Department of Foreign Languages

Aspiring teachers as Erasmus interns

Teacher training students Christina and Jaime from Comillas are doing their Erasmus Internships at the Department of Foreign Languages. They give two thumbs up for the Bergen snow and to the student reception.

Christina and Jaime in front of Sydneshaugen skole
Erasmus interns Jaime and Christina have observed differences between Norwegian and Spanish students.
Arve Kjell Uthaug, UiB

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What is an Erasmus internship?

Cristina: It’s different from a normal Erasmus exchange semester because instead of going to classes and continuing university, you practice being in a working environment. But you’re also learning as you practice.

Jaime: You can choose how long you will stay, but the shortest amount of time is two months. We went with two months because Norway is a high cost country compared to Spain. Accordingly, for Norwegian students most countries will seem cheap.

Christina: On a “normal” Erasmus exchange programme you can only go to places your home university have an agreement with, but for the Erasmus internship you can choose an institution yourself and make an arrangement even though there’s no set agreement between the two institutions beforehand. This provides more flexibility for the student to find a workplace that really intrigues them.

Why did you choose Norway for your internship?

Jaime: We know a girl who came here and did an internship at the Department of Foreign Languages and she recommended it to us. She did the same masters` as us in didactics to become a teacher, and said the teachers and the follow-up were good here.

Everything is so easily accessible for students, for example the public transport. Visiting students get a good reception and the University provides you with a lot of activities

Are you “practicing” teaching on our students?

Christina: I guess you could say that, but instead of being the lead teacher we help the teacher in the classroom.

Jaime: We are more focused on teaching at home, but here the focus is more  “how to teach”, and the didactics of it. It’s a different setting from what we do at our home university, so we learn something new and observe how teaching is different here.

How are the Norwegian students compared to the Spanish ones?

Christina: Well, you couldn’t really compare them, because at home we work with children in primary school and here we have adults. We have however encountered differences between Spanish students and Norwegian students; the Norwegians are quieter.

Oh really!?

Christina: Yeah, from a Spanish point of view.

Jaime:  The Norwegians are not less active, but they are quieter. They prefer not to speak unless they are asked by the teacher to do so.

Christina: They won’t just blurt out the answer to a question.

Jaime: There is a different style of learning here. It’s a more traditional way of learning a language. Grammar and theoretic background is emphasised. The method has changed in Spain.

Christina: Different nationalities have different approaches to teaching a new language. So that’s interesting for us to observe how it’s done here. It’s also fascinating to see how the students here really are very interested in the Spanish language.

Cool. Well, I can’t leave you before I get a comment on the Bergen weather:

Christina: We thought it would be horrible weather with rain every day, but we’ve had a lot of snow and we’ve really enjoyed it!

Jaime: Also, it’s not as cold as we thought it would be. Besides, everything is so easily accessible for students, for example the public transport. Visiting students get a good reception and the University provides you with a lot of activities.