Today we interview Lewis Foakes, a student from the University of Portsmouth, in southern England. He will be part of the Entrelenguas’ team for six months, helping this language school with general intercultural communication. He is part of the new generation who prefers acquiring valuable working experience instead of learning at an international university as part of his degree. This is possible thanks to the European Erasmus+ Programme, which is aimed at promoting education and training abroad.
Why did you decide to undertake the Erasmus Plus program at a local company and not at a university?
I spent my first Erasmus Plus semester in a French university and thought that it would be better for me to spend my second semester in a company where I could practise my Spanish in an authentic setting. Knowing that I want to go into teaching or translation, I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to gain some experience in the translation field.
You have been part of Escuela Entrelenguas for about a month, what are the sort of tasks you carry out there?
Since being here, I’ve completed a lot of work. To begin with, I was mainly proofreading previously translated marketing materials, but as I gained more confidence I started to translate. So far, I’ve translated contracts for Entrelenguas and I’ve also been translating new marketing materials for new programmes and courses that are being offered. I’m gaining experience in different fields of translation all the time, and I’ve even translated the website into French!
In terms of learning, do you feel you are improving your Spanish?
I feel like I’m learning every day. I started Spanish Ab-initio at university – before that all I could say was ‘hola, ¿cómo estás?’, so I must admit, I was a little nervous about undertaking a placement where I’d be speaking Spanish all day, every day after learning Spanish for such a short time. However, I’ve been here for just over a month now and I’m really noticing a change. I don’t have to think as much when I’m speaking; things are coming more naturally and also I can actually understand the Andalusian accent!
How is Spain treating you?
I love Spain. The way of life here is much more relaxed than that of England. It’s easy adapting to having a siesta in the afternoons, and that’s something that I wish the English did! I didn’t know too much about the Spanish culture beforehand, but I feel like I’m adapting well.
Why would you recommend other students to undertake an Erasmus Plus placement abroad?
Spending time in another country is one of the best things I’ve done, not only for the level of my target languages, but also to discover different cultures. Being in the country where your target language is spoken enables you to come on leaps and bounds with your language skills and see how local people live. I’d recommend any and every student to spend time abroad.