Student profile
Sharna Piercy on placement in Spain

Sharna Piercy

"Modules focus on improving natural and professional communication and involve tasks which really push you to look deeper, reading between the lines of what you are studying linguistically and culturally."


Modern Languages (French and Spanish) BA (Hons)

Entry year


Study abroad location

Cádiz, Spain

Placement company

Universidad de Cádiz

Choosing Surrey

My choice to study at Surrey was solidified by my Applicant Day visit. What stood out for me was how inviting and homely Surrey was. There is such a strong sense of community as soon as you step on campus and talk to students and, with diversity being so important to me, I was put at ease to see this thriving at the university.

The Course

I chose to study at Surrey after talking to a final year Languages student at the Open Day. She had a genuine infectious enthusiasm, and you could tell that her passion for languages had been nurtured by Surrey and was very much alive, even at the end of her degree. I was also so impressed by the care that the lecturers took with their students as well. I met a lecturer on the taster day and I was shocked that she remembered my name from my personal statement!

“I have felt valued and supported throughout my degree and the academic staff have a genuine interest in my future as well as my ‘now’.”

My passion for languages has always been centred around communication and cultural interest. Surrey modules focus on improving natural and professional communication and involve tasks which really push you to look deeper and read between the lines of what you are studying linguistically and culturally. Now, in my final year of university, I value the fact that I am being encouraged to find my speciality within my degree and I can pursue this passion post-graduating.

Professional Training placement

My professional placement was split between an online Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification and a virtual teaching internship based in Spain with Universidad de Cádiz.

The teaching qualification gave me so much insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ preparation of becoming a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. It was amazing to be able to learn specialist information, consider the differences that cultural background has on a student’s learning and create my own lesson plans for assessment.

I was also an English teaching assistant within the Languages Department of the Universidad de Cádiz. I taught over 100 online classes completely independently, which involved getting to know all of my students and their needs, creating lesson plans and evaluating their progress. My self-confidence increased dramatically throughout the process.

An internship abroad gives you the perfect chance to work with new cultures and learn from others whilst still integrating your own ideas. I loved travelling around Andalusia, meeting different types of people and my Spanish improved so much within such a short space of time. I now consider Cadiz my second home and am proud to call myself an honorary Gatidana!  


Taking a Professional Training placement has already benefitted my employability, and I have already taken a part-time job during my final year of University. I have real life scenarios to back up my existing skills, I am a more adaptable person who can solve unfamiliar problems and I have a clearer sense of direction in terms of my future career. The placement taught me to put myself and my strengths at the heart of my job searches going forward, which I believe will point me towards a future career in which I can both excel and enjoy.