Ein Betriebspraktikum – mal wo anders?! Warum nicht im Ausland?!

Bericht von Monika Davinghausen über ein Auslandspraktikum für Lehrer in Plymouth, Großbritannien, unterstützt durch das EU-Programm Erasmus+

If a teacher wants to take part in a mobility programme, it takes some steps in advance:

First of all, in December 2015, I had to pass in my application for the work placement. The next step – after being accepted – was to book flights and accommodation in London, where the trip to Plymouth started for all the participants.

A meeting in April at Passau was the chance for the teachers’ group to meet for the first time. By Gurdatar Singh Bal – an intercultural trainer from ICUnet.AG Passau – we were given some information about the UK and the mentality of its people.

After our journey to Plymouth on 24 July 2016 by National Express Coach we were welcomed by a representative of the Tellus College, the organization at Plymouth that was responsible for finding and organizing the placements. And of course we were also welcomed by our host families, who picked us up at the coach station. My host mother and her family live in the outskirts of Plymouth, in a suburb called Hooe at Hooe Lake – an area close to rocky beaches and with a beautiful view on the city of Plymouth on the opposite side of the bay. By water taxi it was a short distance to the Barbican, an old quarter of Plymouth, by bus a 50 – 60 minutes ride to the City Centre or to work.


Together with a student from the vocational school of Passau I worked for “Luxury Engraved Gifts” as a marketing executive. That is a company selling fancy goods worldwide by distributors like amazon and ebay. This business is run in a small department in the HQ Business Centre by Tom Gareth, the company owner, and one assistant. Our main task during the two-week work placement was to do the inventory and above all to check and correct the German translation of about 16.000 articles offered on the German website of amazon. Up to that time some of these products were hardly sold to German customers. Due to a very confusing machine translation the goods were offered with a description that did not really match the picture shown. The articles sold by Luxury Engraved Gifts (LEG) range from bracelets, necklaces, tie pins to guitar picks, keyrings, cufflinks and love locks, just to mention a few of them. All these items can be personalized by the customers with up to 30 letters, which makes them a unique gift e.g. for weddings, anniversaries or even birthdays. As most of the customers send texts or even pic­tures, the engravings are done at LEG before the goods are dispatched every evening. It was great fun for both the boss and us to find out how much better human translation works in comparison to machine translation. A bracelet with the engraving: “Happy 40th birthday, wife!” was offered as: 40 glückliche Frauen!


During the stay at Plymouth the teachers’ group also jumped at the chance to visit Cornwall at the weekend: Together with Bavarian students from Passau we went to St. Yves, a beautiful town in Cornwall with a nice downtown and beaches that were crowded on that sunny day in July though the temperatures of air and water were quite low. While we cruised Cornwall for one day we also went to St. Michael’s Mount: an island with a castle that can be reached on foot as long as the tides are low.

We also had the opportunity to hike the enchanting coast of Cornwall between Looe and Polperro, the wonderful fishing villages which are said to have been smugglers’ hideaways in former times. The landscape is well known as a location for Rosamunde Pilcher movies. Mainly Germans seem to know this author whereas British people do not. That might be the same phenomenon as “Dinner for one”, the British theatre play at TV at New Year’s Eve on German channels.


The two weeks at the UK, especially at London and Plymouth, did not only offer the chance of improving my language skills but also helped me to learn about country and people. I had wonderful talks to open-minded people about the UK, Devon, Cornwall, the weather and even about the Brexit.


The programme was offered and financed by Erasmus+ and supported by the Tellus College of Plymouth, which was responsible for the recruiting of work placements and host families. Many thanks for the opportunity to get mobile by taking part in this programme!!!


Monika Davinghausen                                                                      October 2016

Teacher at the vocational school of Erlangen