A former student of Richard Lander School, Zak has worked as an assistant with the Part-time Courses department at the College where he is also the receptionist in the Kenwyn building. Wanting to inspire future students to the College, Zak also represents the College at events where he speaks to groups of prospective students about his experience.
After success in his A Levels in French, Spanish Ab Initio, English Language and Classical Civilisation, Zak did a mentoring job in the summer before being asked to come back to help out at Truro College, which will give him the money he needs to travel to Mexico to teach English for four months during his gap year.
As part of the helpenglish.org/Heslington Language Programme, he will be staying with a host family and teaching in Tehuacán in the Mexican state of Puebla, then spending three weeks travelling around Mexico at the end. Zak is then considering doing the ‘Campo de Santiago’ walk in Spain, which will also give him the chance to learn and use Spanish.
After his travels, Zak will be going to Fitzwilliam College Cambridge to study Spanish and German, where he hopes to focus on linguistics.
“I never actually planned on having a gap year,” he says. “But my university offered me one so I thought I would take it. I wanted to go to somewhere in central America or Latin America as it’s a bit different. I’ve been to Spain before on study trips and I wanted to go somewhere that’s a bit more unusual to what I’m used to. After University I’m probably going to travel a lot and live in different countries, and perhaps do a Masters Degree in Marketing, Linguistics or Translation.
“It’s been weird working at the College after just having been a student, but it’s given me a lot of insight into the College and a lot of experience. I’ve loved working with Part-time Courses, it’s a really lovely team. They’ve made me feel very welcome. They’ve decorated the office in a Mexican-themed Christmas way, so it’s been really nice.
I’d definitely recommend Truro and Penwith College, particularly as a languages student. Truro College is probably one of the best places you can study languages
"They offer the Ab Initio programme, which gives you the chance to learn a new language from scratch and got amazing results this year with A’s being the average grade for students. For me as a Languages student, the College prepared me really well for everything – for going to Cambridge, for Mexico, and just in general. The one thing that really stands out for me is the facilities in all departments across the College.”
Before heading off to Mexico, Zak’s parting advice was: “If you’re considering languages then just go for it. It’s so different to what you’re taught at GCSE and it’s one of those subjects where you really do see yourself progressing over the two years. You’re not just studying to pass an exam, you’re studying to learn a skill that you will take with you throughout your life.”
If Zak’s story inspires you to explore languages at A Level, you can explore your options at one of the College’s Open Events. The next one is on Thursday 9 January at Truro College between 5pm and 8pm.