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Escola Pia de Moià

Escola Pia de Moià is a Primary School that has a conversation assistant for the first time. They sure know how to make the most of this experience, and so does Rob, their CA. Thank you for writing to us and sending so many photos!


Hi, I´m Rob and I´m working as a language assistant in Moia. I´m going to start with Moia.  The town is fantastic with exceptionally friendly people, narrow, winding streets, brilliant views, it´s own prehistoric cave system and, best of all, Escola Pia Moia, where I work!

Escola Pia Moia caters for pre primary and primary students. I work with the 3
year olds through to the 12 year olds which makes for a very varied experience. I love the school; the children are very friendly and treat me a bit like a minor celebrity, which is definitely going to my head. The teachers are welcoming and make the effort to talk to me in English, especially in front of the kids when I can´t use my atrocious Catalan. The building itself is fantastic too, full of mysterious doors that contain a whole new rooms I didn´t know about. I only found out the school had a church after I´d been there for two months!

I take the kids for speaking groups and in the pre primary years help the English teacher – Isabel, in class. By the end of the nine months I hope that all of the kids will be comfortable talking to a native English speaker. Quite often the tapes don´t sound like the real thing.

Col·legi Sant Vicenç, Sant Vicenç dels Horts

Jonathon comes from Ireland and is a Conversation Assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç dels Horts. For the school, it is their 2nd year in the program and they are really happy having Jonathon with them. Here’s what they have to say!


Jonathon Walsh, Conversation Assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç del Horts, is writing about his experience in the school and with his host family.

All the teachers and the students in the school feel very happy with Jonny because he’s  so friendly, hard-working and responsible. At the same time, he’s so sweet  and charming with the pupils. He’s helping us in the English language classroom very much. Children love him and they’re so excited when he comes to the class. We all think this is a great experience for all of us!!


My  name is Jonathon and I come from Ireland. At the moment I am working as a conversation assistant in Col·legi San Vicenc in Sant Vicenc dels Horts, Barcelona. It has been approximately 9 weeks since I have arrived in Barcelona but to be honest it only feels like 1 week because for me time has flown by. I am here on a 9 month period from October until the end of June 2012. When I first arrived I didn´t know what to expect, I had two words of spanish, hola and adios, and it was my first time travelling alone. I am a bit of an introvert but I need to  become more out-going because in my future career I want to be a primary school teacher and I thought that this experience would aim towards that goal. From the moment my feet touched the floor of the school I knew that I was going to enjoy this experience. The teachers greeted me with a warm welcome and made me feel like I was apart of the furniture.

At the moment I am living with a family approximately 15 mins walking distance from the school. I have been living with them for two months and already they feel like my second family. They have two children , one girl Olga aged 11 and one boy Marc aged 15. The two children have very good english and their parents have enough to get by so it´s not difficult to make conversation. The downfall is that in two months I have to change family. But I know that the following family will be very welcoming and will also give me a god experience. I will find this hard because I have a very close relationship with my prensent family and it feels like I have only met them when i have to leave again. I feel that the children, Marc and Olga, are having a good experience with me and for me, my experience with them so far has been great.

I work in the school from Monday to Friday approximately 22 hours a week. I work with childen from P5 to 6th class , ages ranging from 5-12. In Cicle superior 5th and 6th, I take small groups of 4-5 pupils  maximum. With support from my mentor Maite I prepare english activities and games with them for 30 minutes per group. I try to make the conversation classes exciting because its easier for them to learn when they enjoy the class. The students have different levels of english but in this school all of the children have a very good relationship. All of the pupils help eachother with the activities and games and nobody is put down.

With 4 th class, I take small groups for 15 minutes introducing new vocabulary and ditinguising the opposites with actions and expressions to help them understand each word. With the younger classes I work along with the teachers doing activities reading stories and acting like a clown a lot of the time to help them enjoy each class. Most days I go to the playground to play football with the children. This builds a better relationship with them and now they approach me more to strike  a conversation because I am more of a friend than a teacher.

Since I have arrived I spend all my time with the family. They bring me to visit all the touristic areas of Barcelona and if they have any family occasions they bring me along. Everyday after school I go to the grandparents house to help the children with their english homework and to practice my spanish. They accept me as one of the family and I am privileged to be in their company. On Monday and Thursday I train with the local football team and they have accepted me with a warm welcome and I have made some good friends.

