Posts Tagged ‘work abroad’

La Herradura in Montevideo is offering an internship opportunity in the school’s office, to begin in February 2011. In this interview, Ellie shares her experiences of working at the school and living in Uruguay, to give you a little insight into what you could expect. More information about the internship is available here.


How did you get the job at La Herradura?

I was working as an English teacher and studying Spanish at the school. Margo needed someone in the office, and I found the job suited me much better than teaching English because of its regular hours and the opportunities to learn new skills such as web marketing.


What’s a typical day for you?

I arrive at 08.30 and open up the school. I’m around in the breaks and after classes to answer students’ questions and to make sure they’re getting on well with their courses and accommodation. I also plan and organise the activity program, and constantly look for new things that our students might be interested in doing out of class. I take care of the day-to-day administration (reserving student accommodation, maintaining our records, preparing the end-of-course certificates…).

Another big part of my job is maintaining the blog and the website. I try to fix any problems that come up, I keep the information up-to-date and interesting, and I promote the school and the website through link-building, social networking sites, and other strategies recommended by our SEO guy. I finish work at 15.30 which gives me a long afternoon free. Sometimes in the evenings I meet up with the students for an activity I’ve organised such as a salsa class, wine tasting, or going to see the carnival drummers.


What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy the challenge of having to work in English and Spanish, and it’s great to meet so many people from around the world. The job combines routine tasks with more challenging and creative ones, and I like having this balance. There are also lots of opportunities for me to put my ideas into action, and I enjoy the atmosphere of the school, between the staff and the students too.


Now be honest, what do you like least?

At first I hated answering the phone in Spanish! Also, I’m not a computer expert, so the technology side of the job can be difficult and at times frustrating. For example, I want to change something on the website but can’t work out how to do it, or I make the changes and it causes problems elsewhere in the website. In a big company, we’d have a web expert to deal with all that, but in a small business like this one, it’s necessary to be a good all-rounder and learn on the job. This can be tough but it has its advantages too.


What’s it like to live and work in Uruguay?

Uruguay’s a great place to work abroad. It’s small enough that you can really familiarise yourself with the places and the people, but there are still plenty of things to do to keep you busy, from culture to partying to the great outdoors, or learning new skills like tango and Spanish. The downside of working in Uruguay is the bureaucracy: getting a Uruguayan ID card is a long and unnecessarily complex process, for example, although it won’t be necessary for the intern who takes on the job.


What have you learned from the experience?

Too many things to mention! From this job in particular I have achieved a much higher level of Spanish than I would have done teaching English or in many other jobs, as well as developing an independent, dynamic and resilient attitude. I have also learned a lot about creating and maintaining a website, search engine optimization and web publicity, not to mention other aspects of running a small business and the educational travel industry. Then, through living in Uruguay, I’ve had the chance to learn to dance the tango, and to make a good mate…


What advice would you give to someone interested in this position?

I would advise them to start studying Spanish if they haven’t done so already – that way you can get a lot more out of what you’ll learn in class and it makes the job easier too. I would also recommend that they come ready to get involved creatively in the running of the school, because it’s a great opportunity to work in an environment where you can really put your ideas into action and observe the results. That might be something like a new activity program for the students after class, or creative ways to promote the school online.

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