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Sant Lluis Gonçaga – La Garriga


My name is Michael, I’m 22 and I travelled from New Zealand to take part in the 2014-2015 CAPS programme.

For me the decision to come was an important one. Firstly, Spain and Catalonia is on the otherside of the world, and I spoke no Catalan or Spanish. Secondly it would be my first time this far away from and by myself. I was a little nervous to say the least. Regardless, I decided to take part and almost two days after leaving New Zealand I arrived in Barcelona ready to start the next nine months.

michaelI was placed in a smallish town called La Garriga, which is about half an hour by car from Barcelona. The school, Sant Lluis, is small. There are only around 420 students and I am active in every class, from age three through to age sixteen. Most of my time is spent encouraging the older kids to speak English and to help build their confidence through friendly conversation and activities. In the primary school I help alongside a teacher working to build their vocabulary and getting them speak basic, but common, phrases. In the pre school my time is spent playing in the playground, helping the kids with their art projects or telling stories to the children.

I eat lunch at the school with the students and the teachers. The food is great, healthy and hearty, and there is always plenty to go around. The teachers at the school have been awesome to me too. If they are not helping me with my Spanish, they are introducing me to past students my age, or offering to take me out for the day or the weekend to places around Catalonia. Because of its size the school feels like a community and everyone is part of its family. Its nice to be welcomed into that as I have been.

The thought of living with strangers, a family with young children, was quite alien to me – I have been flatting with friends for the last five years. However my family have made the transition easy. The parents both speak English very well, and have been more than happy to introduce me to people, places, food and experiences. They have three children, aged 11, 8 and 5 who all attend Sant Lluis. So far I have been able to travel all around Catalonia with them.

During the week I spend most of the day at school and in the evening I teach private classes, where I have one on one conversations with children, parents and even the teachers. Every one has been very welcoming inviting me into their homes and lives. Extra teaching has been very lucrative for me, and is a great supplement to the 200€ a month. I’m saving enough to enable me to travel around Europe after the school year finishes.

Finally, I was initially very nervous about the language difference, however I have been able to get by just fine with my very basic knowledge of Spanish and Catalan.

If anyone is thinking of travelling from down under but nervous about the distance I would suggest that they do it. Its a great experience and really life changing. The team at Home to Home have been friendly and helpful in organising the experience and everyone I have met since has helped me enjoy my experience more.

Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga, de La Garriga

The first submission for this year’s blog has finally arrived. And again, the first school to write to us is Sant Lluís Gonçaga in La Garriga.  This year, they are hosting Samuel, a conversation assistant from England. 

Thanks a lot for e-mailing us!



I’m Sam – or better known as Samuel in Catalunya – and I’m the conversation assistant at Escola Sant Lluis Gonçaga in La Garriga. I have been here since the end of September and will stay here till June 2013. Although I speak a high level of Spanish already, I was in for a culture shock from day one: my village is very Catalan! There is almost no Castilian around for miles! But for me, this was an exciting challenge that I am relishing. I was welcomed by some of the nicest people on the planet and I already almost feel Catalan, allbeit with very little knowledge of the language.

I live with a family in La Garriga who welcomed me with the words “nuestra casa es tu casa” (our house is your house). The son, Oriol, is in 5th Primary, and the daughter, Maria is in 2nd Primary. On different days we speak different languages so we all benefit – my Catalan and Castilian have improved dramatically in my first two months here. We play games and read books in English, and have a points system, where a point is gained for saying something correctly, and lost for saying something incorrectly, or for speaking the wrong language. Needless to say I am winning! Everyone at home has improved their English tenfold too. I am due to change family in mid February and I hope my time with them will be as great as it has been with my first family.

I work five days a week at school, nine till five, Monday to Friday (although I am blessed with only working half a day on Friday and there is a two hour lunch break from one till three). The school is tiny – about four hundred students – so it is easy learning the names of the students. I work with all ages, from 3-16 years old (P3 to 4th ESO). With Infantil and Primary students I work alongside the teacher, helping out in class and taking small groups to practise speaking activities, as well as playing games and entertaining them with my guitar. On the other hand, I take ESO students in groups of five or six, grouped according to their level of English and do a range of activities, to improve their spoken English, and sometimes to work on grammar issues. Once a week I work with my tutor, Marta, to prepare classes for the ESO students.