My  favourite thing about living here is the oppurtunity to visit all the beautiful land marks and to make new friendships with the staff, children, and the lads at football. They made it easy because all of them accepted me as if I was one of them. I nearly forgot to mention the excellent food, a lot of types  which I have never tasted before. I will definitely bring back some of the recipes to Ireland.The worst thing  about this experience is that at the end of the 9 month period I will have to say goodbye to all of these people that I have made good relations with.

So far this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend this to anyone who would be interested. I now know my future career and I have changed the way I think. When I leave a piece of Catalunya will always be in my heart.


Escola Regina Carmeli – Horta

Regina Carmeli is a school from the district of Horta in Barcelona. They have two conversation assistants this year: Tom and Alex. They have both sent us an e-mail explaining their experience so far. Thanks, guys!


Here’s what Tom has to say!


My name is Tom and I am working at Colegi Regina Carmeli in Horta. The Horta district is a great place to live and work, it is 20 minutes from the city centre on the tube. It is a very safe suburban area with a very safe, family feel and lots of things to do, bars, restaurants and a great gym!

The school is great, I am very lucky to have another English assistant here with me who I get on amazingly well with. Here most nursery, primary and secondary schools are combined, so I teach 2-16 year olds which gives me a great range of experience! The teachers are lovely, very helpful and accomodating to our needs. Knowing that both of us did Sport Science degrees they have given us PE lessons to run in our timetable which is great fun and will be amazing in the hot summer months! The English lessons are good, I enjoy teaching the 11-16 year olds most because they are able to more, so the lessons are more varied. I also love helping out with the 2-5 year olds because they have so much energy and are always excited to see me!! Most of the children are very well behaved, although with all schools there are some little (and not so little) monsters!! As the only English people in the school we are treated a little like celebrities with children shouting are names even 3 months into the programme!!

I am changing families every term, so will have 3 familiesl. Currently I am with the nicest family in Spain, probably because they are Argentinian!! Luckily for me my adopted parents are both incredible cooks, so I eat like a King! They have a 5 year old son who is adorable and a little genius!! I couldn´t have asked for a better family and will be very sad to leave them next week. But luckily for me my next family are friends with my current family and are also really nice, great cooks and have a cute 5 year old son, so I have landed on my feet out here!!

I came out here with a Spanish A level, although I hadn´t spoken consistently for a while. I fell like my Spanish has improved massively and I know don´t have to think in English when I talk in Spanish. There is still plenty of room for improvement over the next 6 months though!

Barcelona is a pretty amazing city to live in, there are so many things to do and see, the only major problem is the expense of the city especially considered the low pay I am receiving! But then again a ticket to go and see the greatest football team in the world is only 19 Euros!!

Hasta Luego

Tom & Alex

Now it’s Alex’s turn:

My experience so far in Barcelona has been a positive and productive one.  The major factor that tempted me into this position was to experience the culture first hand and to learn a new language. Although at first I was slightly overwhelmed by the speed and the amount of the language I didn´t understand, my Spanish has now slowly started to improved.

The Spanish culture in the main really suits me. Although I don´t often get the chance I love a good “siesta” and the general relaxed feeling around the city is great. I am not a big fan of the food but the weather more than makes up for that!

The school is ideal. It is relatively small, which means I can get to know both the children and the staff. I have been pleasantly surprised by how nice and well behaved the majority of children are. Just like the rest of Barcelona the school has a very relaxed feel to it. I am enjoying the variation of teaching the different age groups, being able to go out on school trips and the fact that every day is different. Most days I am picking up new games, activities and teaching techniques, which is what I was hoping for. The teachers have been extremely helpful and understanding in particular the tutors looking after me.

I was place with a single mother of two young children and I have found it challenging. The main reason being that I can see how hard it is to look after two young children and with me there I think it has been too much. I am more than happy to help out but she is very independent and likes things done in a certain way. The language barrier has also been a big problem my limited Spanish and her limited English has made it difficult to converse and talk about problems and solutions. But I get on really well with the children and next term I will be changing to a family who live a lot closer to the school.

Overall I am loving the experience and I am looking forward to coming back after Christmas.

Alexander Filleul