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Col·legi St. Vicenç – St. Vicenç dels Horts

Col·legi Sant Vicenç is an Infant and Primary school located in Sant Vicenç dels Horts. They have been in the PAC for four years now! Martine is spending this year there as their conversation assistant, and has shared with us her thoughts on the programme so far. Thanks, Martine and her tutor Laia!


martine1Hello my name is Martine and I am currently on my gap year from the University of Ulster. I have known from I was in secondary school that I always want to pursue a career in teaching but never realized how hard it would be to achieve this goal until the past year. This program has given me the opportunity to get one step closer to my dream of teaching and also immerse myself in a different lifestyle and culture.

martine2From the minute I arrived in Barcelona I knew it would be a brilliant experience that would stay with me for the rest of my life. I am currently situated in a town just outside of Barcelona called Sant Vicenç del horts. When I first arrived I didn’t know what to expect especially living in a town as I am so used to city life. I have being working in Col•legi Sant Vicenç for 5months now and I am enjoying it a lot. Both Student and teachers have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home. I have been given the opportunity to take my own small groups for conversation classes and also been given the chance to take a few of my own English classes with the help of the teachers. I am so grateful that the school have giving me my own responsibilities and helped me gain a lot more confidence in the classroom. I work together with the English teachers to help plan my conversation classes and the school have also provided me with all the teaching material I need. The children brighten up my mornings with their welcoming smiles and there countless `Hellos.´ Each child brings their own personality to my conversation classes which makes each class different. To hear at least one child say a new word in English that they have learnt in my class makes my day. The days can be tiring but yet so rewarding to know that I am making a difference to a child´s life my speaking the language I have grew up with.

martine3Living with three host families has been the more difficult part of the program. From the minute I was told I would be spending 9 months in Barcelona I never knew what to expect as all families are different. The first family was so nice and welcomed me into their home as part of their own family but I found it hard to adapt to their way of life because I was so used to my student life back at home. I never realized how important language was until I met my first family as they spoke little English and communicating was hard at times. My currently family are brilliant I feel so at home in there house and both parents can speak English which for me was a bonus. This family is hugely involved in the local community so I have got to experience local events which have been brilliant. I am feeling positive that my final family will be as welcoming as my first two.

martine4In my spare time I like to meet up with other people on the program and share are experiences. It is so good having friends in close towns that are going through the same experience. I have also followed on the tradition of private tutoring lessons after school which is brilliant to meet people similar to my age in the same town. The majority of my lessons are just simple conversation classes that end up turning into a weekly gossip which is brilliant makes me feel like I am back home.

All in all it has been a great experience so far definitely one that I will never forget. The memories and friends I have made are for life. Its help me gain confidence in meeting new people and also essential teaching experience that will stand to me in the future. The whole experience so far has been a life lesson that I never thought I would have the courage to do. One thing I have learnt throughout the program is “anything´s possible if you set your mind to it.”

Col·legi Sant Vicenç, Sant Vicenç dels Horts

Jonathon comes from Ireland and is a Conversation Assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç dels Horts. For the school, it is their 2nd year in the program and they are really happy having Jonathon with them. Here’s what they have to say!


Jonathon Walsh, Conversation Assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç del Horts, is writing about his experience in the school and with his host family.

All the teachers and the students in the school feel very happy with Jonny because he’s  so friendly, hard-working and responsible. At the same time, he’s so sweet  and charming with the pupils. He’s helping us in the English language classroom very much. Children love him and they’re so excited when he comes to the class. We all think this is a great experience for all of us!!


My  name is Jonathon and I come from Ireland. At the moment I am working as a conversation assistant in Col·legi San Vicenc in Sant Vicenc dels Horts, Barcelona. It has been approximately 9 weeks since I have arrived in Barcelona but to be honest it only feels like 1 week because for me time has flown by. I am here on a 9 month period from October until the end of June 2012. When I first arrived I didn´t know what to expect, I had two words of spanish, hola and adios, and it was my first time travelling alone. I am a bit of an introvert but I need to  become more out-going because in my future career I want to be a primary school teacher and I thought that this experience would aim towards that goal. From the moment my feet touched the floor of the school I knew that I was going to enjoy this experience. The teachers greeted me with a warm welcome and made me feel like I was apart of the furniture.

At the moment I am living with a family approximately 15 mins walking distance from the school. I have been living with them for two months and already they feel like my second family. They have two children , one girl Olga aged 11 and one boy Marc aged 15. The two children have very good english and their parents have enough to get by so it´s not difficult to make conversation. The downfall is that in two months I have to change family. But I know that the following family will be very welcoming and will also give me a god experience. I will find this hard because I have a very close relationship with my prensent family and it feels like I have only met them when i have to leave again. I feel that the children, Marc and Olga, are having a good experience with me and for me, my experience with them so far has been great.

