There’s a lot to think about when you’re preparing your students for their international work placements.
With a wealth of experience behind us, we’re here to help. Together we’ll ensure that each placement runs smoothly, and that your students are able to reap long term benefits.
“It was an experience my students will never forget. They grew as individuals and gained valuable life skills in a new country. The placements also benefited me professionally and helped me to promote the course.”
Here are some useful tips to help prepare your students for their placements.
1. Be organised
We plan a long lead-in time for each trip, with regular deadlines. Plot these key dates in your calendar, keep written records from selection onwards, and keep everything organised in a paper folder. If you miss a deadline or aren’t sure how to complete a task, we’ll be on hand to help.
2. Embed the placement into your course planning
An international placement can become an essential part of your course. You can even use evidence from placements to count towards assessed units. Build in regular activities before, during and after the placements into your Scheme of Work.
3. It’s not just paperwork
Every student has a Learning Agreement, and you should negotiate learning outcomes which are relevant to the placement. Like lesson plan outcomes, these should be SMART. In a work-based context, learning outcomes are about learning to do things. Reflecting on these can give a real sense of achievement.
4. Involve your team
Even if your colleagues won’t be travelling with the students, they can still play a role by scoring applications and helping with interviews. This can also ensure inclusive and fair selection. Organising international work experience is challenging, but you’ll learn a lot and it’ll make you a better teacher.
5. Lead by example
Students will follow your lead, so set the bar high. Build positive relationships with each employer, research the local area, and learn some of the language. Emphasise that students should support each other, and help this process along by organising team building activities.
6. Prepare for independence
Tutors probably won’t be there for the whole period, so start preparing students to become self-reliant. Expect students to come up with solutions to their own problems, rather than solving each issue for them. Make them aware of local risks, but emphasise the positive things they can do to keep themselves safe. If you become aware of a safeguarding incident, report this straight away.
7. Celebrate and disseminate
Make sure you shout about what you’re doing by sharing photos and videos on social media, putting up classroom wall displays, hosting talks for students and staff, or writing short articles. You could even organise prize giving ceremonies or cultural evenings. Reflect on what’s gone well, and start looking forward to next year.
“The students return much more confident, independent and focussed on their course. The Erasmus+ placement is a great tool to motivate them to work hard at College, meet deadlines and keep up attendance in all subjects.”