The Ian Cramb scholarships were established in 2017 are are available thanks to a generous gift from, Ian Cramb, an alumnus of the College of St Hild and St Bede. This gift enables Hild Bede College, Durham University to award four grants per year to support travel bursaries for students who are members of the College of St Hild and St Bede and who are taking modules in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (MLAC) (excluding modules taken in the Centre for Foreign Language Study).
The scholarships are to support travel, living and all associated to pursue study abroad opportunities.
The value of an award will be £500 to be used in the year May 2021-May 2022. There may be up to four awards made in a year. Equally there may be fewer awards or we may decide to make no award at all.
In order to be eligible to apply for one of these awards you must be:
Applications should be made in writing to the College Principal’s Secretary, Julie Blake at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
You will need to use the form which can be made available to on request. It asks for information concerning eligibility and a statement about the need for and purpose to which support will be put. You will be asked to indicate your contribution to College life. You will also be asked to confirm agreement to conditions attached to any award.
Applications must be received by May 31st 2021 and propose travel to undertaken in by May 2022.
Applications will be reviewed by the College Principal making reference to applicant eligibility and their statement referred to above. We may decide to make up to four, fewer or no awards depending on the quality and number of applications received.
It is a condition of the award that recipients report on their experiences and allow those reports to shared with the donor, Ian Cramb, and also published by the College in newsletters, on the website and other contexts, such as the Alumni Association magazine.
The Ian Cramb Scholarship has made a real and lasting difference to our students. You can read three stories here.
My funding proved extremely useful during my time on my year abroad. As a French and German student, I undertook three different placements, in Paris, Vienna and in a small town called Burgdorf, Germany.
I began my year abroad in Paris, where I worked for an English language teaching agency called “Language Connexion”. I worked here from August-December 2018. Living and working in Paris was incredibly expensive and I was grateful for the funding I received. Legislation in France means that students on their year abroad retain student status, despite working forty-hour weeks. This meant they were able to pay us less than 600 euros per month, with my rent being 730 euros per month, this meant my salary wouldn’t even cover it, despite working from 9:30am-6pm five days per week. My travel bursary allowed me to pay my initial deposit for my housing, which despite my savings, I wouldn’t have been able to afford.
I found my time in Paris insightful, yet also came with challenges. I spent the majority of my time working in an office, yet also spent a few hours per week teaching English in schools. My office was French speaking which was great for my language skills. I also enjoyed the teaching which made me adaptable, confident and resilient. Sometimes, we were given thirty minutes notice before teaching thirty young children for two hours, which was stressful but allowed me to think on my feet and take charge! It gave me a real insight into working life and made me really consider what I wanted to do as a career.
I also spent my placement in Vienna teaching. Here I undertook a British Council Placement, teaching in two schools on alternate weeks. I had an amazing time in Vienna. I was working part time but with a strong salary, so I was able to make the most of the city. I took an evening intensive German language course, which allowed me to have 6 hours teaching per evening. I built up strong rapports with my colleagues who taught me a lot about Viennese culture, and I felt integrated into their community. My students were enthusiastic and interested, and I felt they really helped me become a confident leader. I was able to explore the city and was particularly interested in the artistic scene. I wrote an essay about Rachel Whitehead’s war memorial in the city and was pleased to achieve a strong 2:1 in this, particularly given that the whole essay was in German.
My third and final placement was at a language school in Burgdorf, Germany. This was a town of about 10,000 people just outside of Hannover. I taught afternoon and evening classes to various age groups, from young children to older adults. I also lived with a German family and also assisted in the town’s grammar school once weekly. I was speaking German constantly which was tiring and intense, however I’m really glad I did this. As an ab initio German student, speaking was something I really struggled with. This has greatly improved; I was really pleased to get a first in my mock German oral which is something I never thought would be achievable for me.
Having the flexibility of my year abroad also allowed me to undertake two work experience placements in the UK between my placements; one at M&C Saatchi advertising and another at Dovetail PR. I am very grateful for my opportunity to work abroad. It has made me employable thanks to the experience that I have amassed which many other graduates don’t have.
I have managed to secure a graduate scheme, beginning in September 2020. I will be working in Buying and Merchandising at TJX (TKMaxx and Homesense). This is a German speaking role, and I am excited to continue using my language skills in my future career. My feedback from the interview process was that they were impressed with my leadership skills and ability to build rapports; I feel this is as a result of my year abroad. Being abroad forces you to put yourself out there in ways you wouldn’t normally at home. It was at times incredibly daunting moving to foreign countries, knowing no one. However, it has made me resilient and adaptable, which is a skill that I believe employers are searching for.
I would like to thank you for your kind donation. It lifted a financial pressure off me and allowed me to get started in a city, which I would have really struggled with otherwise.
From Brussels to Beirut: The Life of a Durham Languages Student Abroad
Over the course of this past year, I, like many Durham students, have been lucky enough to spend part of my university years abroad. As a student of French and Arabic, I have had the fortune of living in two different cities and countries, experiencing two different cultures, all the whilst refining my language skills and gaining vital experience for my future.
