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Virolai – Molins de Rei

Col·legi Virolai in Molins de Rei joined the Conversation Assistants Program last year. In their second year, they are hosting Adam, from the USA, and Jessica who comes from the United Kingdom. They are both having a great time, learning a lot, and also helping everyone at the school and host families improve their English.



PHOTO 1 ADAMMy name is Adam Pickus and I am an English Conversation Assistant at Col-legi Virolai in the city of Molins De Rei, located near Barcelona. I am from San Francisco, California, in the United States and I come from a very different culture in the United States. Through the duration of the CAPS program I have an incredible dual-cultural perspective that few are fortunate enough to have. I have made an unforgettable transition to life in the Catalonia region as I have adapted to my post graduation life as an English teacher. It is surreal to reflect on the endless hours of studying for exams, projects, and homework to earn a journalism degree at the University of Oregon to where I am now as a teacher.

I have never been as aware of the unique qualities of the United States until I fully integrated into a Spanish family that I have been living with for almost four months. The family consists of two parents and one daughter and I am very lucky to have been placed in a family that is so welcoming and caring. While I have only been in their home for four months, I feel like I have become one of their own children. The language barrier will always be a challenge to overcome, but my Spanish skills are slowly improving, which has helped me develop a closer relationship with the three. I will be forever grateful for their hospitality and graciousness.

I work in a school called Col-legi Virolai that has a great support system and helpful, friendly staff members and students. Their English skills are surprisingly efficient and it is easy to notice how welcome they make me feel. I am in classrooms from 6th of Primary to 2nd Baxtillerat and I have really enjoyed being able to work with students from varying age groups. Furthermore, the teachers I have worked with have been instrumental in easing my transition into the school despite my inefficiencies in the Catalan and Spanish language. I look forward to finishing out the school year and building on the strong relationships I have created with the students and staff of the school.


JESSICA PHOTO 2Making the decision to move to Spain was very difficult as I would be away from my family and I didn’t have any understanding of Spanish or Catalan. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew it would be an experience I couldn’t miss out on. I am a Business student and I am working here as part of my placement year. I chose to become a teaching assistant as I am still unsure of what career I wish to have and this was an opportunity to broaden my choice.

When I arrived at the airport in Barcelona and was greeted by Home to Home, amongst numerous other CAPS, I took comfort that other people were in the same situation as me. Away from their family for the first time, excited to start their job and mesmerised by the beauty of Barcelona.

My first host family were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable living with them. I would help the children with their English and they would tech me simple words in Spanish. On the weekends they took me to meet their family and we also went to Monserrat and Tibidabo and Barcelona. They were absolutely brilliant! My second host family that I am currently living with don’t speak any Englsih apart from the daughter. They are restaurant owners so I am always eating delious Catalan food. Even though there is a language barrier they are such nice people that i don’t feel awkward or left out. And my Spanish is improving by leaps and bounds! It’s been a privilage for me to experience the Spanish culture.

JESSICA PHOTO 1My school is located in Molins de Rei, a town which is a small train ride Barcelona. When I first arrived at the school the students made me feel like a celebrity. They all asked me questions and told me about their lives. The teachers were equally kind and made me feel welcome. Not all the teachers could speak english but a simple greeting made me feel accepted. My tutor in particular is always there for me if I have any concerns and I always feel like I can talk to her. She always makes sure I have no problems with my host family and lessons and she will always try to help me if I have concerns.

My tasks at the school include working with children 3 to 10 year olds and the teachers at the school, therefore I am gaining a vast amount of experience; although, it was very difficult to remember names. The activities I do with each age group vary, but they are all focused on helping them with their oral English skills and learning new vocabulary and grammar. For example, activities with the pre-primary children involve teaching them very simple things such as greetings, colours, and animals etc. I’ve learnt that singing is an invaluable way of teaching children, especially with the little ones. In the older students’ lessons, we often revise English grammar using games/sections from the textbooks. I check their spelling and correct their pronunciation.

This experience is most certainly the most challening, rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done. I have done something similar as I have previously been a Lifeguard/counsellor at Camp 7 Hills, Girl scouts NY for three months but the experience was vastly different. Most of the time I’m not very expressive but I’ve learnt a lot about myself during these past months. It’s an experience I will always hold dear.