Life of a Corkscrew Coach #1: “Do English people always wear odd socks?”

The question about odd socks was asked on Day 1 of our latest Corkscrew Experienceship program and although it made me laugh, it was also a really important reminder of how alien everything must be to the students and the everyday things that I take for granted. When I looked around the office, most people were wearing odd socks and so it actually made a lot of sense that Adrian would think ‘oh this must just be a British thing’. Our latest group of students come from Barcelona and are at college studying a mixture of business administration, finance and accounting. For all 11 of them, this is their first time visiting the UK, their first time staying with a host family, their first time learning in English and their first time working in professional environment. They couldn’t be much more removed from their normal comfort zone!

Week 1 was all about welcoming the students into The Generator cowork space, orientating them in the city and introducing them to CS. The group arrived with an amazing can-do attitude and took on all the challenges we threw at them last week including interacting with shop-owners and members of the public in and around the city centre on just Day 2! Pretty brave when you’re new to a city let alone when English isn’t your first language!!

This week we have spent a lot of time looking at how and where you can find inspiration for new business ideas and it has been really exciting to see the students go from ‘having no ideas’ to loads of awesome ones in the just the space of a couple of days. What I love even more is how quickly they feel a sense of ownership over their ideas; when they pitch back to the group they talk as if the company is already launched and when questioned about the idea, they respond with a tone of defensiveness. To most of the students, the concept of startups is completely new and so we have also taken time this week to explore crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Verkami. I challenged them all to find 5 projects that they love and to the present them back to the group explaining their reasons for choosing each. This was the first individual pitch they have had to do and I was really impressed with the confidence and clarity in which they all justified their choices.

With the GIC conference just 1 month away, this program is also the perfect opportunity for me to improve my Spanish and so each day the students have been teaching me new phrases (and laughing at my poor pronunciation!) My favourite so far is ‘Habeis salido antes de la hora’ which translates to ‘It’s about the output, not the hours’.

Happy Friday everyone!

Briony :)