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Santa Teresa de Jesús – Vilanova i la Geltrú

Santa Teresa de Jesús school, located in Vilanova, has been in the Conversation Assistants program for many years. This year they are hosting Kendall, who comes from the US. We leave you with the text that Kendall and his tutor, Roser, have written for us.

Thank you so much!


L’auxiliar aquest any ha vingut de més enllà de l’Atlàntic, dels Estats Units: des de Boston a la nostra escola a Vilanova i la Geltrú. La seva llengua materna, l’accent i el bagatge cultural són totalment diferents als que estàvem acostumats d’altres auxiliars de conversa, que sempre havien vingut del Regne Unit o Irlanda. Aquest fet ens ha permès a tota la comunitat educativa gaudir i aprendre amb una persona de parla anglesa, però amb unes arrels i tradicions totalment diferents.

Com cada any, l’auxiliar col·labora a tots els nivell educatius que tenim a l’escola, des d’infantil, passant per primària i secundària, i fins i tot a CF. S’està ocupant de grups reduïts de conversa, i col·labora també en altres projectes que es duen a terme a l’escola com l’English Song Contest, o la trobada amb alumnes anglesos de Plymouth.

Com a tutora de l’auxiliar, crec que ha estat molt enriquidor per als alumnes poder posar al mapa un país tan gran i tan divers com els Estats Units gràcies a tot allò que ens ha relatat el Kendall.

Kendall Fears - primaryVilanova i la Geltrú is a comfortable and very active town located about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona city. Since October, I have had the privilege of teaching as an English conversation assistant at Col·legi Santa Teresa de Jesús — situated right in the heart of the town center amidst bustling cafes, tantalizing food shops, and numerous cultural sites.

 My experience thus far has been absolutely phenomenal. The tapas and local dishes are too good to be true, the beaches are absolutely beautiful, and the people are open and carefree. Catalonian culture is very laid-back, which is very different from the hurried and rushed life I was used to in the United States. I adore how open and warm the Catalonian people are and have had no trouble in finding people to talk to and make acquaintance with, whether at the gym, bar, or bus stop.

Apart from having some of the best food of my life, witnessing some of the most captivating landscapes, and meeting some of the most interesting people during my stay here, I have also had the chance to help the locals out with their English in the school and in my private lessons. In the school I teach students from ages 6 through 22. At first, the news that I would be teaching students from the primary level up through the vocational courses was daunting, and creating lesson plans to span the breadth of the age gap did prove challenging, but within a few weeks I was able to get the rhythm down and things became much smoother. In fact, the most challenging aspect of my work soon became the most enjoyable; the wide array of ages that I teach makes for an equally wide diversity in the lessons that I give. On a typical day, I could go from talking about animals and colors in the primary classes, to debating global issues with the older students in ESO all within the same morning. I also love how, no matter the age, the students usually do not hesitate to express how they feel (for better or for worse), and this always makes for an interesting and interactive classroom environment.

Throughout my time with Santa Teresa, my tutor Roser and the entire faculty have always been there for me if I ever needed anything and have always offered a helping hand. Moving to a new country is challenging enough, but knowing that I had a support system made the transition as seamless as possible. I am now living with my second host family, and have been pleasantly surprised at and will be eternally grateful for the level at which both of my host families have opened up their homes and family lives to me, a stranger. Before coming to Spain, I had never lived outside the United States, and even though I had considered myself open-minded and globally-conscious, I had not really seen with my own eyes an example of what life is like outside of American borders. I have called this poble my second home for the past 5 months will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Col·legi Sant Gabriel – Ripollet

Col·legi Sant Gabriel in Ripollet is hosting a Conversation Assistant for the first time this year. John, the Conversation Assistant, and his tutor Neus, have written to us to tell about their experience. Thanks a lot!!!


john_ripollet1John has been in our school for six months now. He is our first conversation assistant and the experience is proving really positive. He has perfectly adapted to our school from the first moment and he has always shown a very collaborative attitude. He is hard-working, extremely responsible and as motivated as motivating, because he enjoys his classes at school very much and he is plenty of interesting and creative ideas. He cares for pupils and they love him. He helps the English teachers from Pre-school education to ESO and he also participates in school trips. As his tutor, I spend a lot of time with him and I can say he is not only a wonderful teacher but also a wonderful person, who adds to me, to pupils and to his host families, more than just support with English language. (Neus – John’s Tutor)

I applied for this in May/June 2014 after getting an email regarding the programme and instantly was interested. Working with children was something I was doing at the time voluntarily anyway and I was stuck in a job I hated, it seemed very natural to choose to do this. I got accepted and had to wait two months until I could go as it started in September. Before leaving the UK I was rather worried because I didn’t know how the students would be and how respectful or disrespectful they would be toward me, this wasn’t an issue in the end, but it was something which worried me.

john_ripollet2I work at Sant Gabriel School in Ripollet and I work with from first of primary (6 years old) to fourth of ESO (16 years old) with occasionally working with the preschool classes during special occasions, for example, Easter. Before coming here most of my experience with working with young people was in a youth setting and mostly 11+, so when asked to work with primary I was a little worried how they would react to me and how I would teach them as it’s not something I was used to.

The families which I have lived with have, both been very nice and have taken good care of me, especially when I fell ill twice whilst being here. They have been very accommodating and I really appreciate them allowing me to live with them and for feeding me too! I wasn’t so worried about living with a family again, even after living on my own for about 4 years because of university. The only worry I had was that I would be too much of a burden on them.

I think my tutor has been amazing too. She’s made my time here fantastic as she’s put the effort into working alongside me in class and improving the level of English teaching in her classes. During the times where I’ve not necessarily been feeling amazing, she’s been there for me to talk to about any problems I’ve had, either with the course or any personal problems.

While the people who live here don’t agree with me, I quite like Ripollet. It’s quite a small town and not too far away from Barcelona by train making it quite easy to get to. I’ve found everything to be rather cheap too. It’s completely surrounded by mountains too which I love. After living in two (reasonably) big cities it has been nice to live somewhere where isn’t populated with 200,000+ people and isn’t as fast or busy.

On a practical note though, I would advise people who are interested in doing this to bring their phone from wherever they are. I bought a phone out here and it would have been much cheaper for me to bring one out here and buy a new sim card or get a new contract. As well as that, I would recommend bringing things from home which would perhaps reduce the amount of homesickness suffered. I know toward the end of December I was feeling quite homesick. It’s been easier since January, but homesickness has come and gone over the past few months but nowhere near as bad as in December.

Overall, it’s been a fantastic experience for me. I love the school and teaching. I have really enjoyed my time here. Everybody has been very accommodating and very welcoming from the students to the teachers. I’ve found out more about myself and more about teaching through being in the school. (John)