Name of Volunteer Speaker
Name of town/city where school is located
Experience in school including tasks, classes, relationship with students/teachers.
My experience has been absolutely amazing right from the beginning. I was given a stimulating amount of lessons/work to do, without being too overworked. All the teachers were extremely welcoming and friendly towards me and my relationship with them couldn’t be better. We always greet one other in a friendly manner and they seem very happy to see me, I even go out for lunch every Thursday with a group of 5 other teachers, who always insist on paying for me. It’s a similar case with the students, the grand majority of whom are extremely happy to see me around the school, calling my name and waving at me frequently. They also seem engaged in my lessons and happy to see me every time it is my turn with their class,
I am extremely lucky to have been placed at Vedruna Tàrrega and I have loved every moment here. I certainly will be very sad to leave.
Experience living with your Host Family. Have they made you feel welcome, relationship, activities, etc…
Similarly, my host family have been absolutely incredible; I couldn’t have asked for more. From the very first day, they have been incredibly friendly, welcoming, helpful and simply a pleasure to live with. They made sure to accommodate my every need, giving me my own personal time and space, but also spending a lot of time together exploring Catalunya, going to basketball matches, Camp Nou and many more things. They have looked after me so incredibly well, but also, they have been a great laugh and fun to live with. It’s not easy letting a stranger into your house for the next two and a half months, yet we have had an amazing time; always laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
Your general experience whilst on the program from prior expectations to your current experience
My general experience of the program has been amazing, I’ve loved every moment of it. I had no real expectations for the experience, other than living with a host family and helping to teach English lessons. However, I could have never predicted all the little things that stack up to make an amazing experience. These things accumulate and are really the things which make the experience what it is.
Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development
This experience has helped me to plan lessons and tailor them more specifically to certain age groups. Additionally, successfully integrating myself into an already functioning workplace was a very useful experience, let alone in a different country.
Advice for the any new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your town/city (best places to visit, things to do, activities with host family, favorite restaurant, bar, etc.…)
Tàrrega is a (relatively) small but lovely town. There is a lovely plaza mayor and Town Centre, with a great xurrería. We also visited Lleida for a day; seeing the Seu Vella is a must, it’s lovely. My favourite restaurants in Tàrrega consist of, but are not limited to, La Cava and La Tagliatelle.
Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your school?
Vedruna Tàrrega is truly lovely. If you have been placed here, you are extremely lucky. The school is big, it has students from ‘infantil’ right up to ‘2nd Batxillerat’, meaning you have the chance to deliver lessons to a wide range of ages. This is something I really enjoy, that not all the other speakers have the chance to do. Not to mention, the staff are incredibly welcoming and friendly; I will be very sad to leave them and the school.
Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers in relation to living with your host family or Spanish families in general.
Essentially, it comes down to meeting and interacting with new people from a different culture. Being open minded, having a smile on my face and making an active effort to learn Catalan are the things which helped me a lot. Besides that, try and do all the basics things very well to make a great first impression. Things like, punctuality, manners, making an effort to interact with the parents and kids too, asking questions about their culture and customs and equally sharing things about where you’re from.
Share some of the best moments in your school, host family and in general whilst participating on the program.
Being a musician, one thing I wanted to get involved with was anything to do with music. Luckily, the chance presented itself when the local main festival of the year came around ‘Festa Major’. Here, I somehow managed to wriggle my way to being the leader of a marching drum band. 3 days of playing while parading around the town followed, including the final day, where I proceeded to lead 30 odd players in one big ‘call and response’ exercise. I started off simple, before introducing the 3-2 and 2-3 clave and quaver triplets, the players coped well. This exercise went down really well and I received many compliments of engaging the children and throwing myself into the town’s festival.
Any regrets joining? Would you recommend the program to others? and what would you say to someone thinking about teaching English abroad for the first time and thinking about joining this program?
I have absolutely 0 regrets, and I promise I’m not just saying that. I would 100% recommend this program to anyone thinking about teaching English abroad or even living abroad.