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Sagrado Corazón – Corazonistas

For our school, Sagrado Corazón – Corazonistas (Barcelona), this is our first time in the Programme. Our conversation assistant, Andrew, comes from Canada. He teaches students from the fifth year of primary school to students in their second year of batxillerat, all of whom are really enjoying this enriching experience so much.

As his tutor, I would like to use this piece of writing to thank Andrew for bringing such interesting and fun moments into our classrooms and for sharing his culture, sense of humour, original ideas and adventures with all of us.

Xavier Asensio

Here are some thoughts from Andrew about his experience in Barcelona so far:

Each person that is a part of this program decided to come aboard for different reasons. But the main reason I decided to take on this adventure was to gain experience as a teacher. What better way was there to see what it was really like to be a teacher than to, you know, be a teacher! And it doesn’t hurt that I can do this in an incredible city like Barcelona!

Before I left for Barcelona I applied to some teachers colleges for next September. I was hoping that the CAPS program would be a good opportunity for me to grow and learn in a formal classroom environment. I have had numerous and varied teaching and coaching experiences in the past but this one is unique and particularly applicable to my future career.

So far my experience here at Sagrado Corazon – Corazonistas has been a very enjoyable one. When I first arrived here I quickly noticed the Spanish hospitality and was warmly welcomed into the school community. Even though I didn’t know any Spanish at first, everyone tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible. For me, this has been an extremely important aspect of my experience thus far. In all honesty, even though it is where I work, it has been the place where I have have many of my most memorable experiences. I have developed many close friendships with locals and teachers and many of them have gone out of their way to show me around and help me discover the city. I have also enjoyed getting to know my students better as well. One of my favourite experiences this year was accompanying the 4 ESO class to Llivia for a 4 day ski trip to the Pyrenees.

As far as what I actually do here, I am a conversation assistant for about 16 different classes ranging from 5 primary to 2 bachillerato (ages 9-17). As a teaching assistant I work alongside four different full time teachers during classes and help prepare a variety of lessons that are age/level appropriate. A lot of my lessons focus on applying grammar and vocabulary in real-life situations/contexts. I also tutor some of the teachers three times a week for those who want to improve their conversational skills. In addition, I have private lessons outside of school hours with some of my students.

One of the aspects that makes the CAPS Home to Home experience so unique is that you have the opportunity to become a part of a Spanish family during your stay here. Living with three different host families (in my opinion) is one of the best ways to learn about the local culture and lifestyle. Throughout the year I will live with three different families (I am currently with my second), each one providing new knowledge and experiences. As I mentioned, this can be a rewarding experience, but it needs to be said that it can also be one of the most challenging aspects of this program. There are many differences that you must adapt to and you have to be prepared for these. In some cases, these challenges can be overcome, but other times you must have to be able to deal with a difficult situation.

All of the experiences I have accumulated as a part of this program are invaluable to me. I have learned so much about myself and I have grown and matured in many ways. I would recommend this experience to anyone who is adventurous, adaptable and looking for a challenge.



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