their own horizons and develop their own lives. Spain for me was the first time that I was doing something I always wanted to do.

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Did you improve your level of Spanish? Has this skill helped you in your professional career? Do you use Spanish in your everyday life now?

It most certainly has. Before I left to teach English in Spain, I had a very basic level of Spanish, but I looked on this as an opportunity, where any progress was a bonus. The Spanish in Andalucia is distinctly different to Spanish spoken elsewhere in the country, so in some ways not having a firm footing in the language and being able to learn from scratch was a bonus. At the moment, I’m studying to be an Irish and French Language teacher, but also having Spanish is a huge bonus both professionally and personally.

How has this experience improved your CV and professional life?

It’s made a huge difference. I learned a new language, gained exposure to a new culture and got invaluable teaching experience. Furthermore, having work experience abroad has shown that I am able to adapt to work outside of Ireland. I am currently studying a Masters to be a school teacher here in Ireland and am hoping to work teaching French and Irish at second level.

What advice would you give to someone joining Meddeas in order to make the most of this experience?

I would advise anyone to do this. Spain offers so much; beautiful food, compassionate and kind people, fantastic weather and so much culture and travel. The year I completed will go down as one of the best of my life and there is not much I would have changed about it. It’s great to get exposed to a totally different way of life and culture. I would say to anyone, don’t just dream about travel, live it and use it to enhance and inspire your career and other life choices.


Guest blog: Top 5 tips for a successful video application

Are you noticing more employers are moving away from traditional application methods and moving more towards video as part of their recruitment process? At the Jameson International Graduate Programme we introduced video applications to our recruitment process in 2010 and we’ve never looked back! If you’re not sure where to start with your video, here are our top tips so that you can complete the application process without fear!

 By Sinead D’Arcy, Jameson International Graduate Programme Manager

Jameson Global Ambassador Summit. Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

Jameson Global Ambassador Summit.
Photo Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

  1. Attitude

The first thing we’ll look for in your video application is that you have the right attitude to become a Jameson Brand Ambassador. We’re on the look out to find someone who embodies the Jameson spirit of warmth, charisma and wit. Show us that you’re passionate, driven to succeed and have the dedication it takes to work with the world’s fastest growing international whiskey brand.

  1. Be Yourself

This is definitely one of the most important things to think about when creating your video application. We want to get to know your personality, your individuality, the things that make you, YOU! We completely understand that talking to a camera about yourself isn’t necessarily the easiest and most comfortable situation in the world, so here’s what to do- take a breath, grab your camera, sit down, relax and chat to us as if you’re chatting to an old friend.

  1. Tell us what’s relevant

You don’t have a lot of time so make sure your video application is full of relevant information. Tell us about yourself, your interests, your skills and why this is relevant to the Jameson Graduate Programme.

  1. Keep to the time

Time management is a vital part of being a Jameson Brand Ambassador. Show us that you can include all the necessary and relevant information in a 2-3 minute video and needless to say, get your application in on time!

  1. Make sure your written application and your video mirror each other

Bear in mind that during our review process, we take a look at your written application and your video together. Make sure they both contribute to your overall story and there is a consistency between the 2 – just like the relationship between a good book and the movie version!

If you are looking for some inspiration on how to make your application video check out videos of past successful application video’s on our YouTube channel.

Online applications for this year’s Graduate Distiller Programme close at 13:00 on Wednesday, 16th November 2016 and applications for the International Graduate Programme applications close at 13:00 on Monday, 16th January 2017. Visit our dedicated graduate recruitment website here to get your application across the line. 

Good luck! 

 


Guest blog: Want to work as a trainee Chartered Accountant? Advice from Deloitte trainee Ronan Fogarty

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For any trainee Chartered Accountant beginning a training contract or working through one, there are some key skills that one should focus on developing. Here Ronan Fogarty, an audit trainee with Deloitte, offers his advice based on his own experience ‘on the ground’…

Make a good first impression

When starting a new contract, you will meet so many new people – fellow trainees, managers, partners and clients. This will continue right throughout your training contract. Given the nature of professional services firms, the dynamic can change very quickly – you will find yourself working with different teams on various clients and projects, new trainees will arrive and new clients will offer new opportunities. A good first impression goes a long way in developing yourself as a person, your career, as well as the firm you are working for.

