PAC MAPA

Escoles PAC 2014-15
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PAC Escoles

Adela de Trenquelleon
Anna Mogas - Granollers
Arrels - Barcelona
Assís - Premià de Mar
Ave Maria - Manresa
Cardenal Vidal i Barraquer
CE Valldaura
Cervetó - Granollers
Claret - Barcelona
Claret - Valls
Col·legi Parroquial Sant Feliu
Cor de Maria - Blanes
Cor de Maria - Olot
Cor de Maria - Sant Celoni
Cor de Maria - Valls
Divina Providència - Vilanova i la Geltrú
Dr. Masmitjà
El Carme - Lleida
El Carme - Sabadell
El Carme - Vilafranca del Penedès
Episcopal - Lleida
Escola Parroquial Ntra. Sra. de Montserrat
Escola Pia - Vilanova i la Geltrú
Escola Pia Balaguer
Escola Pia Balmes
Escola Pia Caldes
Escola Pia Granollers
Escola Pia Igualada
Escola Pia Moià
Escola Pia Sabadell
Escola Pia Sant Antoni
Escola Pia Santa Anna - Mataró
Escola Pia Sarrià Calassanç
Escola Pia Tàrrega
Escola Pia Terrassa
Escolàpies El Masnou
Escolàpies Figueres
Escolàpies Sant Martí
Escoles Minguella - Badalona
FEDAC Amílcar - Barcelona
FEDAC Anglès
FEDAC Canet
FEDAC Castellar
FEDAC Cerdanyola
FEDAC Gironella
FEDAC Horta
FEDAC Lleida
FEDAC Manresa
FEDAC Monistrol
FEDAC Montcada
FEDAC Pineda
FEDAC Pont Major
FEDAC Prats
FEDAC Ripollet
FEDAC Salt
FEDAC Santa Coloma
FEDAC St. Andreu
FEDAC St. Vicenç
FEDAC Súria
FEP Sant Lluís Gonçaga
Fund. Privada Voramar - Barcelona
Fundació Llor
Immaculada Concepció - Horta
Infant Jesús
Jardí - Granollers
Jesuïtes Lleida - Claver
Jesús Maria (Badalona)
Jesús Maria (Sant Gervasi)
Jesús Maria Sant Andreu
Jesús, Maria i Josep - Barcelona
Joan Pelegrí - Barcelona
Joan XXIII - Tarragona
Josep Tous - Barcelona
La Mercè - Martorell
La Merced - Barcelona
La Presentació - Arenys de Mar
La Presentació - Reus
La Salle Bonanova
La Salle Cassà de la Selva
La Salle Figueres
La Salle Girona
La Salle Gràcia
La Salle Manlleu
La Salle Manresa
La Salle Montcada
La Salle Sant Celoni
La Salle Santa Coloma de Farners
Lestonnac Barcelona
Lestonnac L'Ensenyança - Lleida
Mare de Déu de la Mercè
Mare de Déu de la Salut - Sabadell
Mare de Déu del Carme - Bellpuig
Mare de Déu del Carme - Tarragona
Mare de Déu de Lourdes - Mataró
Mare del Diví Pastor - Capellades
Mare del Diví Pastor - Igualada
Mare del Diví Pastor - Sabadell
Mare Janer - Andorra
Maria Auxiliadora
Maria Immaculada - Tremp
Maria Rosa Molas - Reus
Maristes Champagnat Badalona
Maristes Girona
Maristes Igualada
Maristes Rubí
Maristes Valldemia
Ntra. Sra. de Montserrat - Olesa
Padre Damián
Pàlcam - Barcelona
Pare Coll - Girona
Pare Enric d'Ossó - L'Hospitalet de Ll.
Pare Manyanet - Barcelona
Pureza de María - St. Cugat
Ramon Pont - Terrassa
Sagrada Família - El Masnou
Sagrada Família - Escaldes-Engordany
Sagrada Família - Lleida
Sagrada Família - Viladecans
Sagrada Família - Sabadell
Sagrat Cor - El Vendrell
Sagrat Cor de Jesús - Tarragona
Sagrat Cor Sarrià - Barcelona
Sagrats Cors - Centelles
Salesians St. Vicenç dels Horts
Sant Antoni de Pàdua - Mataró
Sant Antoni M. Claret - Cornellà de Ll.
Sant Gabriel - St. Adrià de Besòs
Sant Gabriel - Barcelona
Sant Gabriel - Ripollet
Sant Genís i Sta. Agnès - Taradell
Sant Josep - Barcelona
Sant Josep - St. Hilari Sacalm
Sant Josep - St. Sadurní d'Anoia
Sant Miquel dels Sants - Vic
Sant Vicenç - St. Vicençs dels Horts
Santa Anna - Lleida
Santa Teresa de Jesús - Terrassa
Santa Teresa de Jesús - Vilanova i la Geltrú
Santa Teresa de Lisieux - Barcelona
Santíssima Trinitat - Barcelona
SIL - Barcelona
Tabor - Sta. Perpètua de Mogoda
Vedruna Balaguer
Vedruna El Carme - St. Sadurní d'Anoia
Verge de la Salut - St. Feliu de Llobregat
Virolai - Molins de Rei

