Tell us a bit about yourself and what lead you to teach English in Spain!
As an avid reader from a young age, I have always been interested in other cultures and customs that I’ve read about in novels and history books. When I started University, there were so many opportunities to travel on historic trips with my classmates and friends to places such as Anne Frank’s Attic in Amsterdam, the Berlin Wall, and Krakow’s Old Town. From here my love of travel and adventure blossomed. I spent a summer living in the magical city of Venice as an Au Pair for a wedding planner. After that, I went traveling through the Middle East to places such as Israel, Palestine, the lost city of Petra in Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
After traveling for so long, it was difficult to sit still. I had officially caught the travel bug. So when I heard about The TEFL Institute of Ireland and their teaching internship abroad in Spain, I jumped at the opportunity!
Tell us about your experience! What was it like teaching English? How is life different from growing up in Ireland?
Upon arriving in Spain, I soon learned that their daily routine and school timetable were very different to my own experience growing up in Ireland. The biggest difference is the 2-hour lunch break during the school day where the majority of children go home to enjoy a three-course meal with their families and the famous siesta snooze. No complaints from me there!
As regards to the classes, I found that the TEFL course gave me a really good foundation on which to build upon through my teaching experience. I got the opportunity to teach children from the ages of 3 to 12 in both the Kindergarten and Primary School. As well as this, they gave me a lot of dynamic work to do. I’ve assisted the teachers with grammar instruction. I’ve conducted oral exams with the students but I’ve also been allowed to do some fun stuff too. For example, a few hours a week I would assist the P.E. teacher to do games or dancing through English. I’ve also taught them songs and given presentations on different aspects of Irish culture.
Tell us a bit about where you are living in Spain!
I live in a really small idyllic and tranquil town in the Pyrenees mountains. From here, you are 20 minutes away from the tax-free haven of Andorra. Here you can do some discounted shopping on luxury brands and hit the ski slopes while you’re at it. The perfect place for winter sports enthusiasts. As well as this, it’s easy to travel to Barcelona every weekend to visit museums, relax at the beach, grab a beer and tapas with friends, or hit up the city’s vibrant and dynamic nightlife.
What has been your favourite aspect of living and teaching abroad in Spain?
My favourite aspect of life in Spain is the food. I am a real foodie and I’m not afraid to try new things. My first host family brought me to their farm in a tiny village in the mountains every weekend. There, the grandmother would cook using vegetables grown in her garden and her animals from the farm. Since I’ve been here I’ve tasted authentic Catalan dishes such as seafood paella, patatas bravas, crema Catalana, escalivada, Calçots, and Pa amb tomàquet. I’ve also been a bit adventurous and eaten rabbit, snails, and pig ears and feet as well as homemade sausage made by the host family on their farm.