Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why Spain?

Hi everyone! I apologize for the lack of blog posts thus far… from this point forward, I promise to post more regularly. For those of you who don’t know, I depart for Madrid on Tuesday morning! I can’t believe I am FINALLY leaving after over a year of waiting. It feels surreal… I’m not quite sure it has hit me yet that I will be gone for almost a year. I’m somewhat nervous, mostly due to the language barrier, but I’m so excited and I have a good feeling about my new life in Madrid.

In case you didn’t already know, I am moving to Madrid to work as an Auxiliar de Conversacion, also known as a North American Language and Culture Assistant. The program is run by the Spanish Ministry of Education, and there are over 2,500 auxilares throughout Spain (around 1500 of us are placed in Madrid). Basically, I will be assisting Spanish teachers with teaching various subjects in English.

I am placed at Colegio Laura Garcia Noblejas y Brunet in the small suburb of Villaviciosa de Odon in Madrid. My plan is to live in the city center and commute to work. Good news is, I’m trading my 40-hour weeks for 16-hour work weeks with 3 day weekends, meaning I will have plenty of time to travel and explore Madrid. I’m also planning to teach private lessons, clases particulares, to supplement my stipend.


Google street view of C.E.I.P. Laura Garica Noblejas

The number one question people ask when they hear I am going to Spain is, “so you do speak Spanish, right?” The truth: ummm no. I took a few years in high school and a semester in college, but it never really stuck. I think I put more effort into passing notes with my friends than conjugating verbs, oops! I do remember some Spanish, but I have a difficult time using it in conversation. One of my main goals for the year is to learn Spanish and become comfortable speaking!

I’m planning to spend the rest of my free time enjoying Spanish cuisine, playing on an ultimate Frisbee team, making new friends, taking siestas, and exploring Madrid and beyond!

So for all my bilingual readers out there, any advice for learning a new language? Leave it in the comments!


  1. Watch Novelas, Get a novel, a highlighter, and a dictionary, watch movies you've already seen in english in spanish, and lastly PRACTICE, no matter how embarrassed you feel about making mistakes, without actually talking you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to get better.

  2. @cathybean
    Thanks for the suggestions!! I practiced yesterday with a Spanish intercambio.... even though I was lost half the time, it does help to force yourself to speak! I'll have to go to a bookstore soon and find a spanish book! Que recomiendas??