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"The job as language assistant is perfect for me"

04.02.2022 – INTERVIEW: RUTH VON GUNTEN | educationsuisse

Isabelle Bucher, a Swiss living abroad, uses her English skills as a language assistant at a Swiss upper secondary school. Her class benefits from the young teacher from Australia – and she herself is getting to know Switzerland better.

In Swiss upper secondary schools and vocational schools, native speakers enrich language lessons. They not only teach language skills, but also cultural aspects of their country of origin.

These language assistants, usually young students from abroad, come to work through the Movetia agency in cooperation with educationsuisse. Isabelle Bucher is one of them: The Swiss Abroad from Australia is currently working as a language assistant at the Kantonsschule am Burggraben in St. Gallen.

Isabelle Bucher, you grew up in Australia. What were your motives for gaining work experience in Switzerland?

I was looking for a new, challenging job in Switzerland, also to get to know the education system better. The job as a language assistant, which I found through Movetia, is perfect for me. It allows me to gain experience in teaching English outside of Australia. At the same time, I have enough time to finish my bachelor’s degree. I also like living in Switzerland.

So you are still studying?

Yes, I am completing my Bachelor of Social Science and Behavioural Studies online, which includes a lot of social pedagogy and psychology, at the University of Melbourne.

Were you able to settle in quickly at the Kantonsschule am Burggraben?

It was easy to settle in. The teachers are very welcoming and helpful. The students were at the beginning surprised to have a teacher all the way from Australia. We have good opportunities to learn from one another's culture and language.

Isabelle Bucher: "It was easy to settle in." Photo donated

How do you cope with everyday life in Switzerland?

Switzerland is not entirely new to me, as I was already here as an au pair a few years ago. But certainly, at the beginning it is difficult to get along in a new country. Since I knew only a few people and like to do sports, I looked for sports clubs nearby to build up a network. That helped me! Now I play football and also rugby and touch football – both very popular in Australia and therefore a little piece of “home”.

Are there any differences between Australia and Switzerland that strike you particularly?

I like the completely different lifestyle in Switzerland. For example, there is less pressure to get through the day quickly. There is the lunch break during which you can eat and chat with colleagues. Some people even go home to have lunch with their family! That would be unthinkable in Australia. There, we often eat while working at the computer and find therefore little time for rest. That’s why I appreciate things like that in Switzerland. And Switzerland has a great landscape! However, it is very cold here and I miss the Australian weather and the beach, but I also find it nice to be in the mountains. It would be wonderful to have a white Christmas. We celebrate Christmas in summer with a barbecue and 35 degrees.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to continue working in Switzerland in the field of education. I have been glad to work as an English assistant and I feel confident in finding the next professional step for me in Switzerland.

What tips would you give young Swiss Abroad who would like to work in Switzerland?

I recommend this programme from Movetia to young people looking to gain professional experience but also for general life experience and immersing themselves in another culture and language. I found Movetia, educationsuisse and the school to be very supportive.

Educationsuisse offers counselling to all young Swiss Abroad on all matters related to education in Switzerland.

educationsuisse, education in Switzerland, Alpenstrasse 26, 3006 Berne, Switzerland

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