University of Westminster graduate, Karolina Ledesma, shares her journey with University of Westminster Associates in Schools scheme (UWAS) in this week’s blog.
Not many people really know what the UWAS scheme is about. Let us find out her experience on the scheme!
How did it all start?
Struggling to find a relevant placement for the work experience module, Karolina heeded advice from her module leader and spoke to Elise Sherman (pictured, right), UWAS coordinator at the Languages Fair in 2014.
The scheme required students to volunteer 15 days with a school, and this fitted well with Karolina’s schedule. After the application process and full training, she volunteered with Pimlico Academy in 2015 as a Spanish teaching assistant. ‘At first I was a bit scared about teaching kids or teenagers,’ Karolina shared, ‘but I was also excited because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn.’
What was the highlight?
As an international student, Karolina particularly benefitted from the training sessions that helped familiarise her to the British curriculum system. Her placement had shown her that no matter how much online research she did, it would not truly reflect how a school functions and so she strongly recommends others to do the same: ‘It is essential to carry out a work placement and see how things function from the inside [of a school]’.
Pimlico Academy were so impressed with Karolina they invited her to apply for their new School Direct PGCE course. ‘At first I was reluctant with the idea of working in something different from Translation.. but I have learned that it is vital to be open to new career paths and opportunities.’ Karolina is now considering ways of embarking on a teaching career.
Going the extra mile
Karolina was keen to point out the support she received from the UWAS team throughout her journey. ‘Not only did the team inspire me to take the challenge of teaching assistant, but also reassured me that I will have their support if I have any difficulties, questions, or if something went wrong for me at the school.’ To show the level of support the UWAS team provided, at one point, Karolina was feeling isolated, not knowing anyone from her own country (Colombia); Elise was able to introduce her to another Colombian student and they are now firm friends!
When we asked Karolina for one piece of advice to her fellow students, she says, ‘
What are you waiting for? Check out www.westminster.ac.uk/uwas for more information about UWAS! Get in touch with us now and see how we can support you on your journey! Email email@example.com or call on 02079115184 (Mon – Fri 9:30am – 4:30pm).
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