Communicate

You hear it and read it all the time, but it is true that communication is one of the most important skills that anyone can develop. Be confident and informed about what you are saying and say it in a manner that ensures you are heard. Whether it is a meeting, a phone call or an email, be prepared. Introduce yourself properly, be polite, be aware of the facts and know what you are looking for.

Be adaptable and flexible

Each day, you will be met with a new challenge and you must be ready to face it head on. You will be completing several sets of exams on your journey to becoming a Chartered Accountant while working full time. Therefore it is vital that you are adaptable to situations you may find yourself in, whether it is in front of a client, or in front of a book for that exam next week. It is also important that you are able to manage your time efficiently. Being prepared and organised will stand to you, whatever the situation. Where possible, it is also important that you learn to apply your knowledge from exams in work and vice versa. Doing so shows that you have a drive to succeed.

Be confident in your ability

You would not be at this career path if didn’t have the proven ability. All trainees should strive to be confident (but not cocky!) about what they are doing and become well versed in the areas in which they work. You should take initiative to do more and stand out from the crowd. There are always opportunities to voice your opinion and make a difference. Trainees are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table and innovate. That is the way of the future.

Be organised

As a training contract focuses on both work and education, it is important that both are well organised. It is important to show that you can work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well. Whether you are a trainee in audit, tax or corporate finance, it is important to take responsibility for areas that are assigned to you and understand how your work fits into the overall deliverable for the client. It is also important to learn how to ask questions and prioritise tasks in order to meet deadlines.

Be a team player

Working as a trainee accountant in any firm will undoubtedly require you to be able to work as part of a team. This is where all of the above come together. Any team is only as strong as its weakest member, therefore, if you do your part and are adaptable, flexible, confident, organised and are able to communicate well, the team will benefit.

And just one final piece of advice – embrace it! A training contract offers so many opportunities – working with clients in exciting and fast-paced industries, learning from colleagues with great experience and expertise, and getting involved in firm activities – be it CSR initiatives or the firm’s clubs and societies. Make the most of it and get involved. It’s only going to stand to you.

Want to learn more about a career with Deloitte? Meet the Deloitte team at the Graduate Careers Fair at www.graduatecareersfair.com


5 Questions to ask a potential employer at the Graduate Careers Fair

The Graduate Careers Fair is a fantastic opportunity to meet and ask questions of potential employers. Many employers also bring graduates who are currently on their graduate programmes to attend their stands, so you can ask what life working with this companies is really like! These conversations are unbelievable opportunities for networking, and can help you decide on future career paths or give you that nugget of ‘insider information’ that can help you through the application and interview process and ensure that you best the competition to land your dream graduate job.

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We have put together some questions to have prepared to ask employers on the day of the Graduate Careers Fair:

How many graduates do you take on each year and do you employ graduates from courses like mine?

This question helps determine whether or not it is worth asking the next questions! It’s important to ascertain that an employer is hiring, or that they will be doing so in the not tooo distant future. Equally it’s good to know if the employer has successfully hired graduates with a similar background to you – this question can get the conversation off on a positive foot, or end it nice and early. If the answer is a no but you are keep to work for that employer or in that sector, ask about any conversion courses that you could take that they have successfully hired from.

What are the most important competencies you look for in graduates during the selection process?

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All employers have criteria they look for when hiring. Some are quite defined, others relate to that elusive ‘fit’. Discover the answers to this question and, if you decide to apply, present your application in a way which showcases your corresponding attributes.

What would my first year in your organisation be like?

This question will prompt the recruiter to talk about their induction programme, training and development, opportunities for travel and any promotion opportunities for high-performing graduates within their company. gradireland research has shown that these are the most significant factors for students and graduates when considering which employer they would most like to work for.

Tell me the single most important thing you would advise any graduate considering applying for a role with your organisation to do!

Talking to employers at the gradireland Summer Fair

Not strictly a question, but if you get the answer then you have the inside track which could give you that all-important edge over competition throughout the selection process.