Arxius

La Immaculada – St. Vicenç dels Horts

The school La Immaculada, in Sant Vicenç dels Horts, is hosting a Conversation Assistant for the second time this year. Her name is Meghan and she comes from The United States. She helps pupils from 3 to 12 years old and all of them really enjoy their time with her. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!
Here are some thoughts from Meghan about her experience in Sant Vicenç dels Horts so far:

 

Hello,

meghan1My name is Meghan. I am 27 years old, and I made the decision to move from Atlanta to Sant Vicenç dels Horts in late January 2015. I recently developed an interest in education, and I have always had a thirst for traveling. It is not easy to move halfway across the world to a country where you do not know anyone and you do not speak the language(s), but I have been welcomed with open arms. I am so happy that I took the leap and decided to come, because it has been a positive and life changing experience.

I am living with a host family about five minutes away from the school. They have been nothing but kind to me and have really introduced me to the Spanish/Catalonian culture. They have taken me on day trips, cooked delicious paella and calçots, informed me about interesting holidays such as Sant Jordi and Carnaval, and much more! I am helping them practice their English and they are helping me with my Spanish (the program has also provided me with a free online Spanish course, which has been very helpful).

meghan2At school, I teach English to children ages three to twelve. I have time to work with small groups of students, and I plan various activities and lessons (PowerPoints, games, worksheets, creative projects, etc.) to reinforce the English they are learning in the classroom. I technically work 25 hours per week, but I tend to spend a few extra hours per week planning lessons because I am very passionate about improving children´s education. The children are always enthusiastic, and that makes it easy for me to be excited about going to class every day.

I have also had the opportunity to teach them about my culture. I have informed my students about everything from the Coca Cola Museum to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Atlanta. I also participate in Bulgarian traditions and customs because my boyfriend is Bulgarian, so I have been able to share that culture with the students and teachers as well. For instance, there is a holiday in Bulgaria called Baba Marta, which celebrates the coming of Spring in March. I prepared a PowerPoint and then the students and I created the traditional ¨martenitsa¨ (a type of bracelet) that they would later wear for good luck.

mehgan3Time here has passed quickly. I have received endless support from my host family, my tutor, the teachers, and my news friends here. I have gained valuable experience as a teacher. I have been immersed in a different culture. I can safely say that although I miss my family and friends back in Atlanta, I will not be ready to leave in June, and I might try to find a way to come back because I have fallen in love with Spain.

Col·legi Ave Maria de Manresa

Col·legi Ave Maria in Manresa has joined the PAC for the first time this year. They are hosting James, who comes from the UK. It is the first time that James has done anything related to teaching…and he is doing a great job. Both him and the school are making the most out of the program, and everyone’s English is improving. We thank James for sharing his thoughts with us!