I work in the school from Monday to Friday approximately 22 hours a week. I work with childen from P5 to 6th class , ages ranging from 5-12. In Cicle superior 5th and 6th, I take small groups of 4-5 pupils  maximum. With support from my mentor Maite I prepare english activities and games with them for 30 minutes per group. I try to make the conversation classes exciting because its easier for them to learn when they enjoy the class. The students have different levels of english but in this school all of the children have a very good relationship. All of the pupils help eachother with the activities and games and nobody is put down.

With 4 th class, I take small groups for 15 minutes introducing new vocabulary and ditinguising the opposites with actions and expressions to help them understand each word. With the younger classes I work along with the teachers doing activities reading stories and acting like a clown a lot of the time to help them enjoy each class. Most days I go to the playground to play football with the children. This builds a better relationship with them and now they approach me more to strike  a conversation because I am more of a friend than a teacher.

Since I have arrived I spend all my time with the family. They bring me to visit all the touristic areas of Barcelona and if they have any family occasions they bring me along. Everyday after school I go to the grandparents house to help the children with their english homework and to practice my spanish. They accept me as one of the family and I am privileged to be in their company. On Monday and Thursday I train with the local football team and they have accepted me with a warm welcome and I have made some good friends.

My  favourite thing about living here is the oppurtunity to visit all the beautiful land marks and to make new friendships with the staff, children, and the lads at football. They made it easy because all of them accepted me as if I was one of them. I nearly forgot to mention the excellent food, a lot of types  which I have never tasted before. I will definitely bring back some of the recipes to Ireland.The worst thing  about this experience is that at the end of the 9 month period I will have to say goodbye to all of these people that I have made good relations with.

So far this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend this to anyone who would be interested. I now know my future career and I have changed the way I think. When I leave a piece of Catalunya will always be in my heart.


Col·legi Sant Vicenç – Sant Vicenç dels Horts

Luke Brennan, converstional assistant at Col·legi Sant Vicenç, and his tutor Maite, wrote us this great e-mail about Luke’s experience in the school, what he does with the kids and how his presence is helping improve everyone’s English! Col·legi Sant Vicenç is a primary school, so reading this can help other schools get new ideas about what their conversational assistant can do in English lessons with kids from 3 to 11 years old.

Thank you, Luke and Maite!


Luke Brennan, conversacional assistant at Col•legi Sant Vicenç in Sant Vicenç del Horts, is writing about his experience in the school and with his host family and how his spanish is improving day by day.

All the teachers and the students in the school feel very happy with Luke because he’s helping us in the English language classroom. The students are so motivated to speak with him in English. Some of them are making an effort to improve their english.

We all think this is a great experience for all of us!!


My name is Luke; I’m working as a Conversation Assistant in Col.legi Sant Vicenç, in the town of Sant Vicenç dels Horts, just outside Barcelona.

I arrived in Barcelona 8 November 2010, and I was met by the family with which I’d be staying and the tutor from my assigned school, Maite. I was greeted with the traditional kiss on each cheek, and was immediately made feel welcome, before being taken back to the house.

I have basically been adopted into the family as one of their own, and they have been incredibly hospitable and friendly. It is a little strange when you first start living with a new family, especially when you speak no Spanish or Catalan, which was the case with me when I first arrived. The family speak varying levels of English though, and this has aided communication greatly. Meanwhile, I’ve been learning Spanish, and the odd word in Catalan, and it’s getting easier and easier to talk with the family and with various other people that I’ve met. I’m still somewhat shy about using Spanish, and so, mostly resort to English when talking to the teachers in school, but I’m trying to use a little Spanish with them now too. The experience really does improve as time goes by.

As for the actual work in the school, it has been very rewarding. Col.legi Sant Vicenç is a primary school, and I work with children from as young as 3 up to 11. The children were exceedingly enthusiastic when I first arrived, and the enthusiasm has yet to lapse much. The levels of English differ drastically between the different years, but they are all willing to try and are eager to learn, which is good for me. It is definitely easier to work with the older children though, as they understand that bit more and it allows from more varied activities.

The activities that I do and my level of involvement in the class depends on the age of the students. With the youngest students, those in P-3, P-4 and P-5, I mostly just read them an English children’s story, such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, etc. In other classes, I assist the teachers with activities and games, and help the students with their exercises and with pronunciation. The children also like ot try help me with my Spanish, which is always welcome.

However, the main work that I do is with the older students, in 5th and 6th class. With these classes I take small groups of 4 or 5 aside for conversation practice. For these groups I usaully have an exercise or game to do with the students, which provides a good for the conversation practice. The students are usually very enthusiastic, and have a near ceaseless supply of questions about my likes and dislikes, so it’s rarely quiet in these groups.

The other teachers have all been very friendly towards me, and they have been very helpful, especially my tutor, who gives me many ideas for things to do with the students, and supplies me with the exercises and activities I use in the conversation groups. With such support, this experience has never proven too difficult. It really has been a very rewarding time so far, and I look forward to the coming months.

Luke Brennan