Day 18 of 219 in Spain.
WooooHooooo – finally some Wi-Fi (thank you, Starbucks)!
I have been in Spain for the past 2 and half weeks or so, and I’ve been meaning to do a blog a lot sooner, but I haven’t had Wi-Fi in my apartment since I moved to my permanent place. Anyways, Spain, Sevilla more specifically, has been quite great so far. It’s just as I imagined it to be minus a few degrees since I haven’t been here during the Fall. During this time alone, I can say that my Spanish has already grown so much. Living in a not so touristy area really pushes me to use the language, which is just what I wanted.
During my first week and a half in Spain, I stayed in an area of Sevilla called Nervión. I was in the center of one of the main shopping districts, a movie theatre, one of Sevilla’s fútbol stadiums, and lots and lots of great tapas bars. During this time I was staying with a guy I met through Airbnb (a website where you can find cheap places to stay for a short- or long-term period). My host was Migue, and he was an Elementary English teacher as well from the Canary Islands (a set of islands under Spain west of Africa). It was great staying with him to adjust to the culture during the first few days here. It was definitely a great first experience using that site. However, my ride to work in the morning was extended with a 45 minute bus ride to my co-worker’s apartment where I met to carpool to work.
After living with him for a few, I luckily was able to get a more permanent place closer to where I met my co-worker to carpool to the school. My 45 minute bus ride turned into a 5 minute walk to his place. From there, we drive to Arahal, which is a small rural town outside of the capital of Seville. It’s been great carpooling since I can practice my Spanish with him during the car ride and review English with him. I really have been enjoying the experience.
As lovely Spain is, I really do miss everyone. Coming here without friends like I usually did was a whole new adventure on it’s own. Going from knowing everybody at Wayne to knowing nobody in Sevilla has been the most difficult transition of my life. Luckily there are many language exchanges that I have been going to, and I have been meeting lots of students from all over Europe to practice my Spanish with and to help practice their English. It’s an awesome concept – meet a bar and just drink and chat about whatever. Everyone seems to be trying to learn English, so it is usually very easy to find people to chat with at these events.
My actual work in Spain has been awesome. I love the school, students, teachers, staff, everything. I am teaching 18 classes, grades 1 through 6, three classes per grade, for 45 minutes per week, Mondays through Thursday from 9am to 2pm (Thursdays until 11:15am). So even though it sounds like a lot, I am only working 13.5 hours weekly, which gives me tons of time to explore Arahal, Sevilla, Spain, and Europe! The school has a 1.5 hour radio program, and I was asked if I can be interviewed on Thanksgiving day for their once-a-month English Corner segment. I am looking forward to that. You can check it out by visiting mixlr.com/radiopazarahal. Here is a video of the students live on-air! Besides the radio program, the students are so interested in the overall English language for the most part. They have been learning British English, and that is what I am forced to teach, but they love hearing about American culture. For some reason, when I told them I was from Detroit, they kept asking me about the Hardcore Pawn shop located in Detroit since there is a TV show about it. Unfortunately, I’ve never been there to tell them about it. They were also so amused by Detroit’s skyline with the river and skyscrapers. Spain doesn’t really have this type of landscape, minus a few buildings in Madrid. Since the students are mainly from this rural city, me being from an urban city allowed them to get a totally new perspective of the world. When I showed them pictures of the RenCen, Comerica Park, Ford Field, American money, maps of the USA, food, etc., they were so amuse and excited to learn about the city and culture. By doing this, it built a stronger connection between me and them. Even though I have only been teaching there for about two weeks, all the students now know me, and when passing them in the hallway, they are eager to say “Hello” or “Hi, how are you?” so that they can practice their few vocabulary phrases with me. It’s quite awesome!
I am going to leave you all with some captioned photos below, and hopefully I can get back on here in a week or so to post more about my teaching adventure in Spain! Please comment! 🙂