Mariana Serôdio and Catia Frias, students at Fatima Hospitality School in Portugal, have been working at the Live Language Centre in Glasgow for 9 weeks. Their work placement at the Live Language cafe enabled them to improve their cooking ability, develop their English skills through meeting international students from around the world, and strengthen their confidence.
Live language is one of the UK’s leading language schools, offering a diverse range of both English and foreign language classes for all levels, based in Glasgow. Host employer Katinka Csizmadi from the Live Language school emphasised how “internships are really important for us because they help us to build a student community. We like to put a lot of emphasis on the students and making their experience in Glasgow a nice and memorable one. I think its been a really interesting experience having an intern, and certainly had a positive impact.”
During the work placement, Mariana and Cátia would make coffee from 10.30 -11, then start to “prepare lunch, then prepare activities for students; for instance creating workshops about tourism and the Portuguese monuments found in Glasgow.” The placement also developed their cooking skills. Cátia explained how when they arrived at the café, the chef was celebrating Ramadan so was unable to prepare the food, “so we were given the responsibility to prepare the food ourselves!” Mariana had some existing experience cooking, but despite this they were still daunted by the prospect of cooking for the entire language school café. With the help of colleagues, they soon learned to cook. Now, however they laughed “when I go back to Portugal, I can cook for my whole family. Now , we are chefs!”
For the Live Language Centre, Katinka found the internship to be a “a really positive experience.” Cátia and Mariana “provided us with a great help, working in the café and helping to organise activities for the students, and also helped me with the marketing in Portugal. All the support they have given us has been amazing.” Furthermore, “previously we didn’t have anyone working in the café, which meant our director had to be in there during the day which made office meetings and achieving our goals a wee bit challenging. So with Cátia and Mariana helping out we could focus more on our long term goals and do things that would have been impossible otherwise!”
The impact the internship had on the girls was shown by their increased confidence and developed language skills. Katinka described how the work placement has made a real impact; for example with Cátia and Mariana they really opened up.” Remembering when they first arrived, she described how initially they were shy and reserved, but now she “can really see how their speaking has improved; it makes us feel good to see how this has made a change to their life.” Mariana, who spoke little English before, highlighted how as a result of her internship, “in the future I can use my English to help me with my future jobs.” The added benefit of the Language centre was that “the students are very friendly, and here especially they all want to learn English so we talk with them a lot.”
Whilst initially daunted by their responsibilities to cook and prepare food, create workshops and activities for the students, all with little confidence speaking English, over the duration of their placement both Cátia and Marianna thrived at the Live Language Centre. As Cátia said, “it helped me to improve my communication skills and my English, and I’ve learned so many things; its really good for my future.” When asked whether the Live Language Centre would recommend having an intern, Katinka replied saying ” it really enriches your company tremendously; my advice to another employer would be “yeah go for it!'”