What position do you hold at Live Languages Abroad? What has been your career path so far?
Gemma: I am the director at Live Languages Abroad. In 2012, after almost 10 years of working in the Language Travel Industry for another agent I set up my own Agency offering language courses abroad. It’s a job I LOVE, every day is different and it is so rewarding to be able to help fellow language learners to choose the right language course programme to suit their needs. Visiting the schools regularly means I also get to see and experience some amazing places and of course I get to attend language courses too and therefore passing on my experiences and advice.
Did YOU study abroad? If so, where did you go and what inspired you to go?!
Gemma: I love everything Spanish, the culture, the music, the food, the people and the Country. Being in the Country and not being able to speak the language inspired me to learn! After 4 years of learning the language off and on, I am now proud to say that I can go to Spain and hold a conversation with one of the locals entirely in Spanish… I`m by no means perfect, but I am understood and that’s what counts! I`ve been on several language courses abroad, Madrid and Seville are two courses that stand out for me… the cities are amazing and the schools there are fantastic!
What does the future hold for Live Languages Abroad - any new programs to share?
Gemma: Hopefully, the future for Live Languages Abroad holds continued success, continuing to meet the needs and requirements of our students and therefore lots more happy language students. Over the next few years we are going to widen our range of languages to include Chinese and Japanese, so keep your eyes peeled for those. We often add new courses or new locations, in order to give our students the best choice of courses and destinations. Fingers crossed I can attend a few courses this year too and keep up with my language learning too.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?
Gemma: The general feel in the Industry over the last few years is that students are attending shorter duration study abroad programmes. Over the next 10 years, I would like to see an increase in the number of students attending longer study abroad courses, such as Gap Year language courses, Volunteer Programmes and Work experience abroad. These courses are an invaluable life experience for students and open up so many career opportunities, not to mention being a means of personal development, increasing confidence, independence and cultural awareness. Hopefully this feeling will be reflected in schools and throughout the Language Industry, encouraging more students to learn a language in the future. There will always be a need to communicate, and always be a need to learn foreign languages. I would love to see more students take up language learning and get to experience first-hand the wonders and rewards of studying abroad.