So, for those that don’t already know… it’s official! I will be following in the footsteps of those esteemed ladies of lexis and literature – Ms. Krauss (my middle school English teacher) and Mrs. Reaves (my high school teacher). Starting in January, I, too, will be a teacher of English… in Spain!
I’ll admit I was almost as surprised at the news as everyone else has been so far. When I applied to the CIEE Teach Abroad program back in late September, I remember thinking all of the following, in no particular order:
Wait. Are you sure you wanna do this?
But what about your job?
What about money?
You don’t know the first thing about teaching English.
Is your Spanish really that good?
You? In a classroom? With kids? Real, live… KIDS?
What about somewhere closer to home like Central or South America?
Are you SURE you wanna do this?
But in spite of my initial misgivings, I realized that I had a much bigger decision to make; a decision much more important than how much money or language skills I had. What I had to decide was: would I be the kind of person who actually DID the things she always talked and dreamed of doing, or would I be the type of person who kept putting off a dream or goal until it faded into dim memory or lingering regret?
So… I applied. And then I was accepted. And then I freaked out a little bit. And then after my fellow CAU alum Dominique (aka, La Morena de Andalucia) talked me off the ledge (she’s already in Spain now, and was my inspiration for this
lunacy brilliant idea), I started planning for what I think will be one of the biggest adventures of my life.
There’s lots more to share about what’s happened from September to now, but here’s the basics:
I’ll be participating in the CIEE Teach Abroad Program as an English language assistant. I’ll be working in a secondary school with students from 12-15 years old. I’m not 100% sure of all my duties yet, but I know that I’ll be assisting with a variety of classes, not just English language classes.
Where I’m going:
I’ll be living in southern Spain, a region called Andalusia. During the application process, I was given the option of selecting 3 preferred locations for my school placement. I chose Andalusia because my first-ever Spanish teacher was an American woman who’d lived there for several years. She always told the most charming stories of the area which planted the seed in my mind that one day I’d visit. The other major factor was that Andalusia is characterized by smaller towns, or pueblos, that are not at all like the bustling cities of Barcelona and Madrid. The slower pace of life, the lower cost of living, and the more traditional Spanish lifestyle were all very appealing to me. No surprise there, really. I’m a Southern girl at heart.
My school is located in the province of Malaga, in a town called San Pedro de Alcantara, just west of Marbella. If you’ve heard of Marbella, it’s probably ‘cause it’s a popular resort town known for its picturesque beaches, its posh visitors, and active nightlife. San Pedro isn’t nearly as happening, but it’s still got the beaches and the activity of Marbella just a stone’s throw away. As one of my former colleagues from the UK would say, I’m chuffed. J
How long I will be in Spain:
I’ll be in Spain for the spring school semester, which starts on January 7 and goes through May. It’s a relatively short stay, but since I’d already missed the deadline for the 8-month program that CIEE also offers, I figured it was good enough.
Where I’ll stay:
For the beginning of my trip, CIEE will provide temporary lodging. After that, though, I’ll have to find my own apartment, which, given my history of sitcom-like life occurrences, will most likely be a ridiculous experience.
Welp, that’s all for now. I’ll be posting more details and stories about my preparation for departure in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned.