When Eileen Schmidt, a 20-year-old student from Germany, stepped onto a plane destined for London, she had only an inkling of what to expect. Through the Internship Programme, an Erasmus+ funded venture, she had the chance to do work experience at Harmony Nursery and instantly fell for the city and its bustling atmosphere and open-mindedness. Back home, Eileen lives in a small village, studies child care at BBS Westerburg in Southwest Germany and enjoys reading and going for walks with her dog Snoopy. Who would have thought an overwhelming city like London would be such a perfect match? We asked Eileen about her time in the UK and how it has changed and inspired her.
What sparked your interest for child care?
I have always enjoyed working as a babysitter and seeing the children grow up. It is fun for me to explore the world with them and be such an important part of their development. In child care no day is alike - it never gets boring and there is always something to learn, explore and talk about.
What was the best moment of your trip?
I have been fascinated by the people in London. I have never met people that are so open-minded and friendly. Only in London you can talk to a complete stranger on the bus or train and not feel awkward about it.
Another thing I loved about London is “tea time”. In the afternoon, there is always a cup of tea and something from the bakery at hand. Brilliant!
What was it like working at Harmony Nursery?
I really enjoyed working with all the lovely and friendly staff members. Also, it was very interesting for me to become familiar with many religious festivities that I had never celebrated before. I would have loved to stay there a few weeks longer.
What were your tasks?
I played games with the children, planned and performed different creative activities with them for Diwali, Halloween and Christmas and helped the children to wash their hands and get ready for lunch. I also helped the teachers to organise the children’s artworks and taught the children the German numbers and a couple of rhymes.
Your supervisor said you and your classmate were a great help to the nursery. How do you think you achieved that?
I tried my best to use my experience in child care and be motivated and open to do whatever the children were interested in and thereby help the teachers.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
Working in London is definitely more relaxed than back in Germany. People are very open and thankful for new ideas. But even though working there is quite different from what I am used to, I had a great time.
How has this experience inspired you?
To try new things, be even more open-minded and travel and experience as much as I can.
What have you learnt from the trip?
I have learnt to be more confident and approach new things without overthinking it.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
For me it is always exciting to meet people from other countries and get to know more about their culture and customs. But apart from that I have never been more independent and daring.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to finish my training and find a job that makes me happy. But I also want to travel more and visit London and the rest of the UK again.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
Be daring and take this chance, you never know when something like this will happen again. It is an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Eileen visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we are also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.