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Col·legi Claver – Raimat

Wendy is a Conversation Assistant based in Col·legi Claver in Lleida. She’s really enthusiastic about her work and everyone in the school is delighted to have her around. Her tutor, Blanca, has sent a photo along with Wendy’s text. Thank you both!


I came to work at Claver as a Conversation Assistant through a company called Home-to-Home.  I knew that I wanted to teach English and I had a basic level of Spanish after studying the language at school for five years – followed by five years of not having had an opportunity to use my new-found skill – so I thought that by coming to Spain I would have the chance to improve my Spanish.  I knew that I would be placed in a school, and with a family, in Catalonia, however I wasn’t aware, before coming here, that Catalan was the main spoken language and that I would be learning yet another new language (I wasn’t asked to learn Catalan but I felt that, being in Catalonia, it was important for me to at least try to learn their official language and, being half-Welsh, I understand the importance of the language to its people and, besides all this, I enjoy learning new languages 🙂 ).

Home-to-Home is a very well-organised company and I had received the details of Claver and of my new family prior to leaving the UK (which was so important to me, having worked in Egypt last year with a company which basically left me alone!)  I had the opportunity to look at the school’s website, to exchange e-mails with the mother of the family and to virtually explore the area where I would be spending the next nine months of my life.

On the 1st October, 2011, my new family came to Barcelona to meet me for the first time and I was so excited and nervous and scared but mostly…very, very happy!  This was the day that it all became very real and my journey really began.  In the car, on our way to Alpicat, we went through our lists of questions for each other and I realised that the parents didn’t really speak English and it was only the children who I would be able to have a conversation with.  Now, however, after living with them for just over one month, I forget that English isn’t the children’s first language, the mother is actively learning English and speaks with me all the time and the father tries hard to speak to me, although he still relies on the children’s translation skills and makes very funny mistakes, such as “When I was a chicken”, rather than “When I was a child…” but at least he’s trying!!!  It makes me feel very happy and proud and encourages me to learn their language even more so!

My first week at Claver I was told to take it easy: having only to observe the lessons, to meet new people; to make an attempt at learning everybody’s name (which I still haven’t managed to do) and to try to find my way around the school, which is very big!  Being the person that I am, however, I wanted to get involved straight away.  Each week, I work with Primary school children in subjects including Sport (with sixth year); Games & Songs (third year); Bits & Pieces (fifth year) and, of course, English (with both sixth and first year students).  I also assist in Parvulari classes, working/playing with four and five-year-olds.  If you were to ask me which my favourite subject, or year, is I really would not be able to give you an answer because they are all so different.  Working with the really young children is completely different to working with the older students and the subjects, themselves, are very different so I really could not choose one over another.  With the younger students I assist the teachers in the classroom but with fifth and sixth year, I take a group and we talk, or play games, which I really like because it gives me an opportunity to know more about them as people.


La Wendy amb la classe de Els Picarols

I also have conversation classes with the teachers of Claver four times a week – twice with Primary teachers and twice with Secondary teachers – which I enjoy very much because speaking with adults is a lot different to speaking with children, although I must not forget that they’re learning English, too, so I still have to speak slowly and choose my words carefully.

After being here for just over one month I have become a part of my family, rather than a guest in their house; I have made friends at Claver who I hope will always be in my life; my Spanish has improved and I am continuing to learn Catalan and, most importantly from a personal point of view, I have finally decided what I want to be when I grow up and I have decided that I will stay in Lleida for one more year once my job at Claver finishes in June, 2012 🙂

Escola Santa Teresa de Jesús – Vilanova i la Geltrú

Escola Santa Teresa de Jesús is a school located in Vilanova i la Geltrú, in the Mediterranean coast. It is their second year in the Conversation Assitants Program and they are having a great experience. Marcus has fully integrated into the school and Vilanova, as you will read in their submission for the blog.


Nadales solidàries

El dia 22 de desembre, i complint amb una tradició que fa anys que està arrelada al nostre Col·legi de Santa Teresa de Jesús, els alumnes de 4rt d’ESO van anar a cantar nadales als avis de la Residència Santa Teresa, situada a la part antiga de Vilanova i la Geltrú.

Enguany comptàvem amb una participació estel·lar: el Marcus. Ell, a més a més de ser una gran auxiliar de conversa participa amb gran interès en les activitats de la comunitat educativa. En aquesta ocasió va voler acompanyar-nos no només de presència, sinó també musicalment ja que toca el saxofon.

Els avis van estar molt contents amb la nostra visita, fins i tot es van animar a entonar alguna Nadala. Acabat el recital particular ens van oferir refrescs i galetes, a més a més de fer-nos entrega d’uns punts de llibre que ells mateixos havien elaborat. Tot menjant era quan arribaven les preguntes d’una avis curiosos per la vida dels estudiants, professors i com no podia ser d’altra manera, de l’auxiliar de conversa que parlava una llengua estranya i venia d’un altre país.

Tots vam considerar que l’experiència havia estat molt enriquidora, els alumnes van connectar molt bé amb els avis i entre tots vam començar a crear un caliu nadalenc que ens ha acompanyat durant totes les festes d’una forma solidària, integradora i molt divertida.

Roser, Marcus’ tutor

Making the decision to move to Spain to take part on the CAPS program has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I’m absolutely loving my time here in Vilanova, teaching the kids English at Escola Santa Teresa, planning activities, taking part in school trips and learning the Spanish language. My Catalan family have made me one of there own by looking after me so well and making me feel at home. Vilanova i la geltru is a beautiful city and I’m pleased I was able to come here to experience a new lifestyle and culture.

