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Do I have to be good in English to do a work placement?

How valuable is international work experience and which places are in demand? There is no arguing about how important it is to learn English, which makes the United Kingdom and Ireland a desired destination for young people to have an international work experience combined with English language learning.

Companies grow and spread across the globe, creating international career opportunities – and these are expected to increase dramatically. In order to benefit from these new opportunities, we need to adapt and gain experience in an international context.

One of the reasons for you to do a work placement programme in an English speaking country is obviously to improve your English. Other reasons include improving your future job prospects, your transferable skills, to experience the local culture and to meet new friends and socialise. And by having a full immersion in an English speaking country (meaning you are listening to, reading and talking English only all day long) you can expect quick progress.

However, it is always advisable to refresh your English before starting a work experience. Generally speaking, the lower your English level, the fewer variety of tasks or responsibility you can expect. If you are looking for more manual tasks where you are not in contact with customers and where English fluency is not required, a low intermediate English level might be okay when you start your work placement. And hopefully you will improve your English quickly.

The minimum English level a student should have before doing a work placement in a Language in Group school is intermediate. It’s not only the English level that counts when we are matching a student to the right hosting company, but there are many other things to consider: the education and professional background, and soft skills – often associated with a person’s “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient ) to name but a few.

In short, in order for you to fully benefit from your international work placement you should have a minimum intermediate English level – and the better your English, the more responsibility you can carry out in your new role and the more you learn!

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever done a work placement abroad and did you find that with a low language level you were not given any “important” tasks?

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