My ERASMUS+ experience Hilary Term 2018

Erasmus+ Hilary Term Library Trainee

I have had the opportunity to work as a trainee at the Oxford University Language Centre from 15 January 2018 to 16 March 2018. Here I would like to describe what it was like for me to apply for the traineeship and how grateful I am for having this unique opportunity.

My university colleagues were always ready to travel the world with the Erasmus programme. Some of them travelled even multiple times. But it never appealed to me and I never felt the drive to go anywhere outside the Czech Republic. I liked Prague a lot and intended to stay there.

I am really not quite sure why I changed my mind on that day. It was 15 February 2017 when I received a traditional “Erasmus opportunities spam” email. I was about to dismiss it but for the first time the heading got my attention. It said: “Unikátní příležitost – stáž v knihovně v Oxford University” (transl. Unique opportunity – internship at Oxford University library). At the instant moment I knew I had to apply. I am a student of Library and Information Science at the Charles University in Prague and this was the perfect opportunity to put theory into practice in an elegant and cool way!

Even though I remember I had a beaming headache that evening, I sat down to my laptop and forced myself to read through the advert. After sending my letter of application and CV I had a mysterious feeling of completion.

The next day I got an email from the Language Centre Librarian Lucile who thanked me for my application and informed me that she will contact me in a month.

Not even a month later, on 6 March 2017 I got an email from Lucile saying that I had been short-listed for the post and that she would like to have a Skype interview with me! I was very excited and we agreed on 10 March 2017.

On that day I was nervous, even though I had been preparing for the call beforehand. Nevertheless the interview went quite smoothly. And shortly after the Skype call Lucile sent me an email saying that I had been chosen for the Library Trainee post! I couldn’t believe it, my first and only Erasmus application ever and it worked out!

After almost one year I arrived to Oxford and started working at the Language Centre. I met many people and learned many things. The previous Erasmus Trainees before me wrote about the work at the Language Centre rather thoroughly on this blog so I won’t go into much detail. But I would like to pinpoint a few great things that I experienced here:

During my stay I visited 5 other Oxford libraries (Weston, Bodleian, Worcester, St Anne’s and Oxford Internet Institute) and had VIP tours in all of them with the librarians themselves as my guides! That was something absolutely amazing! I had a unique once in a lifetime opportunity to see many behind-the-scenes places and to understand how the libraries operate!

The other pinnacle of my stay here was my University ID card. As a full member of Oxford University I had access to many facilities for free. For example I could visit some colleges, attend some events for free, have access to online courses at lynda.com and of course – visit many libraries! If I were to recommend one single most picturesque place of all, I would probably recommend to visit the Taylor Institution Library. But other places were nice also – I enjoyed walking through the town a lot and I took many pictures (some of which you can see here).

And now for the last words and expressing my gratitude: Hereby I would like to thank all the people who I have met and communicated with, in particular Lucile Deslignères, the Main Librarian. Lucile’s kindness and hard-working are an inspiration to me! Mostly I admire Lucile’s passion and joy for the library work which I think many librarians nowadays lack! And I will never forget the loud laughs 🙂 we had together when going through the donated material and deciding which books to keep and which ones to give away to charity. So again, thank you for being an inspiration to me and to others!

Thank you Oxford University Language Centre for this amazing opportunity and many, many well wishes!

Pavel Samec

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