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Hello! My name is James Ferns, I’m 23 years old and I come from Manchester, England. I lived with my parents, prior to moving to Spain, and I have one sister. Prior to applying for the CAPS programme, I had completed my degree in Film Studies and I had never anticipated becoming involved anything like teaching before. I just decided that at the particular point in my life that I discovered the CAPS programme, I wanted to broaden my horizons and experience new things, away from my comfort zone. The prospect of just being able to live in another country alone, though admittedly a little nerve-wracking, was enough to make me apply with great enthusiasm. Admittedly, I had never particularly had a specific interest in Spain before, and I wasn´t even aware of the autonomous region, Catalonia, but now I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! I’ve never felt more at home. Anyway, in Spring 2014, a close friend and I decided to both go for it and apply, having simply found the course online by chance, and fortunately for us, we’ve ended up in the same beautiful city, Manresa, which is about 60 kilometres from Barcelona.  I work at the Ave Maria school, which is a small, semi-private school in the centre of Manresa, with around 320 pupils of ages ranging from 3-16. I work with all of the children in the school and do English classes and some P.E classes too. Having been initially been a little anxious about having to work with such a wide age-range, my worries were immediately dispelled on the first day, when I was greeted by my lovely tutor and introduced to the children, who were all so excited and happy to meet me, and completely full of endless questions! I had never considered myself a particularly fascinating person until I started working at the school!

I take each class for roughly two hours per week, and in most cases, one of the hours is spent in the English class and the other in the P.E class. In the English classes, we participate in a range of fun activities; for example, the ESO4 class have recently been making short films (In English) and we’ve all had a great time making them together. With the younger classes, I have started to play my guitar for them and have been teaching them songs in English and their enthusiasm is so infectious! As for the P.E classes, I remember fervently hating P.E at school and having never really been keen on sports, so my initial reaction when I heard I’d be taking these classes was one of great disappointment. However, to my surprise, I actually have heaps of fun with the classes and the kids love to teach me how to play sports in exchange for me teaching them English!

Throughout my tenure here I´ve lived with three host families. I´m now living with my third and my experience of this has been generally fantastic. My first family: a GP and an engineer, with a girl and boy aged 12 and 9, respectively, were incredibly welcoming and my initial worries about having to live with strangers immediately vanished. They took me out for lunch in Barcelona after having just met me for the first time and then showed me around the city of Manresa, when we arrived there later. They were incredibly generous and made it very clear that their home was also my home. I spent a wonderful three months with them and was sad to leave. The experience with the second family (from January to April) was admittedly a little more challenging. They were fantastic with me but they had two boys aged 3 and 7, who, despite being great little characters, were quite often a handful! Nonetheless, I was still very welcome in the house, maintained a good friendship with the parents ,and even remember the father telling me that he wished I could have stayed for longer, as the final week of my time living there approached! I´m now living with the third family who have a 10 year old daughter. It is an incredibly relaxed atmosphere and the generosity and warmth of this family is incredible. They tell me that I am welcome to live there for as long as I like! And despite their relatively low level of English, we speak all the time and I really feel like one of the family.  Aside from the school, I also do private conversation classes and have just started part-time work in a local academy. I have also done a fair bit of travelling around Catalonia and have visited the breath-taking mountains of the Pyrenees, the gorgeous city of Girona and of course have spent a lot of time In the magnificent capital city of Catalonia, Barcelona! I´ve made lots of friends and have decided that I definitely want to continue living here after I finish my time at the school (a decision I made on the day after I arrived here!). It´s a truly life-changing experience which I cannot recommend enough.

Virolai – Molins de Rei

Col·legi Virolai in Molins de Rei joined the Conversation Assistants Program last year. In their second year, they are hosting Adam, from the USA, and Jessica who comes from the United Kingdom. They are both having a great time, learning a lot, and also helping everyone at the school and host families improve their English.

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Adam

PHOTO 1 ADAMMy name is Adam Pickus and I am an English Conversation Assistant at Col-legi Virolai in the city of Molins De Rei, located near Barcelona. I am from San Francisco, California, in the United States and I come from a very different culture in the United States. Through the duration of the CAPS program I have an incredible dual-cultural perspective that few are fortunate enough to have. I have made an unforgettable transition to life in the Catalonia region as I have adapted to my post graduation life as an English teacher. It is surreal to reflect on the endless hours of studying for exams, projects, and homework to earn a journalism degree at the University of Oregon to where I am now as a teacher.

