Lees deze pagina in het Nederlands.

There is so much that stays with me from my work placement in Banjul, especially when I look at the photos again. The wonderful friendships, for example, the fact that we were treated so well by the families, you are immediately included and receive many invitations. At the same time, many friendships there are very relative, because people expect so much from you, asking you send them all kinds of stuff/money, to bring them over to Belgium, etc. That does leave you with a somewhat unpleasant feeling: were we friends because of who we are, or because we are white?

I set off with great expectations of what I could do there. I had to put aside my ideals to avoid becoming too frustrated. I was also really homesick and struggled a little with my health. I’m not really an adventurous person, but to be clear: I am really grateful for the opportunity and if I were to go back in time, I would do it all over again. It really has been most educational. Even for a less adventurous person, it is something that will really enrich you for the rest of your life. A work placement abroad makes your world so much bigger. The main thing I learned was that you shouldn’t judge people's customs without knowing their background. It’s so important to frame their actions in their culture, in their customs.

It’s simply impossible to compare a work placement in your own country with one in the South. The two are completely different. In the South the circumstances are very different and you really have to change your teaching style to adapt. To begin with, the language is different, the way of explaining is different (the didactics), the content is different and, needless to say, the materials are different as well. Teaching in Belgium or in The Gambia is almost like comparing spaghetti with a bicycle tyre: it is so unbelievably different. A work placement abroad can be highly recommended for students because you learn to put everything into context. You learn to really understand (and not just realise that the way of thinking is very culture-specific). You learn to make your own plan and appreciate what you have. You also learn to put into perspective what you always thought was important: everything is so very context-specific. However, your world opens up and you learn to be flexible. You learn to realise that it’s all very well being idealistic, but this is not enough.

Eva Decombel – teacher training

Kom hier met al je vragen, en zelfs om eens te klagen. Maar ben je echt content, geef dan een compliment bereikbaar van maandag tot en met zaterdag van 8 tot 19 uur.