Tonoya, Schools Assistant, UK

Hunting for Harry – a year away in the UK


The infamous UK phonebox!

Harry Potter, Wild Child, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Bridget Jones and of course Love Actually all influenced the way that I perceived England to be. Although I am yet to come across a wizard…. I have not been disappointed.

For 105 days England has been my new home, and what a 105 days it has been. Moving out of home is hard in any case but I took moving out of home to a whole new level. I moved over the other side of the world to live in a strange area with three people I had never met, each of them also from different parts of the world, all of us ‘moving out newbies’. Thankfully, these three people are the most interesting, lovely girls that I have ever met and I know undoubtedly that we will stay in touch for the rest of our lives.

Friendships that will last a lifetime

Before you know it you can walk to the supermarket with your eyes closed, count out the right amount of change in pence and pennies and pounds, eat your hot chips with vinegar and drink your 20 cups of tea a day because you are in a routine…. This is your life and nearly four months have flown by.

Tea and cakes - one of the many perks!

I decided to apply for Lattitude after finishing a degree at uni and still not feeling 100% sure about what I wanted my future to look like. I am now 100% sure that teaching is my future, despite being quite certain that secondary school teaching was my calling…. Through my experiences within my placement I have come to realise that junior school teaching is where my heart has led me. Had I not taken this opportunity with Lattitude I would be studying for a degree that I unknowingly wasn’t fully committed to and perhaps later, may have regretted. I don’t think that anyone truly knows their strengths until they are pushed and this year has pushed me in so many different ways, helping me to develop a certain kind of strength and patience that I have not had before. It’s a lovely feeling to know what you are capable of.

Exploring the unknown

One of the best parts about my time so far has been the people, the teachers, the students and even the locals are friendly and down to earth and genuinely interested in you and wherever it is you come from. So far I’ve managed to see London, Ireland, Northampton, Bath, the Peak District, Leicester, Dorset and will be able to check Arundel, Brighton and Chichester off the list come the end of this week. The best part about the UK is that everything is so close together and although the British complain about traveling 2 hours in a car or train to a destination, for me, that’s a perfectly reasonable amount of time. There are trains everywhere (unlike Tassie) which makes seeing England and wider Europe so easy!

Travelling in Ireland

Although every town has it’s charms and Portsmouth is filled with them, just being able to walk by the water, pebbles (not sand) underneath your feet and breathe in the salt air is an experience of it’s own. It makes me grateful to be given such an opportunity and more than anything, proud that I had the guts to jump into the unknown.

Submitted by: Tonoya Cragg