I have never been as aware of the unique qualities of the United States until I fully integrated into a Spanish family that I have been living with for almost four months. The family consists of two parents and one daughter and I am very lucky to have been placed in a family that is so welcoming and caring. While I have only been in their home for four months, I feel like I have become one of their own children. The language barrier will always be a challenge to overcome, but my Spanish skills are slowly improving, which has helped me develop a closer relationship with the three. I will be forever grateful for their hospitality and graciousness.

I work in a school called Col-legi Virolai that has a great support system and helpful, friendly staff members and students. Their English skills are surprisingly efficient and it is easy to notice how welcome they make me feel. I am in classrooms from 6th of Primary to 2nd Baxtillerat and I have really enjoyed being able to work with students from varying age groups. Furthermore, the teachers I have worked with have been instrumental in easing my transition into the school despite my inefficiencies in the Catalan and Spanish language. I look forward to finishing out the school year and building on the strong relationships I have created with the students and staff of the school.

Jessica

JESSICA PHOTO 2Making the decision to move to Spain was very difficult as I would be away from my family and I didn’t have any understanding of Spanish or Catalan. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew it would be an experience I couldn’t miss out on. I am a Business student and I am working here as part of my placement year. I chose to become a teaching assistant as I am still unsure of what career I wish to have and this was an opportunity to broaden my choice.

When I arrived at the airport in Barcelona and was greeted by Home to Home, amongst numerous other CAPS, I took comfort that other people were in the same situation as me. Away from their family for the first time, excited to start their job and mesmerised by the beauty of Barcelona.

My first host family were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable living with them. I would help the children with their English and they would tech me simple words in Spanish. On the weekends they took me to meet their family and we also went to Monserrat and Tibidabo and Barcelona. They were absolutely brilliant! My second host family that I am currently living with don’t speak any Englsih apart from the daughter. They are restaurant owners so I am always eating delious Catalan food. Even though there is a language barrier they are such nice people that i don’t feel awkward or left out. And my Spanish is improving by leaps and bounds! It’s been a privilage for me to experience the Spanish culture.

JESSICA PHOTO 1My school is located in Molins de Rei, a town which is a small train ride Barcelona. When I first arrived at the school the students made me feel like a celebrity. They all asked me questions and told me about their lives. The teachers were equally kind and made me feel welcome. Not all the teachers could speak english but a simple greeting made me feel accepted. My tutor in particular is always there for me if I have any concerns and I always feel like I can talk to her. She always makes sure I have no problems with my host family and lessons and she will always try to help me if I have concerns.

My tasks at the school include working with children 3 to 10 year olds and the teachers at the school, therefore I am gaining a vast amount of experience; although, it was very difficult to remember names. The activities I do with each age group vary, but they are all focused on helping them with their oral English skills and learning new vocabulary and grammar. For example, activities with the pre-primary children involve teaching them very simple things such as greetings, colours, and animals etc. I’ve learnt that singing is an invaluable way of teaching children, especially with the little ones. In the older students’ lessons, we often revise English grammar using games/sections from the textbooks. I check their spelling and correct their pronunciation.

This experience is most certainly the most challening, rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done. I have done something similar as I have previously been a Lifeguard/counsellor at Camp 7 Hills, Girl scouts NY for three months but the experience was vastly different. Most of the time I’m not very expressive but I’ve learnt a lot about myself during these past months. It’s an experience I will always hold dear.

Santa Teresa de Jesús – Vilanova i la Geltrú

Santa Teresa de Jesús school, located in Vilanova, has been in the Conversation Assistants program for many years. This year they are hosting Kendall, who comes from the US. We leave you with the text that Kendall and his tutor, Roser, have written for us.

Thank you so much!

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L’auxiliar aquest any ha vingut de més enllà de l’Atlàntic, dels Estats Units: des de Boston a la nostra escola a Vilanova i la Geltrú. La seva llengua materna, l’accent i el bagatge cultural són totalment diferents als que estàvem acostumats d’altres auxiliars de conversa, que sempre havien vingut del Regne Unit o Irlanda. Aquest fet ens ha permès a tota la comunitat educativa gaudir i aprendre amb una persona de parla anglesa, però amb unes arrels i tradicions totalment diferents.

