Name of Volunteer Speaker
Name of town/city where school is located
Experience in school including tasks, classes, relationship with students/teachers
Good experience – I feel like what is asked of me is fair and I enjoy the mix of primary and secondary level students. As expected, I get on best with the teachers and students who speak English to a decent level, and not as much with those that don’t.
Experience living with your Host Family. Have they made you feel welcome, relationship, activities, etc…
Fantastic. Made me feel welcome from the start and I get on well with them all, learning Spanish as they learn English from me. We have done activities and visited places almost every weekend or free day.
Your general experience whilst on the program from prior expectations to your current experience
Didn’t expect to adapt as well as I did to living with a host family, and I believe it’s because they have been so welcoming. With regards to the school, pretty much as expected.
Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development
Tough to say yet, probably just that I am now more comfortable interacting with younger children than before. Also have learnt that materials and activities need to be altered for different age groups and abilities.
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.…)
Tarrega is quite a small town but it has all the day to day essentials you will need. It is also well situated in Catalonia as it has reasonable travel times to Tarragona, Barcelona and Andorra. If you want to go out at night Tarrega is probably not the best place for that but it isn’t far from Lleida and you can buy 10 bus journeys to anywhere for €35 with Alsa buses.
Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your school?
Just be nice and personable, I haven’t met one person yet who has been unpleasant in any way towards me. One challenge though is teaching the student aged from about 11-15. In my experience most of them don’t like English and don’t want to learn it. The primary level kids are more enthusiastic, as are 4th ESO and older. Another thing worth noting is that from about 5th grade up to 3rd ESO, the level of English is worse than I expected, older than this it is better than I expected, and below this it is as expected.
Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers in relation to living with your host family or Spanish families in general
The food is great and they will welcome you into the home with open arms. Two things to adjust to: midday meal is large and evening meal is light; everything is much later (evening meal, bars, shops etc).
Share some of the best moments in your school, host family and in general whilst participating on the program
With the family: going to Andorra shopping between the mountains and buying alcohol and clothes genuinely half the price of what they would be in England.
At the school: playing football on the teachers’ team against 2nd Batxillerat on the indoor pitch. Was so loud with students of all ages in the crowd and felt like what I imagine a professional footballer would feel like in an important game – won’t forget it.
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?
No regrets joining. Would tell someone thinking about joining to go for it if they can afford to go without the income. It is easy to spend only a little however, because the prices are much lower. The family is what makes the experience and is 100% the most important thing to get right, much more than the school. If you can’t get on with the family, you will not have a good experience.