The Language Assistant Program: My Meddeas Experience
The Language Assistant program with Meddeas has been the most rewarding experience I could ever ask for. I learned about the program through a friend who had talked highly about it. After hearing about his time in Spain, it was without a doubt something I had wanted to experience for myself.
Applying for the program and taking a leap of faith by moving across the world has been very beneficial and life changing. I moved to Barcelona, Spain in September of 2019 and it truly has been the most amazing experience. I’ve learned so much about myself through teaching, exploring the beauty of Spain and Europe, and surrounding myself with great company and different cultures.
Infantil Language Assistant
Teaching English as a Language Assistant has been extremely rewarding. In the short six months I was in Barcelona, I was able to build relationships with my students and see how much progress they had made with me as their Language Assistant. Learning a second language can be so beneficial for students.
Because children at this age have increased learning skills and the quick ability to absorb what they hear, I felt very confident in my students’ abilities. My everyday goals for the students included becoming more familiar with the English language by comprehending what they’re taught, and imitating what they see and hear.
I was assisting infantil students, a much younger age group, so the objectives for my lesson plans collaborating with the main teacher, were much more simplistic. It was important for me to create objectives that were realistic, in order for them to be achievable. I created activities that had a structure they could follow and be familiar with.
After following the lesson plan, things went great. The kids were interested to learn about the different topics, and I could tell which were most interesting for them. They loved incorporating singing and dancing to a lesson and could sing independently. The students, also, enjoyed using the flashcards to test what they know. I felt very successful as a Language Assistant when my objectives for the class were reached, while students were enjoying their time learning.
Throughout the semesters, the students have completed many lessons and have expanded their knowledge of the English language and various topics. This was achieved through singing songs, repeating bits, reading stories, and playing games. Each student has been such a joy to get to know. Watching their little personalities unfold and seeing so much progression when trying to communicate with me has been very exciting.
Coming to the school and seeing excited faces and receiving warm hugs has brought me pure happiness. On top of that, knowing I’m expanding students’ knowledge and positively impacting them, made this opportunity with Meddeas even more special.
Before My Meddeas Experience Started
Prior to the program start, I had to share my preferences with Meddeas’ representatives. I remember selecting wanting to live in a bigger city and work with infantil students – both of which were granted. I was lucky enough to be placed at a school in Barcelona, giving me the chance to live in such a beautiful and diverse city. My placement couldn’t be more perfect for me.
I found a flat that was three metro stops away or a 25-minute walk from school. I often enjoyed these walks from school, taking in the sun and my surroundings. The program has given me the chance to experience a different type of lifestyle and create an appreciation for the big and little things in life. Having the opportunity to take in the Spanish culture and get accustomed to my new life away from home couldn’t be more exciting and fulfilling.
My Trips During the School Year
Living in Europe has given me more chances to travel and I have definitely taken advantage. I was able to travel during the weekend and when there were school holidays. My chances to travel were fairly frequent due to school holidays, which is something I’m extremely grateful for. In Spain, I’ve visited Ibiza, Mallorca, Madrid, and Valencia. I was also able to see the beauty of Christmas time in Ireland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.
Because many cities and countries in Europe are close together, I found traveling to be affordable on Meddeas’ monthly stipend. Through budgeting and planning ahead, I felt like there were no limitations on seeing different places and creating more experiences for myself. Throughout these travels, I’ve remained extremely grateful to stay safe and be with good company, whether it’s a trip with friends, family, or solo.
Meddeas allowed me to create friendships within the program with people all over the world, and this alone made my whole experience even better. The company connected all candidates online through a Facebook group, giving us the opportunity to learn about each other, help each other with any questions; and help create a community for each other in each city. Meddeas set us up with resources to help build our own support system.
These connections were great because oftentimes, participants within the program were also collaborating at your school or doing the same online course working towards a TEFL certificate. I connected with Language Assistants from the United States, who later became my roommates. Other candidates in the program from the United States, Puerto Rico, Ireland, South Africa that were placed in Barcelona, also became close friends. As these friendships were building, we were able to explore the city, travel, and support each other throughout our experience.
Through this Language Assistant program with Meddeas, I’ve gained many memorable experiences in teaching, traveling, and creating friendships. Throughout the whole program, I’ve felt supported by Meddeas and felt appreciation for the company. I have had such a positive experience I highly suggest it to anyone considering this type of opportunity.
This Meddeas experience has taught me so much about myself – the courage, capabilities, and strength I have. I am not ready to let this experience go and hope I am able to build on it in the near future. My first year as a Language Assistant has been a whirlwind, and I am looking forward to a possible second year extending my Meddeas experience.
By Brittany M., 2019-2020