I find being a Conversation assistant here at Santa Teresa rewarding as it challenges me everyday to communicate clearly and effectively with the kids, and to create a fun learning environment where they feel comfortable to speak English with me and with one another. We play English board games, have mini debates, role play and our latest and most fun activity we did was singing Christmas carols at a elderly home for the elderly. I accompanied them with my saxophone on a few of the songs and sang the rest, I had a blast. I’m having a wonderful experience here, the teachers and especially my tutor make me feel welcome and are ever so helpful to me. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone wanting a new life experience.

Marcus Joseph, Conversation Assistant

Col·legi Claret, Barcelona

Lee Pryke comes from the UK and is a Conversation Assitant in Col·legi Claret, Barcelona. He works with students from 4 to 18 years old, so he has to adapt his activities to very different levels. He’s having a good experience overall, and so is the school!

I first arrived in Barcelona on the 30th September to work as a Conversation Assistant in Claret. After a big group meeting on some minor details we waited to meet our host families. Everyone was really nervous as we sat there waiting to be picked up, as we had very little information about them and I didn’t know what to expect.

However, it seems I was very lucky with my family. I was greeted with big smiles and kisses and a few nervous kids. But the nerves soon dissolved and they were very welcoming and willing to talk and play. We spend a lot of time together and often go away at the weekends to France.  It’s great fun spending time with them. I will miss them all a lot when I move to my next host family.

A couple of days later I started at school again and I wasn’t too sure about what to expect so the nerves crept back in. The first impression of the school was very good although it seems to resemble a maze. It only took a couple of weeks to understand the layout. Everyone at the school was really welcoming and very helpful with anything I needed help with. My tutors Cristina and Pere provide me with all the resources I need and are always willing to help with any problems I have. We have weekly meetings to discuss any problems and new ideas, which is really great as I’m learning a lot from them both.

I’m working with children from fourth grade up to Batxillerat. The younger children took a couple of weeks to get used to my accent. I needed to learn to slow my speech down as it seemed I was faced with a confused bunch of children for the first couple of weeks every time I spoke to them. They are all very interested in talking with me and willing to practise their English. The older children are really good fun. Being able to have a full conversation with them about varied topics is really interesting and I’m getting to know them all. We’re working on projects with the younger children which they all find very exciting. With the older children we work on discussions to practice their conversational skills about topics they can relate too.

When I arrived in Barcelona I wasn’t aware that their first language wasn’t Spanish.  Or even there was a place called Catalunya. So now I’m trying to learn Spanish and little bits of Catalan. I’ve learnt a lot about the culture here already and the way of life. Everything here is much more relaxed than back home. I can easily get used to this lifestyle, It’s taken a while to get used to the times of eating as it’s a lot later than what it is back home but with a few snacks snuck in I soon got used to it.

I look forward to spending the next year with the school and meeting the new families.

Escola Pia d’Igualada

Daniel Hill comes from Bristol and is currently living in Igualada while he works as a Conversation Assistant in Escola Pia. He works with students from 1st of ESO to 2nd of Batxillerat. He’s having a good experience, and so is the school. We thank them for taking time to email us!


I arrived at Escola Pia on the morning of the 3rd October to a warm welcome from my tutor Maria. I was shown around the school, and given my timetable along with the other CAPS assistant.

From my timetable, I had learnt that I would be working with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th ESO classes and both age groups of ´batxillerat´students.

I was a bit nervous in the first few classes with each age group, but soon settled in. The teachers at Escola Pia have been very welcoming and have assisted me whenever I have needed help. I have settled in well at school, and in Igualada itself. I have also made a few friends here, in the two months I have been living here.

With the ESO classes, we have been working mainly on role-playing activities – in which the teacher will provide a topic, discuss it with the class, introduce the vocabulary and then allocate the students time to come up with a role-play. During this time, the students are encouraged to ask me questions on the vocabulary and pronunciation. The students will then stand in front of the class and perform their role play, using as much of the new vocabulary as they can.

While the students perform, the teacher and I will analyse and then elicit to the students regarding any grammatical or pronunciation mistakes which are made.

The way the classes work with the batxillerat students, are different. The structure is more conversation based.

Normally I will choose a topic to discuss, and the teacher will send me 4-6 students so that I can listen to their levels of speaking and pronunciation. It is also a good way to show their understanding of the questions asked.

We do these discussions in a separate classroom.

Daniel during a presentation about his hometown, Bristol

After spending some time with the batxillerat students, I believe that they have become used to my presence, and this helps them to relax while doing the conversation classes.

I thoroughly enjoy all the classes I am involved in at Escola Pia. Each are rewarding in their own ways.

With the 2nd ESO classes, we are currently working on a school song-contest – which will be entered into a competition in Barcelona next summer. These classes take a lot of organising and hard work.. The students need to choose a song, write their own lyrics (in English), create the choreography and film the whole thing (which also includes some ´Powerpoint´work too). They also need to decide where the video will be filmed and what they will wear. The teachers ask me for any input/ideas I have for the video, but the main focus is for me to assist the students in the use of English in their music video. This is important as the lyrics of the song and ´powerpoint´ presentation is completely in English. The teachers and I see this as a great challenge for the students, and Escola Pia as a whole.

I also do separate ´conversa´ classes with ESO and batxillerat students.

The ESO class is after school hours, and used for those students who wish to improve their English speaking and pronunciation. These classes are conversation based.

The structure is the same for the batxillerat students apart from the fact that many of the students are studying for their FCE (Cambridge First Certificate) and the level is a lot higher. In the majority of these lessons, I will ask the students to describe pictures to me from an FCE textbook.

I have adapted well in school, and I am looking forward to the coming months, to see how far the students have come!