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Jamie Bllundell

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For the past 18 months I have been working and living abroad as an English teacher in Korea. Although I have come to realise that academic teaching is not for me, the experiences I had participating in a culture that was very different from our own far exceeded anything that I could have hoped for. Learning how to use a washing machine when all the buttons are labelled using a different alphabet, walking into a hair salon with absolutely no idea what’s going to happen when you walk out of there, and getting lost in the mountains and ending up in a completely different city are just some of the challenges I initially had to overcome.

In September, I will be undertaking a 19-week Intensive Instructor’s Training course, based on the edge of Dartmoor, with the ultimate aim of instructing different client groups (e.g. children, adolescents, people with learning disabilities) in an outdoor setting through a range of activities, such as rock climbing, mountain leading, kayaking and team-building exercises. Ultimately, there will be opportunities to specialise in a particular activity, work with a particular clientele and to operate internationally in a range of outdoor environments.

Between now and September, my principle aim will be to prepare for the training course. I have joined a young Devon walking group through the Ramblers organisation, I plan to join a kayaking course at Exeter’s Haven Banks starting in July and I am in the process of researching the best outdoor gear to buy. In addition to this, I am looking to join a volunteer project in Slovenia for the month of June. Going away has made me appreciate the area in which I grew up so much more now, and I am enjoying being able to spend time with my friends, family, and especially visiting my grandmother (who, despite suffering from the latter stages of Vascular Dementia, still greets me with a great big smile whenever I visit her). My sister’s getting married at the beginning of August, so that’s exciting too! | Martin Gill 07983 478571 | Mandy Parker 07834 771818

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