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Escola Pia Terrassa

Escola Pia Terrassa has been hosting Conversation Assistants for five years now. This year they are hosting for English Conversation Assistants and one French Conversation Assistant. Kayla, who comes from the USA, is the Conversation Assistant that helps children in infant school get used to hearing and speaking the English language. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kayla!



kayla2I found this program while I was looking for a job where I could have more experience working with children.  I had already been working in a preschool in the U.S but I was looking for a position with a bit more responsibility.  The travel aspect was a plus as I had wanted to have an experience abroad for a while but it didn’t coordinate with my studies at my University.  As this program seemed to combine my two main interests, I decided I would give it a try.

On my first day I had a meeting with the infantile program director and the English teacher in my school.  I was assigned to the infantile program meaning I would work with children ranging in age from 3-6 years old.  They provided me with an outline of general expectations for the first few months of my program, showed me the materials from the previous conversation assistants and told me I would begin my activities the following week.

My activities include leading a portion of the morning circle, working with small groups in the classroom and working in a separate classroom with 8 children once a week.  After morning circle, I begin with my activity which is more or less whatever I think is appropriate to teach.  I teach my activity in the classroom with a small group of children while the others are playing with puzzles, tablets, and other materials available in the room.  If I ever have questions or need feedback from the other teachers regarding my activities, then I try to arrange a time to speak with them and get their input.  Overall, the conversation assistant position in my school is very relaxed and the activities I plan are completely up to me.


Click here to watch the video!


kayla1Currently I am living with my second host family.  I live with a woman and her 12 year old daughter.  During the week I only see them for dinner time which is when I speak with the mother in English.  On the weekends the daughter is busy with various activities and the mother likes to do things with her friends.  I have joined the mother and her friends for some weekend activities but usually I find things to do with the other conversation assistants from my school.  With my first host family, I spent almost all of my time with and I felt very much like a part of their family.  I would go with them for big family lunches every weekend and I always felt like they were there for me for whatever I needed.  I am still in contact with them and I continue to meet up with them for dinners or sometimes even just to catch up.

The people I have met during this program are what keep me going while I’m living away from my friends, family and my home.  I feel very lucky to be apart of the team of teachers at the infantile school at Escola Pia Terrassa and they are like another family to me.  From my first week I felt comfortable and welcomed by everyone there.  I am so thankful that I get to work with and learn from them.  Luckily, at my school there are 4 other conversation assistants who I am happy to call my friends.  They all have proven to be a really important part of my life here.

I’m sure I won’t remember the details of my day to day life here after this program is over but I am sure I will look back on this time and remember the relationships I made with these people and for that reason I am thankful for this experience.

Escola Pia de Terrassa

Ashleigh Hough is a Conversational Assistant at Escola Pia Terrassa. She works with both Primary and Secondary classes, from 10 to 16 years old. For her, CAP’s has turned out to be a big challenge but also a great opportunity to learn about new methods of teaching and to get to know a different culture.

Thank you for your e-mail and photos, Ashleigh!


Since the end of September, I have been working as a Conversation Assistant in Escola Pia in Terrassa, a city forty minutes from Barcelona. I work with children between the ages of 10 and 16. I am helping to prepare the Primary school children for the speaking section of their English exam, and I am helping to give the Secondary school children an opportunity to speak English and to hear a native English accent through a range of activities. I knew basic Spanish before arriving here, but it was a shock at the beginning to find that everybody speaks Catalan in the centre of Terrassa – the classes in my school are all taught in Catalan and the teachers all speak Catalan in the staff room and at lunchtime. The little Spanish that I knew suddenly felt useless, but as the weeks and months have passed, it has become easier to hear the similarities between Catalan and Spanish. Furthermore, I am sure that by the end of the nine month programme I will have learnt a lot more Spanish and some Catalan! Besides, everybody here is capable of speaking fluent Spanish as well, so whenever I want to practice my Spanish or require help with my Spanish homework, there are plenty of people willing to help me.

Me playing ‘Quinto’ (Bingo) with the children in Primària

The school days here are long – mine run from 9am–5.30pm but a lot of the children begin at 8am on some days. We begin the ‘afternoon’ classes at 3.20pm … the children could not believe it when I told them that in England we finish school at this time! I have spare hours in my day to use the computer facilities, to plan the speaking activities and of course to visit cafés with friends! At the beginning the whole experience was a little overwhelming and sometimes lonely, but now I have many friends and I am rarely stuck for something to do. The teachers and the pupils are really friendly with me and they like to practice their English. I get invited to go on school trips … in April, for example, I am going on a school trip to England! My first family was great and now after three months I have moved in with my second family. In April I am due to move in with the third. Living in a different ‘home’ each term means that I improve my knowledge of the city and get to meet more people, and by living with Catalan families I am learning how true Catalan people live.

Me teaching a special Christmas class

I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants to learn about their own capabilities, a new culture, the methods of teaching, and to someone is ready for a challenge. I am certainly enjoying myself and I am already contemplating the possibility of continuing to live out here after my time with Escola Pia finishes at the end of June.

Ashleigh Hough