Com cada any, l’auxiliar col·labora a tots els nivell educatius que tenim a l’escola, des d’infantil, passant per primària i secundària, i fins i tot a CF. S’està ocupant de grups reduïts de conversa, i col·labora també en altres projectes que es duen a terme a l’escola com l’English Song Contest, o la trobada amb alumnes anglesos de Plymouth.

Com a tutora de l’auxiliar, crec que ha estat molt enriquidor per als alumnes poder posar al mapa un país tan gran i tan divers com els Estats Units gràcies a tot allò que ens ha relatat el Kendall.

Kendall Fears - primaryVilanova i la Geltrú is a comfortable and very active town located about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona city. Since October, I have had the privilege of teaching as an English conversation assistant at Col·legi Santa Teresa de Jesús — situated right in the heart of the town center amidst bustling cafes, tantalizing food shops, and numerous cultural sites.

 My experience thus far has been absolutely phenomenal. The tapas and local dishes are too good to be true, the beaches are absolutely beautiful, and the people are open and carefree. Catalonian culture is very laid-back, which is very different from the hurried and rushed life I was used to in the United States. I adore how open and warm the Catalonian people are and have had no trouble in finding people to talk to and make acquaintance with, whether at the gym, bar, or bus stop.

Apart from having some of the best food of my life, witnessing some of the most captivating landscapes, and meeting some of the most interesting people during my stay here, I have also had the chance to help the locals out with their English in the school and in my private lessons. In the school I teach students from ages 6 through 22. At first, the news that I would be teaching students from the primary level up through the vocational courses was daunting, and creating lesson plans to span the breadth of the age gap did prove challenging, but within a few weeks I was able to get the rhythm down and things became much smoother. In fact, the most challenging aspect of my work soon became the most enjoyable; the wide array of ages that I teach makes for an equally wide diversity in the lessons that I give. On a typical day, I could go from talking about animals and colors in the primary classes, to debating global issues with the older students in ESO all within the same morning. I also love how, no matter the age, the students usually do not hesitate to express how they feel (for better or for worse), and this always makes for an interesting and interactive classroom environment.

Throughout my time with Santa Teresa, my tutor Roser and the entire faculty have always been there for me if I ever needed anything and have always offered a helping hand. Moving to a new country is challenging enough, but knowing that I had a support system made the transition as seamless as possible. I am now living with my second host family, and have been pleasantly surprised at and will be eternally grateful for the level at which both of my host families have opened up their homes and family lives to me, a stranger. Before coming to Spain, I had never lived outside the United States, and even though I had considered myself open-minded and globally-conscious, I had not really seen with my own eyes an example of what life is like outside of American borders. I have called this poble my second home for the past 5 months will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Col·legi Sant Gabriel – Ripollet

Col·legi Sant Gabriel in Ripollet is hosting a Conversation Assistant for the first time this year. John, the Conversation Assistant, and his tutor Neus, have written to us to tell about their experience. Thanks a lot!!!

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john_ripollet1John has been in our school for six months now. He is our first conversation assistant and the experience is proving really positive. He has perfectly adapted to our school from the first moment and he has always shown a very collaborative attitude. He is hard-working, extremely responsible and as motivated as motivating, because he enjoys his classes at school very much and he is plenty of interesting and creative ideas. He cares for pupils and they love him. He helps the English teachers from Pre-school education to ESO and he also participates in school trips. As his tutor, I spend a lot of time with him and I can say he is not only a wonderful teacher but also a wonderful person, who adds to me, to pupils and to his host families, more than just support with English language. (Neus – John’s Tutor)

I applied for this in May/June 2014 after getting an email regarding the programme and instantly was interested. Working with children was something I was doing at the time voluntarily anyway and I was stuck in a job I hated, it seemed very natural to choose to do this. I got accepted and had to wait two months until I could go as it started in September. Before leaving the UK I was rather worried because I didn’t know how the students would be and how respectful or disrespectful they would be toward me, this wasn’t an issue in the end, but it was something which worried me.

john_ripollet2I work at Sant Gabriel School in Ripollet and I work with from first of primary (6 years old) to fourth of ESO (16 years old) with occasionally working with the preschool classes during special occasions, for example, Easter. Before coming here most of my experience with working with young people was in a youth setting and mostly 11+, so when asked to work with primary I was a little worried how they would react to me and how I would teach them as it’s not something I was used to.