And for non-Finalists

Do you have an internship programme and how can I get on it?

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gradireland research shows that  over 79% of graduate recruiters run internship programmes, and that the recruiters themselves see completing a relevant internship as the single most useful thing a graduate can do to improve their employability. It’s a great way to find out about a company, a sector of work and of course to land a graduate job further down the line.

Find out more about Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair here.


4 things you didn’t know about this year’s Graduate Careers Fair

It’s less than two weeks away from the most anticipated event in the gradireland events calendar, the 14th annual Graduate Careers Fair. This event will see 120 of Ireland’s leading graduate employers, start-up companies and further study providers showcasing what they have to offer in a range of different sectors. Ahead of this event we have put together a list of four things that you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair.

Top employers will be there-it’s all about jobs!

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We have over 100 of Ireland’s leading employers attending this year’s Graduate Careers Fair. The exhibitor list to date is made up of 58 of the Irish Times Top 1000 companies as well as 15 international Fortune 500 companies! The best part, all of these organisations are actively recruiting for students and graduates in a range of sectors, there are interviews happening on the day itself, so come prepared!

CV Advice to beat all other

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Have you hit the wall when it comes to getting your CV or application ready to send to employers? Worry not! The Graduate Careers Fair has not only a dedicated CV Clinic with over 50 hours of free careers advice but also a rolling CV Seminar with specialised advice for both international and Irish students. This is the perfect opportunity to perfect your CV and get ahead of the competition.

Opportunities with NGOs

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Ever considered working as part of a non-for-profit organisation? We are excited to announce that this year’s Graduate Careers Fair will welcome some nationally and internationally established NGOs, including Oxfam Ireland and The Peter McVerry Trust . Chat to representatives about any opportunities available with these organisations.

Introducing Start-Up City

Signposts at the gradireland Summer Fair

Not sure if you want to go down the traditional career route or apply for a graduate programme? This year’s gradireland Graduate Careers Fair will host our very first Start-Up Zone, which will see some of Ireland’s emerging tech talent exhibiting. Pop over to Start-Up City at the Graduate Careers Fair and find out what it’s like to be part of a high growth, fast paced start up team! Exhibitors include Gamex, Huggnote, Aromatrix and many more.

So there you have it! Four things that you might not have known about the Graduate Careers Fair, all the more reason to register now and we’ll see you in the RDS on October 5th.

Register for free entry at www.graduatecareersfair.com

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

 


5 Reasons why you should enter the Higher Education Awards

You might be weighing up the pros and cons of spending the time to enter the gradireland Higher Education Awards but it’s definitely time well spent and we’ve put together five reasons why it makes sense to enter.

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  1.       Marketing & PR

Awards may not spring to mind when thinking about marketing opportunities but just being short-listed can greatly enhance the awareness of your course and your institution as a progressive place to study. Being associated with awards can provide great PR opportunities to be recognised both nationally and internationally. Awards celebrate hard work and success and it is a great opportunity to put your course in the spotlight.

  1.     Third Party Endorsement

Winning an award or even being short-listed can act as a third party endorsement for your course and institution. Having your course judged and endorsed by an independent panel of respected leaders gives your institution increased credibility. Receiving an award acknowledges your excellence in a category and provides a distinct competitive advantage over rivals.

  1.  The Process –for now and for the future.

The application process will not only allow you to identify your successes but it can also highlight some areas that may need improvement when comparing yourself to the competition. Submitting an entry to the Higher Education Awards is also a good opportunity to really promote what your College or University does really well and also show how and where you’re looking to progress your institution in the near future.

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  1.      Building team morale

Succeeding requires a team effort and an award gives recognition to your lecturers and department heads, recognising the invaluable contribution they make to your institution. This is invaluable in terms of boosting morale and bringing your team to the awards ceremony is a great way of celebrating your achievements as a team and also provides great networking opportunities.

  1.       Competitive Advantage

Winning an award not only provides a great sense of achievement, it also provides a competitive advantage going forward for your school or department, in terms of attracting new students and driving applications to a course. It can provide that distinguishing factor in a crowded marketplace and best of all, these awards are FREE to enter!

