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Mr Latimer - Principal Teacher of Pupil Support (Forth House)

Experience of working abroad:

  • One summer (4 months) at a summer camp in New York
  • Two summers (3 months each year) in Galicia, Spain working at summer projects designed to improve students English


Why did you decide to work abroad?

I actually have the Scotland football team to thank for my decision to work abroad. I had planned to travel to Austria and Switzerland to follow Scotland if they had qualified for Euro 2008. After a heart-breaking defeat at Hampden against Italy (dodgy referee!) I realised that the next summer’s plans were not going to go ahead as I had hoped. I had researched different types of work abroad beforehand and made the decision the day after the game that I was going to go ahead and apply to work at a summer camp in America. Having researched a number of companies, I decided to apply through Camp America and going ahead with the application turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Was it difficult to apply to work abroad?

Although it was a number of years ago I remember the process for applying through Camp America to be very straightforward. The online form allowed me to talk about my skills and qualities and to explain the reasons why I wished to work at one of their summer camps. After completing a short interview with a local interviewer I was then contacted on the phone by a camp in New York who offered me a job for the summer following a short interview.

For my work in Spain I was actually recommended to the company by my friend Laura who I worked with in America. One of the company directors lived in Manchester where Laura is from and she put me in touch with them. From there, we had a couple of phone calls to discuss the job, salary etc and I ended up going back for a second year as I had such a good experience.

What was the best part about working abroad?

Without working abroad I would never have applied to become a teacher. Whilst working at summer camp I worked with young people between the ages of 10 and 18. At University, I was completing a degree in Politics and Economics and during that summer I started considering a career in teaching thanks to the skills I was developing at camp. A lot of my time was spent leading team building activities and this was something I particularly enjoyed. I was very lucky to have met some great friends whilst in America and to this day still keep in touch with many of them and a number have taken time to visit Scotland. Visitors have come from locations such as Sweden, Australia, Uruguay and Brazil!

Working in Spain was a very different experience but equally rewarding. My first year in Spain was just before I started my postgraduate degree in teaching and my second summer was before my probationary year as a teacher. I learnt a number of key skills that I feel I use almost on a daily basis within Bo’ness Academy. Much of my work was outdoors in beautiful weather and I started improve my ability to speak Spanish. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting local restaurants and got to visit many stunning parts of Galicia.

Top tips for pupils who decide to work abroad?

Go for it! Challenge yourself and make the most of the experience. There are a variety of opportunities out there so do the appropriate research and decide which option seems the best for you. It can have a very positive impact on your life!