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Escola Pia Vilanova

Escola Pia Vilanova has been in the Conversation Assistants Program for three years. This year they are hosting Nadia, who comes from the UK and works with kids from Primary to Batxillerat. We thank Nadia and her tutor Mireia for sharing their experience with us!


2014-10-30 09.50.49I have always liked working with children of all ages and at Escola Pia Vilanova I work with children between the ages of 6 and 18, which is perfect for me.

I was a little apprehensive when I got to Escola Pia as the school year was already underway and there was so much for me to learn about the school, scheduling and culture, not to mention the names of the 650 or so students that I would be working with! I shouldn’t have worried though because I soon became comfortable and began to adjust as all the staff at the school were very supportive and patient, making the adjustment quicker and easier.

I have enjoyed being at Escola Pia, the enthusiasm of the students rubs off on me every day and their eagerness to learn motivates me to work harder and to create new and interesting ways to teach them. I have learned the dynamics of the various classes and the personality and educational needs of the students; this has allowed me to adopt personalised teaching methods for each class.

2014-10-29 11.59.24The best part of Escola Pia for me is the diversity. I love the fact that in one day I can go from doing Arts & Crafts with 9 year olds to discussing global issues with 18 year olds, only to spend the afternoon singing Christmas Carols with 6 year olds! The joy I get from seeing a student formulate a sentence to express something they thought they couldn’t or using unexpected vocabulary is truly immeasurable.

The city of Vilanova i la Geltrú is a very eclectic one and in my free time I find pleasure in walking in random directions and discovering new stores and restaurants. I already have a favourite supermarket, ice cream parlour and bakery, all of which I discovered during my explorations. My students have given me suggestions on places to eat and things to try and I enjoy coming back each week with results and feedback on their suggestions.

The host family I’m currently residing with have been hospitable and I’ve had an introductory meeting with family members of the other two placement homes so I’m excited to experience living with them.

So far this experience has been very enjoyable and I look forward to what the rest of the experience will bring.

Escola Pia Vilanova

Escola Pia Vilanova has joined the PAC this year for the first time. They have a conversation assitant from the United Kingdom, Miguel. He has written to explain what he does at school, and what his general feeligs were at the beginning of the program and how they have evolved. Thank you for emailing us!


         Arriving in Spain was the start of another travelling experience that would prove more challenging and beneficial than I could have imagined. I have been travelling and working now for the past couple of years, Australia and South East Asia, I assumed this time round travelling Spain would be more difficult because of the language barrier but I was confident that it wouldn’t be a problem.

         My first impressions of the Escolia Pia my school, made me feel very comfortable. I had lots of help before hand from my host family and the teachers were very friendly and helpful, the students all seemed very excited to see me. Instantly people started calling me Michael as they assumed the name I was using ‘Miguel’ was for their benefit, they soon realized that my actual name was ‘Miguel Gonzalez – Clayton’ a very strong Spanish name. I was already used to this however because I have met lots of Spanish before and I always get the same reaction, the interesting part comes when I give the explanation that I cannot speak any Spanish.

         During my first couple of weeks at the school everything was fine, I had lots of help and the students were very friendly, however because I was the only native Englishman in my town these were the hardest weeks for me outside of school hours. At times it was lonely and very difficult to find the motivation to go out and meet new people because of the language barrier. I had noticed by now that most of the other assistants in other parts of Catalan had either, another Native English assistant at their school, living in the same village or even close by at another village. This for me was not the case, there were no English assistant’s at my school, in my town or even close by and heading into Barcelona all the time to meet up with other assistants is quite a hassle and costs money, something we don’t receive much of during our experience here. Because of this I knew I had to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, and as I write this now I can say that doing exactly that, my situation has changed and its much better.

         Apart from that the whole experience with the school has been fantastic, I cannot complain about anything. The English teachers I work with are very flexible and allow me to have as much input into the lesson as I want. I really enjoy the classroom work as I feel important because the teachers always refer to me and encourage me to give my opinion. The students are also very enthusiastic to learn English even if the English teachers don’t think so, at times it is very difficult for them I can understand as I am learning Spanish at this moment in time. The students realize that the English language is important, and the way the world is at this moment I think the parents also realize that having this extra skill is an important advantage for their children when they are older.

Miguel preparing a Halloween activitiy with one of the English teachers

         On the whole as I said the school has given me so far a very pleasant experience and introduced me to a Spanish/Catalan culture that I really enjoy. My Spanish now has improved much more in than the first couple of months, I study everyday and I talk as much Spanish as possible outside of the English classroom. For me now this experience can only get better, with summer approaching and my Spanish improving, my experience with Escolia Pia will only be a positive one. As each day passes I am able to give more help to the students and they seem to be able to understand me more.