1 . Why did you take the step of coming to Spain with Meddeas?
I was finishing my degree in Ireland and I had no interesting options here. I wanted to do teaching in Ireland, but I couldn’t get in the course, so it was looking like a year without anything. A friend reminded me of an email received to teach English in Spain related to TEFL. It was worth a shot. I didn’t speak Spanish, that’s why I was reluctant when I first saw the email.
2. If you had to choose one specific memory of your Spanish experience, which one would it be and why:
THE HEAT. I have never witnessed such heat and it being considered normal. I was wearing shorts up to December and playing a rugby match on the first weekend of March, and it was 25, 26 degrees Celsius. Coming from Ireland, where the weather is always in the public domain, I couldn’t believe how normal mid 20’s was normal in October and people wearing jumpers and jackets. Madness.
3. What relationships and/or friendships do you keep from your stay in Spain?
I still stay in touch with staff from the school and the rugby team I played with, on an ongoing basis by Facebook or WhatsApp.
4. In what sense has your worldview changed after your experience in a school and in your teaching experience in Spain?
The role I have to play in life. I left Ireland to teach English in Spain. I was no longer a student, I was seen as a grown up, an adult with responsibility, whose main objective was to teach as a language assistant in a school and instruct, by where kids are going to use what you teach them to broaden their own horizons and develop their own lives. Spain for me was the first time that I was doing something that I had always wanted to do, but in a different context, i.e. another country. It was as if reality came too quickly.
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?
Oh it most certainly has. Before I left to teach English in Spain, I had the basic of basic level of Spanish and I was going to place where people speak with a very difficult language. For me, this was a positive. I was like a baby with no words. Any words I picked up were an addition. I feel it would have been worse if I had learned Spanish before leaving. It would have been so different to real life Andalusian Spanish. I would have felt that I knew nothing. But I knew I had no Spanish before I departed, so I had nothing to lose.
At the moment, I’m studying to be an Irish and French Language teacher, but Spanish is now a skill, so if I ever travel back or converse with a Spaniard here in Ireland, I can do so, and be of help. Also, it helps to understand in person what learning a new language is.
6. How has this experience improved your CV/resume and professional life?
Absolutely it has. I learned a new language, gained a new culture and got teaching experience. Furthermore, having a work experience abroad has shown that I am able to adapt outside of Ireland for work. I am currently studying a Masters to be a school teacher here in Ireland. Hence, my plan is to be a secondary school teacher, teaching Irish (Gaeilge) and French.
7. What advice would you give to someone joining Meddeas to make the most of this experience?
I would advise anyone to do this. Spain offers beautiful food, compassionate and kind people, paradisiac weather and so much culture and travel. The year I completed will go down as one of the best and there is not much I would have changed about it. Where I was just so far away from Ireland and British/ Irish culture, that everywhere I looked, I could just see Spanish influences.
If you are a dreamer of travel, wake up and become a liver of travel and you might make great friends and become a great Language Assistant as a result.
2014/2015 Posted by Caimin B., Saint Patrick’s College-DCU (IRE)