The families which I have lived with have, both been very nice and have taken good care of me, especially when I fell ill twice whilst being here. They have been very accommodating and I really appreciate them allowing me to live with them and for feeding me too! I wasn’t so worried about living with a family again, even after living on my own for about 4 years because of university. The only worry I had was that I would be too much of a burden on them.

I think my tutor has been amazing too. She’s made my time here fantastic as she’s put the effort into working alongside me in class and improving the level of English teaching in her classes. During the times where I’ve not necessarily been feeling amazing, she’s been there for me to talk to about any problems I’ve had, either with the course or any personal problems.

While the people who live here don’t agree with me, I quite like Ripollet. It’s quite a small town and not too far away from Barcelona by train making it quite easy to get to. I’ve found everything to be rather cheap too. It’s completely surrounded by mountains too which I love. After living in two (reasonably) big cities it has been nice to live somewhere where isn’t populated with 200,000+ people and isn’t as fast or busy.

On a practical note though, I would advise people who are interested in doing this to bring their phone from wherever they are. I bought a phone out here and it would have been much cheaper for me to bring one out here and buy a new sim card or get a new contract. As well as that, I would recommend bringing things from home which would perhaps reduce the amount of homesickness suffered. I know toward the end of December I was feeling quite homesick. It’s been easier since January, but homesickness has come and gone over the past few months but nowhere near as bad as in December.

Overall, it’s been a fantastic experience for me. I love the school and teaching. I have really enjoyed my time here. Everybody has been very accommodating and very welcoming from the students to the teachers. I’ve found out more about myself and more about teaching through being in the school. (John)

 

Escola Pia Terrassa

Escola Pia Terrassa has been hosting Conversation Assistants for five years now. This year they are hosting for English Conversation Assistants and one French Conversation Assistant. Kayla, who comes from the USA, is the Conversation Assistant that helps children in infant school get used to hearing and speaking the English language. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kayla!

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kayla2I found this program while I was looking for a job where I could have more experience working with children.  I had already been working in a preschool in the U.S but I was looking for a position with a bit more responsibility.  The travel aspect was a plus as I had wanted to have an experience abroad for a while but it didn’t coordinate with my studies at my University.  As this program seemed to combine my two main interests, I decided I would give it a try.

On my first day I had a meeting with the infantile program director and the English teacher in my school.  I was assigned to the infantile program meaning I would work with children ranging in age from 3-6 years old.  They provided me with an outline of general expectations for the first few months of my program, showed me the materials from the previous conversation assistants and told me I would begin my activities the following week.

My activities include leading a portion of the morning circle, working with small groups in the classroom and working in a separate classroom with 8 children once a week.  After morning circle, I begin with my activity which is more or less whatever I think is appropriate to teach.  I teach my activity in the classroom with a small group of children while the others are playing with puzzles, tablets, and other materials available in the room.  If I ever have questions or need feedback from the other teachers regarding my activities, then I try to arrange a time to speak with them and get their input.  Overall, the conversation assistant position in my school is very relaxed and the activities I plan are completely up to me.

video

Click here to watch the video!

 

kayla1Currently I am living with my second host family.  I live with a woman and her 12 year old daughter.  During the week I only see them for dinner time which is when I speak with the mother in English.  On the weekends the daughter is busy with various activities and the mother likes to do things with her friends.  I have joined the mother and her friends for some weekend activities but usually I find things to do with the other conversation assistants from my school.  With my first host family, I spent almost all of my time with and I felt very much like a part of their family.  I would go with them for big family lunches every weekend and I always felt like they were there for me for whatever I needed.  I am still in contact with them and I continue to meet up with them for dinners or sometimes even just to catch up.

