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Col·legi Dr. Masmitjà – Girona

Maria comes from the United States and is a Conversation Assistant in Col·legi Dr. Masmitjà, a primary school in Girona. Col·legi Dr. Masmitjà was one of the first schools to join the program, 4 years ago! Their conversation assistants have always enjoyed their time there, and so is Maria.



I’m Maria, and I´m the conversation assistant at Col.legi Dr Masmitja, which is a primary school in Girona. I have been here since the end of September, and will stay with the school until June 2013. I work at the school 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. My schedule changes from day to day, but I come in most days at 9 in the morning, when classes start, and work until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, depending on the day. I teach each section in the school, including P3, P4 and P5, once a week (meaning I have 1A once a week, 1B once a week, etc). My current goal is to learn the names of all of my students! So far, I have learned quite a few names, and I try to practice them by using the student’s name whenever I ask them to participate, and listen whenever the teacher uses their name. In most of my classes, I work hand in hand with the English teacher for that class to complete the activities from the English book, explaining the grammar and introducing new vocabulary. I also  try to put together a fun and interactive activity for all of the classes at least once every 2 weeks. With the younger children, we play many English games and sing many songs to help the children with improving their pronunciation.

Maria explaining Halloween to her students

Before I arrived in Catalunya, the school set me up with two host families for the school year. I am currently still living with my first family, which consists of a mom and her three children; Maria and Lluc, who are 11 year twins, and Ariadna, who is 16. I teach the two younger children once a week at the school, but the older girl is already in high school. The family has been very welcoming, and includes me on all of the family activities. My weekends are usually filled with soccer games, basketball games, track meets, and, my favorite, trips to the family farm in Olot! There, the extended family has many horses, cows, dogs and cats, and I spent hours with the girls visiting all of the animals. All of the activities that we do together allows the family to practice their English and improve their vocabulary. Outside of these casual English practices, I assist all of the children with their homework when they have questions, and help them study for any exams. I also hold study sessions with all of them individually to review topics that they learned in school, and to give them extra exercises. I will be moving to my second family in January, and am very excited to see the culture from a different aspect!

Outside of the classes I give in school, I hold private conversation classes with the children of some of my coworkers, as well as two private grammar intensive classes. Since Girona does not attract as many native speakers as a city as big as Barcelona would, people here are always like to take advantage of having a native speaker in the area, and always look forward to the new CAPS showing up.

In my free time, I like to meet up with the other CAPS in the area, either for a meal or for some walking around the city. I like to take advantage of any extended weekends to see more of the country, as well as other parts of Catalunya and other European countries.

Everyone that I have met during my time here so far, especially the staff at the school and my host family, have made me feel like I belong, and have done everything to help me adapt to the new culture/job. Being thrown into a new culture has definitely been worth it, and I can’t see myself wanting to leave any time soon.

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