My name is Maria and I am an Erasmus student from Spain. This year I have been studying at Coventry University, this means that I have had to attend to classes which are taught in English, as well as the assignments. Because of this, I have had to work with English students and do my presentations in English. At this point, I would like to share with you my experience, and see if this can help other Erasmus students in order to be prepared when coming to study to Coventry.
First of all, while doing a presentation, it is very important to choose good partners. In my case, I worked with two Erasmus girls who were very responsible, so we got along very well. My piece of advice is to work with people who share the same aspirations as you, this helps a lot while trying to get a good mark and have a good experience. It is essential to split up the work, but to meet and share conclusions before starting to do your own part and after doing it. Coherence is key while doing a presentation, even if the parts are made individually, the audience doesn’t have to notice it. The presentation has to be fluent and it is better if the components of the group decide to do interventions and help the other partners, not just listen and talk in their part during a limited time.
Secondly, the group should choose an easy and dynamic format to present its work. Personally, PowerPoint or Prezi are the best options, they are simple to use and attractive to the audience. It is important to save the document in PDF (just to be prepared if the computer doesn’t accept our format). Moreover, the slides should be presented in plain colours, with outstanding letters and brief but concise information (pictures and videos can be added if it’s necessary).
The last step it’s to do the presentation itself. For me it was a very strange experience, I had to talk in a language in which I am not used to improvise and in front of a public that has a very different behaviour that the one I’m used in Spain. My piece of advice it’s to avoid nervousness, all people in the room are students and we all are insecure when we have to present something that is out of our comfort zone. Talking to the teacher is a very good option, exposing the main points of the work can relax yourself and help you to be more confident while presenting them. After that, one has to practice oral skills, paying attention to the tone of the voice (it must have rhythm and be clear) and to the no verbal language (hands have to be free and move and avoid rigidness). Finally, while performing in front of the class, the eye contact is essential, in my case I tried to look five seconds to every point of the class (north, east, west and south), and not to stare too directly at any of my classmates.
while performing in front of the class, the eye contact is essential
In conclusion, doing presentations in another language can be kind of difficult at first, but it’s important to prepare yourself and to be sure about what you are saying. Try to be confident and to show it to the rest of your classmates. Think that they are going to be in the same position as you at some point. And the most important, if you blackout… don’t worry! Be quite, show confidence and carry on, remember that you always can do it!
if you blackout… don’t worry! Be quite, show confidence and carry on, remember that you always can do it!