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El Carme – St. Elies – Vilafranca del Penedès

News from Vilafranca!



Col·legi  El Carme –  Sant Elies  de Vilafranca del Penedès has joined the PAC this year for the second  time. We have a conversation assitant from the United Kingdom, Rachael. She has written to explain what she does at school, and what her general feelings were at the beginning of the program and how they have evolved.    

I decided to participate in this programme because I am interested in learning about other cultures, and after completing an anthropology degree living abroad for a year doing exactly that seemed like a good opportunity.

I have been in Vilafranca now for four months and will be here until the end of June. On arrival I was really nervous about living with host families who didn’t speak the same first language as me and who had different life styles, however my host families have welcomed me in to their families with open arms. The first family introduced me to Catalan culture; showing me what Catalonia is like for the locals and not just the tourists that visit every summer. Seeing more of Catalonia is something that I hope to do with my next two host families. Whilst with the second I am getting a chance to actively practice the Spanish that I am learning as part of the CAPS programme and furthering my knowledge of Catalonia.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time at El Carme: Sant Elies: I assist in teaching students from p4 – 4th ESO helping students with their pronunciation of difficult English words, playing English games like bingo, Chinese whispers and mimica and assisting teachers with organising of activities to do in speaking classes. I am available for students to talk to at break and lunch times; this encourages the students to speak to me in English in an informal setting outside of the classroom and is something that I enjoy as I learn more about the interests of the students, and something that the students enjoy as they get to speak in English, have fun and at times be very silly.  On a normal day I work from 9- 5 including 25 hours of classes and some time for lesson preparation. At school all the teachers and support staff are very friendly and helpful, if I have any problems with students the teachers are always available for me to talk to.

In my free time I like to meet up with the nearest CAP to me and visit different towns in Catalonia and share our experiences about our schools. I also attend fortnightly English conversation sessions with locals who wish to improve their English, this gives me a chance to engage with locals in Vilafranca, talk about a variety of different subjects and make new friends.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Vilafranca as a conversation assistant, the people here are very friendly and welcoming: it is always nice to see children wave to me when I’m walking in town. This experience has given me a chance to learn about a different culture, is increasing my confidence in living in a foreign country away from family and friends and improving my communication skills. I am learning new things every day and hope that the rest of this year is as good as the first half.

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