Stan from Bloemfontein in South Africa talks about his experience and adventures!

I will also never forget the first day at the school. Every grade made a big card with drawings as a welcome for me at the school. It was the most incredible thing!

Name of Volunteer Speaker



South African

Name of town/city where school is located

Santa Coloma de Queralt

Experience in school including tasks, classes, relationship with students/teachers

  • I assisted the teachers and students of the school with vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar
  • I invented some activities and games for the students to have fun and learn at the same time.
  • I sang songs and danced with the youngest students aged 3 to 5.
  • I acted and read stories for grades 1 and 2.
  • The teachers are all very friendly and try their best to speak English even if they know very little. The students are all interested to know about you and where you are from.
  • I got along with my tutor very well so teaching and assisting in classes went very smoothly!

Experience living with your Host Family. Have they made you feel welcome, relationships, activities, etc…

My host family is incredible! They have 3 children aged 3,5 and 7 so they are always busy and making plans on weekends to show me places and things to do around Catalonia. We went to watch a football match, went to the beach in Delta and we also went to Andorra, just to name a few things!

They made me feel like I was part of the family. They are absolutely amazing!

I got along really well with my host family, and we were really well-matched personality wise which helped make the adjustment to life in Spain very simple.

I can’t wait for my host family or school teachers to come visit South Africa so that I can show them my country!

Your general experience whilst on the program from prior expectations to your current experience

It was difficult to have many expectations since this was the first time that I have joined a program like this. I expected to discover what it was like to teach English in a foreign country. I expected to learn some Catalan and about the Spanish culture. I expected to help improve the English understanding and speaking of the school students and my host family. I was more than pleased with my experience in both the school and outside of the school and all those expectations were met!

Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development

  • I have gained a lot of confidence in the classroom.
  • I have learnt how to teach English to a wide variety of students aging from 3 to 12.
  • I have learnt many different teaching techniques which I will look to use in my future within the profession.
  • I have learnt some basics of a new language.
  • I have made memories which I will remember forever!  

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.…)

  • Santa Coloma de Queralt is a small town of under 3000 people. I joined the local football team and trained every Tuesday and played friendly matches on Thursdays. If you enjoy football, I would highly recommend this!
  • There is also skating and basketball if you prefer those sports.
  • My favorite restaurant is La Barbacana, it is a small place with amazing food and when you go there please tell the owner, Thomas, that I say hello!
  • There are often festivals in Santa Coloma or the neighboring towns, I would recommend you keep a look out or ask about the festivals that will happen during your stay! They are lots of fun!

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your school?

  • All the students will want to try to talk with you and learn about you! Expect to hear the words “hello (your name)” all the time. It is great!
  • The school is small and at the time I was at the school the largest class was 16 students. This is very good for the students and the teachers because it gives us a chance to interact with each student individually and benefit each student’s English skills in their own way.
  • The school is great, and both the teachers and students are super welcoming! Yes, the first few days might be a slightly overwhelming but that happens with all new things. Once you settle it is one of the best schools to be at!
  • The school days in Spain are quite long but there is a lunch break between 1pm and 3pm to recharge your energy.

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers in relation to living with your host family or Spanish families in general

  • Be ready to explore and for a busy lifestyle! The spring and summer seasons are used by all families to do as much as they can during the good weather. It is the perfect time to see many new things and places and to be fully shown the Spanish culture.
  • Speak to your host family if you have any issues or questions. They are also humans and are super kind to offer their home to host you in the first place. They will always try their best to help and make your experience the best possible!
  • It should go without saying that you should be kind and respectful and know the rules of the family as you are staying in their house.

Share some of the best moments in your school, host family and in general whilst participating on the program

  • Walking through the cafeteria everyday. Every student wants to give you a high five or a fist bump and they all shouting your name!
  • School English projects. For example, the 6th grade made 3D models of famous buildings and they presented the projects to the other grades in the school in English. I helped them with the presentation, and they were so happy and proud of their projects and presentations!
  • I will also never forget the first day at the school. Every grade made a big card with drawings as a welcome for me at the school. It was the most incredible thing!
  • With my host family we went to see new places and people almost every weekend. I enjoyed this a lot as it gave me a chance to see Catalonia and to speak English with the family. A key highlight for me was watching the Barcelona Femeni play a league match and after they won the match, they won the league so the atmosphere and celebrations was an experience that I will never forget!
  • I also really enjoyed meeting the other participants in the program and learning about their stories and background!

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?

Absolutely no regrets joining. I highly recommend the program to others who are interested in this kind of experience!

If you are thinking about teaching English abroad then this is one of the best experiences to begin with! This experience will help you learn about not only yourself but about other teachers, students and life as a teacher in a foreign country. That is the best way to begin your English teaching!

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