Makayla’s Spain Internship
Tell us about yourself. We’d love to know about your background and what drew you to teaching abroad, and more!
I’m from Tarbert, Co. Kerry. It’s a very small village and there isn’t much to do. I did some work experience as a preschool teacher and I loved it. Now I live in Dublin city and I have been working in hotels. I have many friends from Spain and Italy who are learning English. In the hotel, I worked with students who were on internships, and I helped them practice their English. I really enjoyed that and it made me consider teaching English.
Was it difficult to apply to teaching internship in Spain? What was the process like?
No, it was really easy! I enrolled in the 310-hour TEFL course before I learned about the internship. After enrolling I received a phone call from TEFL.ie welcomed me to the institute. During the call I mentioned that in the future I would like to live in Spain, I was then told about the Spanish internship. The process was really easy, I had to submit some applications and do some interviews. Both companies were really helpful. I needed a police background check and health insurance. Once everything was checked I waited a few weeks and received the information on where I would be going and who I would be living with.
Do you think your TEFL course prepared you to teach English in Spain?
Yes, I think the TEFL course was very helpful for my classes, especially on how to plan the lessons and some of the activities it recommended.
What was your accommodation like? Was it hard to commute to the school?
My accommodation was wonderful, I had a bedroom and a bathroom to myself with lots of space. The family that I stayed with were the most amazing people, we had so much fun and learned so many things together. I think that we will be friends for a very long time. The school where I volunteered was a five-minute walk from the apartment.
How much would you budget for daily expenses?
It is much cheaper in Spain, I didn’t spend a lot during the week. Meals are given by the school and the host family, so I probably spent less than €10 per day on personal things.
Did you experience any language barriers over there?
It was a little bit difficult at times in school and in shops etc. I am learning Spanish so that helped me a lot, but they speak Catalan in Catalonia and that is a little different. My host family had very good English already and my tutor in the school also. There were many teachers in the school who spoke English and they were always very helpful if you had a miscommunication with someone.
Did you have time off to do some sightseeing?
I worked Monday to Friday in the School and had some evenings and every weekend off to do some sightseeing, with the family and on my own.
What advice would you give to any teacher before their first class?
Act confident, even if you are nervous, which of course you will be. The children are going to love you. After your introductions, the kids will all try to greet you when you’re walk through the school, and also if they see you on the street. Also, be mindful to speak slowly and loudly for the children.
Did you travel alone? If so was hard to make friendships?
I travelled alone but it was not hard to make friends, I met some of the other volunteers at the airport and we kept in contact. I have created a wonderful friendship with my host family, and there are many lovely teachers in the school that I have to spend time with, usually having a coffee at break time.
What are the locals’ attitudes towards foreigners?
The locals are very friendly and excited when they learn that we are there to teach in the local school and they often try to practice their English with us.
Are you planning to teach English in the future?
In the future, I am hoping to move to Spain and teach English, it was my plan before I came on this Internship and now I am even more sure that that’s what I want to do.