The people I have met during this program are what keep me going while I’m living away from my friends, family and my home.  I feel very lucky to be apart of the team of teachers at the infantile school at Escola Pia Terrassa and they are like another family to me.  From my first week I felt comfortable and welcomed by everyone there.  I am so thankful that I get to work with and learn from them.  Luckily, at my school there are 4 other conversation assistants who I am happy to call my friends.  They all have proven to be a really important part of my life here.

I’m sure I won’t remember the details of my day to day life here after this program is over but I am sure I will look back on this time and remember the relationships I made with these people and for that reason I am thankful for this experience.

Salesians Sant Boi

Salesians Sant Boi is a school located in Sant Boi de Llobregat. They joined the programme in 2013, so this is their second year with a conversation assistant at the school. This year they are hosting Amy, who comes from the UK and is helping create an English-speaking environment in the school. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience with us, Amy & Eva, her tutor.

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amy1Making the decision to move to Spain was one of the biggest decisions of my life.   To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that it was going to be an experience of a lifetime and one which, in my opinion, I couldn’t turn down. I am an English Language university student and I am working here as part of a placement year. Although I am still not sure what I want to do as a career, I knew this would be an experience of a lifetime.

As soon as I arrived at the airport in Barcelona and was greeted by Home to Home, amongst numerous other CAPS, I was made to feel so welcome. Subsequently, at the induction, I made some brilliant friends and we regularly meet up outside of school. We were all mesmerised by the beauty that exists in Barcelona.

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amyfamilyMy host family are absolutely brilliant and could not be more supportive if they tried! I already feel like part of the family and luckily, I am with them for the whole nine months! I’m always included in family activities and have experienced the celebration of the Three Kings, which is the main Christmas celebration here. It’s so interesting being immersed in another culture and learning how different everything is! I have a very good relationship with my family and often play games with the children/bond over similar tastes in music! Each weekend we explore Barcelona, whether it’s just going for a drink and something to eat, or exploring a new town/village, there’s always something to do! Even when I leave, they will always be my Spanish family.

amy6My school is located in Sant Boi, a small town which is a train ride away from where I live. My host Mum is a teacher at the school, which really helped in terms of integrating within the community and enables me to ask her anything I need to know. Both the staff and the students have made me feel like a celebrity at the school and many of them make an effort to speak to me in English, which is really comforting. The school is like one big family and everyone knows everyone, it’s amazing.

My tutor in particular is always there for me if I have any concerns and I always feel like I can talk to her. We have a regular meeting every week, which is reserved for anything that we need to discuss or prepare for the day to day lessons within the school. She’s not only there for me at the school, but she has become a huge part of my life and she often visits me outside of school for a drink and a catch up.

amy7My tasks at the school include working with pre-primary, primary, secondary students and the teachers at the school, therefore I am gaining a vast amount of experience; although, it makes it tricky remembering names!! The activities I do with each age group vary, but they are all focused on helping them with their oral English skills and learning new vocabulary and grammar. For example, activities with the pre-primary children involve teaching them very simple things such as ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘what’s your name?’ and I’ve learnt that flashcards are an invaluable resource when it comes to working with tiny children!

With the youngest group in secondary we are rehearsing the play ‘Robin Hood’ in English, ready for them to perform at the end of the year. In the older students’ lessons, we often revise English grammar using games/sections from the textbooks. Sometimes I take groups of the secondary students out of the classroom into another room, so I can help them on a more personal level with pronunciation and they can ask me any questions they may have.

This experience is most certainly the most challening, rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done. It’s definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, but one which I will never forget.

Escola Ramon Pont – Terrassa

Ramon Pont is an infant, primary and secondary school located in Terrassa. They have been in the Program for two years. Their conversation assistant for this school year is Rachel, who comes from the US. She is having a great time in Terrassa and in Ramon Pont, and her presence there benefits both teachers and students. Thanks for writing to us, Rachel :)

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My name is Rachel Lane and this is my first year as a conversation assistant with CAPS.  I’m currently in a school in Terrassa, about 40 minutes away from Barcelona, called Escola Ramon Pont.  Terrassa has been a great place to live so far; you are close enough to Barcelona to be able to hop on a train whenever you want, but you don’t always have to deal with tourists in Barcelona.