To find out more about the inaugural Higher Education Awards contact Ailbhe Lee on 01-6451500 or email ailbhe.lee@gradireland.com . Further details available at www.highereducationawards.com


Guest blog: Irish Feet Touchdown in España

Ever wonder what it is like to teach in a foreign country? Check out this blog by Sarah G. about life as a teacher in Spain with Meddeas.

A small fish in a big pond is how I’d describe the initial shock I felt in January of this year when I came to teach in Spain as a language assistant.

On mid week Wednesday mornings, when it’s almost 8:45am, before you finally get the courage to get out of bed, it’s arriving at school and one of the children from my one year old class coming up to me saying “Hello Sara” -instead of the usual “Hola”-, that makes teaching worthwhile; or when a three year old boy comes up to me and says “¿Cómo se dice ‘te quiero’ en inglés?” and then proceeds to spend the day telling every man woman and child “I love you”.

Those are the moments that make me want to do this forever and those are the moments that make me already apprehensive about leaving! The same three-year-old also melted my heart with love for him on February 14th of this year, Día de San Valentín, when he came up to me with a ring and said “Quieres ser mi novia?” (Do you want to be my girlfriend?).

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This experience abroad to date has been incredible and I regret nothing: I am learning more Spanish working with kids and living with a Spanish family than I ever would in University. Why? Well it’s difficult to explain. I’m completely immersed: my family speak English quite well but apart from the conversations I have with Javier (eight year old host brother), I tend to speak Spanish for the majority of the time I spend in the family home. Every day I’m learning new words and phrases. Every day there is something different to eat, something with a new difficult-to-pronounce name: “Gazpacho”“Albondigas” (meatballs),  “Pulpo a la gallega” to name but a few. With every new dish that’s placed before me is a new word to learn, so by eating (a favourite pass time of mine), I’m learning too!

Initially, coming to teach in Spain I knew I was going to find out so much about the culture and the food and the language, which was one of the reasons why I felt theMeddeas programme of staying with a family was ideal: you have no choice but to immerse yourself in everything that is España. I knew that the life of the people in Jerez would be different to that of what I had been used to in Spain. I don’t think it’s possible to live in Jerez without being constantly reminded of “caballos”“tinto”and, of course, bull fighting!

The initial feeling I received in school was fame. You would think children, from one to five years old, that a pale-skinned ginger-haired girl from Ireland would scare them, that they’d take awhile to get used to you. This is not the case, the more you stand out the more they like you. Clearly, I can never be mistaken for Spanish. Constantly, I have kids hanging out of me “¿Me toca? ¿Puedo ir contigo? Señora Sara, Señora Sara, Señora Sara” (Is it my turn? Can I come with you? Miss Sarah, Miss Sarah, Miss Sarah) , most days I love it! (Note: Most days). Within my first week, I had marriage proposals and invitations to birthday parties. I was both humbled and overwhelmed by the welcoming I received from the children in my school.

But the experience is not all that rosy rosy rosy: teaching children who have limited English at such a young age is difficult. I wanted nothing more than to be swallowed alive half way through my first class with the 3 year-olds. I constantly have to remind myself to breathe. My three and four year-olds are the most difficult to teach as their attention spans are short and their need for movement is quite substantial. Surprisingly, facial expressions, tone of voice and lots and lots of pictures can keep the one year-olds entertained for the duration of the class quite easily. Side note: Do not say/do anything you don’t want the children to repeat. If you say “Touch your head” and, while you are waiting for the children to do it themselves, you get an itchy nose so you scratch it, your nose will forever be your head in their eyes!

Both Meddeas and the teachers in my school have been amazing. I really have got two families here in Jerez: one with my host family and the other in my school. I’m growing so much as an individual. I love the independence that Jerez has offered; it’s been an incredible experience so far. I can’t comprehend the fact that I arrived to teach in Spain almost two months ago.If someone could please slow down time that would be “estupendo”, I really don’t want to leave!

Meddeas are currently recruiting for teachers in Spain, find out more here.