Gain International Experience with Meddeas – Why Spain?

What makes Spain different from other countries? The generics like learning a new language, experiencing a new culture, and visiting new places are given, but let me tell you some strange specifics that you’ll encounter as a result of living and teaching in Spain specifically. If you want to gain international experience, Spain could be your place. Here you will find 10 funny reasons why you should choose Spain as a destination to help to teach English.

1. You’ll Become a Self-assigned Sponsor for Transportation
Let me take a minute to promote the Madrid transportation system. I just pay 20 euros per month to have unlimited rides on the metro, bus, and trains! I find myself saying variations of this, at least, once a week. Transportation within Spain and, furthermore Europe, will bring you hundreds of opportunities to explore your new home…and you won’t stop talking about it.

2. You’ll Get Asked if You’re Married
Moving to a different country means experiencing different traditions. No, I don’t just mean things like different Christmas customs. I mean little things too. In Spain, they wear their wedding rings on their right-hand ring finger. When I showed up to school with my high school class ring where a wedding ring would be, needless to say, the kids had many questions for me.

3. You’ll Get a Nice Spanish Tan
The weather!!! The first day I arrived here, there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. My second day was exactly the same. And the third. And the fourth. Do you see the pattern? Whether you’re taking a weekend trip from the north or you’re lucky enough to live in the south, you’ll find yourself soaking up the sun. Your kids will be asking you to have class outside, and you won’t hesitate to agree (Disclaimer: I know it’s generally rainy in the north, but it’s still gorgeous).

View of one of the clearest skies I’ve seen with Siete Picos in the background just outside of Madrid.

4. You’ll See the Mountains from the Beach
One of many things that I did not expect upon my arrival here was living in a city and seeing a mountain range on my walk to school. I also did not expect to visit a beach on the weekend and see snow-capped mountains in the background. Spain’s biodiversity is extremely underestimated – the only piece of nature I associated with Spain was plains because of that saying….You know the one. There truly is so much more than plains – you can hike, scuba dive, visit beach dunes, ski, you name it.

Hiking to Los Miradores de Los Poetas.

5. You’ll Buy 5 Items of Clothes for 10 Euros
Okay, so maybe not those numbers exactly, but you’d be surprised how close you can get when there are rebajas (sales). I held out buying new clothes until the best time of year for rebajas, right after January 6th. In Spain, the few weeks after this date is like a constant Black Friday extravaganza. Packing space in your backpack before you come here for 9 months is a must. My Spanish wardrobe was well worth waiting for. Now, I just have to figure out how to bring it back home.

6. You’ll Become a Fashion Model
Speaking of clothes, you’ll seamlessly evolve into a more fashionable version of yourself. The Spanish people look good ALL THE TIME. Coming from The United States where my look is athleisure, I was a bit caught off guard. Now at the ripe age of 23, though, I think I’ve finally learned how to match styles and colors and materials after gawking at all the trendsetting Spaniards walking up and down the streets in Madrid.

7. You’ll Learn the Connection Between Avocados and Lawyers
I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I urge you to look it up for yourself. What I will tell you is that being in another country teaching your native language really lights a bulb above your head. There are so many connections between words, grammatical structures, and colloquialisms that I’ve gained a deeper understanding of since my first day in the classroom. You’ll without a doubt leave this experience with a better vocabulary in both English and Spanish.

8. You’ll Find that Teachers Move More than Students
Specifically, in the classroom, your mind will be opened tenfold. School system differences between The United States and Spain – sure. I didn’t account for just how different the day-to-day would be, though. Teachers switch classrooms, not the students. There are no lockers. School lasts until 5pm (for my school).

9. You’ll Be Speaking Spanish in France
How could I not mention traveling opportunities in this post? Of course, you’ll be able to take advantage of traveling. I assume you’ll be trying to brush up on your Spanish a bit, too. You might not realize that Spanish will help you meet and interact with people outside of Spain. When I visited Bordeaux, in France, the English-speakers were few and far between. So I communicated to people in the hostel and at restaurants in Spanish! This was by far, one of my coolest experiences.

Surfing in Spain
Surfing in Playa de Berria, Cantabria in the north of Spain during the November puente.

10. You’ll Turn into Jim Carrey from Yes Man
If you don’t get the reference, Yes Man is a movie that stars Jim Carrey in which he accepts a challenge to say yes to every opportunity that comes his way. He seizes every second of every day. If you think you’re shy, don’t usually step out of your comfort zone, or don’t surf in November, you might want to think again. This experience will have you saying yes to every opportunity that pops up. It’s done that to me and I can tell that it’s going to last through my life in the States or wherever else I end up, as well.

By MaryAnn T., Language Assistant 2018/2019

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25 February, 2020

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