John from Canada. I have absolutely no regrets joining, except that I wish I had done it sooner! I would most definitely recommend this program to others.

If you haven’t done any English teaching, as was the case with me, this is quite possibly the perfect way for you to gain confidence and skills in the classroom without a massive commitment.

Name of Volunteer Speaker




Name of town/city where school is located.


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

My main tasks in the school included assisting teachers with lessons, helping correct homework, and taking groups of students to practice speaking in English. As it was such a small school (4 grades, 2 classes per grade, 20-30 students per class), there was a real sense of community and familiarity with everyone. My schedule was arranged so that I saw each class twice a week, and within the first 2 weeks I could recognize pretty much all the students’ faces (names were trickier). My relationship with the students and teachers was awesome. The students, although quite shy at first, started opening up to me after a couple of weeks and towards the middle of my stay a lot of them felt comfortable talking to me as if I were one of them. The teachers were extremely helpful and welcoming, they were always making sure I had everything I needed, and they were very comfortable letting me have as big or as little of a role in the classroom as I wanted. The teachers also never hesitated to invite me out to do things outside of the school, such as going out for a drink or dinner. The school also organized some skiing trips which I participated in 2 of, and they were awesome.

So, overall, my experience in the school was quite unforgettable, and I’m extremely grateful that I was placed at Vedruna Berga!

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

My experience with my Host Family was one I will never forget. From the moment they picked me up from the airport they showed me nothing but respect and hospitality. I really felt like part of the family from day 1. They always asked me if I wanted to join them when they went out to do stuff, but never pushed me to do so, there was no pressure either way, which I appreciated. They had no problems with me doing my own thing.  We went skiing together, hiking, saw some local events, went to different cities, and watched Euro League and NBA Basketball together. They really made me feel like a Catalan, and loved showing me their ways and customs, as well as hearing about Canada’s. I really couldn’t have asked for a better family to stay with, and I’m forever grateful to them for what they did for me.

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

Prior to the program, I was a little unsure about how I would fare in an ESL environment as I had never done any teaching before. I had a general idea of what my tasks would be from the information Educados provided, but you never really know until you’re there. My main expectation was that this seemed like the best opportunity for me to gain some confidence in a classroom setting and see if teaching was for me without a huge commitment (only 3 months), while getting the chance to live like a local and experience a new culture. That was bang on. I gained so much confidence just in the first week alone, thanks in part to how friendly and accommodating the teachers were, and my Host Family provided me with a truly authentic experience.

Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development

Personally, I gained a ton of confidence, in the classroom and out. Professionally, I gained some good insight into how to manage a classroom, and how students behave and learn, as well as the skills needed to be a successful teacher.

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.…)

For any Voluntary Speakers that come to Berga, first of all congratulations, you got an amazing town with great people. If you like skiing/snowboarding you’re in luck. Berga is located right below the Pyrenees Mountain range, so there is plenty of ski resorts close by (1 hour by car). There are also plenty of great hiking trails in the mountains right above the town, as well as spectacular views. The town is built sloping up to the foot of a mountain (Queralt), so when you climb (or drive) to the top of the mountain you can see the whole town and valley beyond at your feet. If you like motorcycles, the roads around Berga are some of the best for riding I’ve ever seen, and are usually quite empty. My favorite bar was one the teachers went to every Wednesday after school called Cal Negre. It offers cheap beer, basic food, and a great pub-like atmosphere. My favorite place for a quick bite was Bar Estacio Berga, which is a restaurant attached to a gas station that offers great traditional Catalan dishes (I recommend the Bacala, octopus stew, and grandmothers’ salad). Theres also a really good Kebab place called Gust Picant, where you can get a huge Durum (wrap) for only 5.20 euros. The town is conveniently located an hour away from Barcelona by car, or 2 hours by bus. I recommend taking a weekend to explore Barcelona as it has a lot of things to do/see. Also within an hour and a half by car is the city of Girona, which I personally loved (they filmed some of Game of Thrones there, tons of set locations to visit).

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

Be yourself, make an effort to socialize with the students and teachers between classes or at lunch. A lot of the students play football or basketball at lunch so that is a great opportunity to interact. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you want more (or less) classroom responsibilities, the teachers will be happy to accommodate. Be prepared to answer a lot of “what is your favorite this or that” questions from the students and be patient with them. A lot of them rarely get the chance to speak English with a native speaker so even though the questions may get repetitive, they are still getting comfortable and gaining confidence. Prepare some English speaking games/activities for the students, whether it be in the class or during the speaking sessions. This is great for some students who may not want to talk or who are very shy, as it allows them to have some fun with their peers and takes their mind away from the pressure of speaking English.

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

If you get to live with my host family, congratulations you really lucked out. You will be hard pressed to find nicer, more down to earth people in Berga. Hopefully you aren’t too picky of an eater because they will love showing you so many different foods, all of which are delicious. Have an open mind, you’re in a different country with a different culture so try and do things their way whenever the opportunity arises. The 3 months will blow by and be over before you know it so try and make the most out of the opportunities that present themselves. In general, if you are placed with a Catalan family, I would maybe avoid referring to them or the area they live as Spanish/ Spain. There is a lot of history in Catalonia and the people take pride in their culture and language, so try and be understanding and respectful of that.

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

Some of my fondest memories include: The teachers hosting a dinner party for my birthday and cooking amazing food. Going skiing with my host family and the school. Visiting Girona and seeing all the different places that Game of Thrones was filmed. Going hiking in the mountains. Drinking fresh spring water straight from the mountain (literally). Going to the nearby bakery every day and trying all kinds of desserts and pastries. Playing basketball with the teachers and students.

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 no regrets joining, except that I wish I had done it sooner! I would most definitely recommend this program to others. To someone thinking about joining this program I would say this: If you haven’t done any English teaching, as was the case with me, this is quite possibly the perfect way for you to gain confidence and skills in the classroom without a massive commitment. Some people may feel comfortable and ready to take on their own classroom for a full 6 or 12 month contract fresh after getting their TESL Certificate, but for me personally I didn’t feel like I was ready for that big of a commitment to something I had really never done before. The 3 months you will spend as a Volunteer Speaker is perfect because you get the benefits of being in a classroom without the pressure of being the sole teacher. You get to (at least in my case) decide how much of a role you get to have. If you want to try your hand at preparing and teaching your own lesson unassisted by the teacher, you can. If you want to sit back the first couple days and see how the teacher handles the lessons while you get a feel for the classroom, you can. Or anything in between. And if you find that teaching isn’t for you, it’s only 3 months and you get to live in a great country with great food and culture. If you find you do like teaching, you just gained valuable real world classroom experience that will not only look great on your resume, but provide you with the confidence and skills to go and teach your own class, wherever you decide to go.

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