1. Why did you decide to teach English in Spain with Meddeas?
The thought of teaching in Spain had occupied my mind for a long time, and as the old cliché goes, the hardest part was making that initial commitment, and then afterwards everything just fell into place. I came across Meddeas and I was impressed with what they had to offer both personally and professionally. I had a long term ambition to go into teaching and instead of gaining experience in a cold, wet school in Stoke, I took the plunge and did it in the Spanish sun instead!
2. If you had to choose one specific memory of your Spanish experience, which one would it be and why:
Where do I begin! Professionally it would be Cambridge results day. I went into the school to see how my students had fared in their exams after months of hard work helping to prepare them. It was great to see how well they had all done and knowing I played a part in helping them was really rewarding.
3. What relationships and/or friendships do you keep from your stay in Spain?
I have maintained contact with my tutor from my school in Spain, who was absolutely fantastic in helping me settle into the country. My old housemates from across the world will remain great friends and we still keep in touch today.
4. In what sense has your worldview changed after your experience in a school and in your teaching experience in Spain?
The opportunity to teach English in Spain helped me gain a great perspective of just how important a work/life balance is. I found at home I became wrapped up in a 9-5 bubble, and life stagnated quickly. Teaching in Spain gave me a fresh view on life and the importance of ‘working to live’ as opposed to ‘living to work.’
5. Did you improve your level of Spanish? Has this skill helped you in your professional career? Do you use Spanish in your everyday life (work, private life…) now?
Having got onto a teacher-training course in the year following my time with Meddeas, I have tried to maintain my level of “spanglish” that I learned over there, and I am now MFL (Modern Foreign Language) co-ordinator in my school. I have been able to maintain links with schools in Spain and I have managed to set up a link with a Spanish school too. Having arrived knowing only a few key phrases like “una cerveza por favor” (A beer, please), being immersed within the language and culture ensured I quickly developed my knowledge of the language and by the end I could cope fairly well.
6. How has this experience improved your CV/resume and professional life?
Greatly. Having got home, I was immediately accepted onto my teacher – training course. In such a competitive job market, teaching in Spain definitely ensures you stand out from the crowd.
7. What advice would you give to someone joining Meddeas to make the most of this experience?
Go over there and just enjoy it, you will remember it for the rest of your life. The year flies by and not a day goes by when I don’t think of some of the experiences I gained living and teaching in Spain.
2014/2015. Posted by Paul M., Staffordshire University (UK).