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At the school, I work with ages 3-16, which has been interesting in that there are obviously varying levels of English, and that I get to do things such as sing English songs with the young kids, and go into more in-depth conversations with the older kids.  My day-to-day work here consists of taking small groups from classes and doing various speaking activities.  I really enjoy doing this because I get to know the kids and their cultures, as well as discussing my culture and life in America.  Since the school I work in is small, I’ve gotten to know all of the teachers and students on a more personal level.

Another interesting aspect of the program is living with a host family.  I am currently with my second family, and I think that this is the main way that I have become more integrated with life and culture here in Spain.  Being so far from home, I am happy that I get a family atmosphere; we all have meals together, we go on outings in and around Terrassa, and I’ve even participated in family gatherings which have been great fun.

Overall, moving to Spain to be a conversation assistant has been one of the best experiences of my life.  My two pieces of advice to anyone considering is 1) Start saving your money!  The process can be expensive, and it’s good to have a cushion of money to fall back on in case you need it while in Spain. 2)  Even basic knowledge of Spanish is extremely helpful while living here.  I studied Spanish in college so I know a good bit, but I would imagine it would be much more difficult to do day-today things here without any knowledge of the language.

Sagrada Família Lleida

Sagrada Família school is located in Lleida. They have been in the Conversation Assistants Programme almost since its beginning. Felix comes from Canada and is the Conversation Assistant who is helping teachers and students with English activities this year. You can also visit the School’s English Blog to read about activities they do with Felix and have done with previous Conversation Assistants.

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At first I was hesitant about packing up my life and moving overseas to a country, culture, and language that was completely alien to me, but it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

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The families I have stayed with have been extremely kind, hospitable, friendly, and welcoming. Each day I yearn for more chances to do activities with the kids and teenagers, and many of them are eager and good students.
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The teachers here have also been very helpful and welcoming. It’s already been three months and it’s felt like only a few weeks!
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Escola Pia Vilanova

Escola Pia Vilanova has been in the Conversation Assistants Program for three years. This year they are hosting Nadia, who comes from the UK and works with kids from Primary to Batxillerat. We thank Nadia and her tutor Mireia for sharing their experience with us!

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2014-10-30 09.50.49I have always liked working with children of all ages and at Escola Pia Vilanova I work with children between the ages of 6 and 18, which is perfect for me.

I was a little apprehensive when I got to Escola Pia as the school year was already underway and there was so much for me to learn about the school, scheduling and culture, not to mention the names of the 650 or so students that I would be working with! I shouldn’t have worried though because I soon became comfortable and began to adjust as all the staff at the school were very supportive and patient, making the adjustment quicker and easier.

I have enjoyed being at Escola Pia, the enthusiasm of the students rubs off on me every day and their eagerness to learn motivates me to work harder and to create new and interesting ways to teach them. I have learned the dynamics of the various classes and the personality and educational needs of the students; this has allowed me to adopt personalised teaching methods for each class.

2014-10-29 11.59.24The best part of Escola Pia for me is the diversity. I love the fact that in one day I can go from doing Arts & Crafts with 9 year olds to discussing global issues with 18 year olds, only to spend the afternoon singing Christmas Carols with 6 year olds! The joy I get from seeing a student formulate a sentence to express something they thought they couldn’t or using unexpected vocabulary is truly immeasurable.

The city of Vilanova i la Geltrú is a very eclectic one and in my free time I find pleasure in walking in random directions and discovering new stores and restaurants. I already have a favourite supermarket, ice cream parlour and bakery, all of which I discovered during my explorations. My students have given me suggestions on places to eat and things to try and I enjoy coming back each week with results and feedback on their suggestions.

The host family I’m currently residing with have been hospitable and I’ve had an introductory meeting with family members of the other two placement homes so I’m excited to experience living with them.

So far this experience has been very enjoyable and I look forward to what the rest of the experience will bring.