In September 2019, I found myself at the centre of European affairs and culture, having relocated to Brussels, Belgium, for my French studies. An avid supporter of the European Union and what it represents, I came to understand the inner workings of the European Union, as well as NATO and other international bodies, experiencing first-hand the work of the EU in Brussels and on an international level. I was also lucky enough to live only a 10-minute walk away from the European Commission! I hope one day to be able to return to Brussels and be a member of the work force there, in an international organisation striving for great change.
A stark contrast to my life in Brussels, I moved to Beirut, Lebanon at the beginning of 2020. Beirut is a city known for its chaotic nature, and whilst it took some time getting used to this, eventually one learns to navigate the chaos, and in hindsight, I have to admit I miss it. Despite receiving many warnings surrounding Lebanon, and life in the Middle East in general, Lebanon is a country that has it all. You would be hard pressed to find another country where you can ski and go to the beach all in the same day. Jump in a taxi and you can find yourself in snow covered mountains or in the ancient ruins of Baalbek.
Whilst many things about Lebanon are dear to me, nothing holds a more special place in my heart than the food. For only 2,500 LL (around £1.50) you can grab a fresh falafel sandwich in-between lessons, and the hospitable Lebanese people often offered myself and other students free tasters or dishes as a welcome to their country.
Lebanon is also ideally located for travel. In under two hours, you can find yourself in Egypt. Whilst Beirut has its chaotic aspects, nothing compares to Cairo. The sides of the roads are filled with people, and you would think there was one car to every inhabitant. When studying Arabic, it is important to expose yourself to other dialects, as they can vary widely, and Egyptian is no exception. We attempted (and sometimes failed) to make conversation with locals but we were able to put our language learning into real practice and expose ourselves to the realities of speaking Arabic in different countries.
My experiences in both Belgium and Lebanon have enriched me as an individual, particularly when it comes to my language skills and my confidence in conversation. Whilst my Year Abroad was unfortunately cut short, I don’t feel I lost out on anything, but rather gained a lifetime of experiences which I will never cease to benefit from or appreciate.
I was fortunate enough to have been awarded the Ian Cramb Scholarship, without which I could have never have started my Year Abroad so early, straight after my exams in June. I was really eager to make the most of my summer and my Year Abroad in general, in order to improve my language skills and develop as a person as much as possible.
After completing many applications and attending online interviews, I landed an internship in an international technology start-up company in Barcelona. I always knew that I wanted to go to Barcelona because I was able to visit the city in order to meet my penfriend of five years last summer. I really enjoyed being a tourist in Barcelona but I wanted to try living in the city. This internship was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn about living and working in Spain and I treated it as a practice run as I hope to move abroad when I graduate.
I learnt so many diverse skills during my three months in Barcelona that I will have to divide them up into different categories. First of all, my employability skills really developed. As a university student, I always felt that I had the necessary theoretical knowledge for the workplace but I had never experienced what I was like to work in the city, commute, have work meetings and act in a professional manner. This internship enabled me to apply my language skills that I learnt as an MLAC student to the real world. As the only person in my department who spoke Spanish, I was responsible for writing and translating all of the e-mails with external Spanish companies, answering phone calls and holding meetings with recruitment agencies and maintenance companies. Furthermore, I have always been someone who struggles with IT but working for a technology company, I was given training for many programmes including Asana, Google Hangouts and Google Calendar. I held the online morning meetings every day and I had to take minutes and upload them to our time management software server. I now feel a lot more confident about applying for jobs after I graduate.
However, I learnt so much more outside of the office. I recognised that this summer was a fantastic opportunity to develop as a person, meet people with different ideas and experiences to me and improve my Spanish and Catalan. The truth is that I never had a free moment! I was working as part of an international team from Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Holland and Italy. This, in itself, was an incredibly enriching experience which changed my perspective on how I work. I also met a lot of friends from different countries, especially Argentina, with whom I went travelling during the weekends. I became an expert in planning last minute trips and finding the cheapest places possible to stay, which were often the best places as they were run by volunteers, had a great atmosphere and weren’t so touristy. I visited Andorra, where I fell in love with the mountains but was also left slightly confused about the fact that a tiny little country existed on the border between Spain and France! I also went to Valencia and learnt about how Valencian and Catalan regional identities are different. Finally, I visited Tarragona twice, where I met some local people who kindly showed me around and I really enjoyed exploring the roman ruins.
To sum up, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that was given to me to go to Barcelona. I really cannot stop talking about my experiences and I have made memories that will forever be with me. Now, I have friends from around the world, with whom I speak in three different languages, and I have a new perspective of the world. I learnt how people, no matter what country they are from, always have things in common and the previously daunting experience of making friends in a foreign country is now an exciting opportunity which I hope to come across again!
Now, I am currently working for the British Council as an English Language Assistant in Toulouse, France. There is no doubt that by starting my Year Abroad early on, I integrated into my new community and my new workplace much easier in France, as I had already developed many important skills. I cannot wait for the rest of the year ahead!
I loved the beautiful gardens in Valencia.
The leaving party for my pen pal from Barcelona, Xavi, who moved to Denmark. His friends from Spain were so lovely and invited me along to a lot of events.
I went on a road trip to Calella with my Spanish friends.