I so did not expect this! When I first received the answers to Lenka’s “Student of the Month” interview I thought she was a keen biscuit eater because she said that one of 3 things she can’t live without is her Axolotl Biscuit. Turns out she wasn’t talking about food at all....
Lenka, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am 18 years old and I am from this tiny village called Újezd. You can find it on the South of the Czech Republic. Újezd has only about 80 inhabitants (just imagine the difference between Újezd and London). I study Pedagogical school in Znojmo and there are three things that I can't live without - books, K-pop and my axolotl “Biscuit”.
What sparked your interest in child care?
To be honest I wasn't always interested in childcare. Because I thought it isn't really the right thing for me to do. I was afraid that I'm not good enough to be around children and work with them. But I have lots of little cousins. They are all about 4 years old and I see them almost every single day. I think that when playing with them and looking after them I eventually realised that maybe it could be something I would like to do.
Cannon Barn Montessori Nursery, your work placement in London, looks after children from the age of 6 months to 5 years. How did you find working with such an extensive age group?
Actually the nursery is divided into two classrooms - baby room and montessori room. I worked in the montessori room with children from 2 to 5 years of age. I only met children from the baby room a few times but I loved and still love the children from my room. Every child had something you just loved about him or her and also they were all so cute! It was just quite hard to understand them at the beginning but after some time it was alright.
You also worked at ADC College for a bit to get an insight into the administrative and organisational side of things. Flexibility and adaptability being at the forefront of most successful careers these days, how did you find it to switch between the two?
It was a huge difference. Suddenly everything was so calm and quiet. But I wasn't bored at all! Because I have spent my time with country managers and they were so lovely and nice! Almost every day my tummy hurt from all the laughing there. But of course I missed my children so much!
What was the best moment of your 15-week long trip?
Again it is so hard to choose just one moment. But if I really have to choose then I think it was that I got to meet so many new people. It is kind of a funny story but I met my roommate Aneta there and I think we are going to be friends forever. We have so much in common! Also Kathy, she was so lovely and she was Aneta's colleague who I met kind of by accident. But there were many more! Like my colleagues or everyone at ADC. I would like to see them all one more time!
How has this experience inspired you?
In so many ways! For example as a person I would like to be even more tolerant and nice like almost everyone in London. I am really glad that I got to learn this from the best people so I can improve these qualities in myself. Now I want to pass this experience on to as many people as possible in the Czech Republic because we really need it. It also helped me a lot to improve my skills when it comes to childcare and I am really excited to use it in the future.
What are your plans for the future?
Almost all of my life I was like: I would like to be a psychologist and now I'm not saying I don't want to be a psychologist anymore but there is this little voice saying "and what about nursery teaching?" So I will see what my future holds. I plan to try universities of both types and let's see what happens. Maybe one day I will have a montessori nursery in Znojmo!
What would your advice be for students who are about to go on the Internship Programme?
Go, go and go! And the longer, the better. Be open minded and you will meet the best people in the world and last - the most important thing - SPEAK. Even if you are not sure about the correctness of your English, it doesn't matter. There is always a way to find out what you want to say. No one can read minds and you will miss out on so many beautiful memories if you don't talk to anyone and believe me you will realise it too late. So speak and you will see it is going to get better and better.
Lenka visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. We also arrange 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.