Samuel practicing conversation with two students

Twice a week I do private tuition; English is such an important subject here that every academy around for miles is full to the brim, so parents take advantage of a native speaker being in the village. It also gives me the chance to use everything I learned in my TEFL course. Similarly, I teach Oriol guitar on Friday nights.

In my free time I tend to go to Barcelona; the city is beautiful, and only a forty minute train ride from La Garriga. However I also spend time with the family; recently we went to the woods to look for the “Tio,” a Catalan Christmas tradition, as well as spending time in their mountain home a few weeks ago. I have some wonderful memories already, and it’s only been two months!

The Catalan people are among the nicest, most welcoming people on the planet. Everyone from Home to Home, to the staff at the school, to my host family have made me feel like I am a part of Catalunya, and I feel like this is home. Being thrown into a new culture has definitely been worth it, and I can’t see myself wanting to leave any time soon.


Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga, de La Garriga

We have received our first submission for the PAC News 2011-2012! Coming from Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga, in La Garriga. It is their 2nd year in the PAC (Conversation Assistant Program)!

We thank them & their Conversation Assistant, Michele!


Michele is here since October, our students like working with her.
Some of them say:

“I like speaking English with Michele”
“We practice a lot of English and she helps us”
“We play some games with Michele and also learn English”
“I can improve my speaking, I like it”
“It’s great! We have fun while learning English”
“With Michele we can spek English with an English person in Catalonia”
Michele has explained us some things about her life in la Garriga:


My name is Michele and i am an English conversation assistant in Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga in la Garriga, Barcelona. I came to Spain 7 weeks ago and i am here for 9month from October till June 2012. I did not know what to expect and couldn’t speak a word of Spanish or Catalan so as you can imagine i was very nervous! But from the minute i arrived i was greeted with wonderful people who made me fell very welcome. I now know a few words and phrases in Spanish but the hardest part is finding the time to learn the language!

I live with a family in la Garriga only a 15minute walk away from the school, their son Pau is in 1st Primary at this school. I am staying with the same family for the entire 9month. I practice English everynight with Pau and i am pleased with how well his progress is coming along everyday he is learning new words and building short sentences. He understands me a lot more than he did just 7 weeks ago! I would love to be able to have a conversation with him by the end of the programme, for me this would be a great achievement.

I work in the school everyday Mon-Fri and help the students practice their English speaking. I work with all ages from as young as P3 up untill 4th of ESO (3-16 years). The level of English varies from each individual, with the ESO students i have grouped them together according to their level, i take small groups of 4-5 students and we do alot of speaking and listening activities in the lessons and we play some fun games. I also like to practice role plays with them as they seem to enjoy this and it gets them talking in a fun way. I try to keep it as interesting as possible so that it gets everyone involved even the shy ones!

With the primary children it’s slightly different as i work along side the teacher in the classroom and we work from the activity book. Sometimes i prepare games for the children related to what they are doing in class and take a few students at a time into a separate room where we can practice speaking. We tend to read stories and then act them out, the younger students can get very excited and enthusiastic about this! Most of the students  are very enthusiastic about speaking with me in English, and all the teachers have been very friendly, they are also happy to help me with my Spanish.

I also do some extra lessons with students after school. This is a good way of making some extra money and I find a lot of parents are waiting to give their children the opportunity of speaking with a native English person.

In my free time i often spend time with the family, a very big family! Sundays are usually family orientated days where we visit the grandparents and they prepare a big meal for everyone. I also go to nearby towns such as Sabadell and Granollers, these towns are beautiful with many shops, bars, restaurants etc… Barcelona is about 40minute train jouney from la Garriga.

My favourite thing about being in Spain are the people, everyone is so friendly and cheerful they make you feel very welcome and it is a privilege to be staying in Catalunya.

I have learnt alot from the 7weeks i have been and look forward to learning alot more within the coming months. So far it has been a wonderful experience and i would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this type of work.


Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga, La Garriga

April was a Conversation Assistant last year (2009-2010). She enjoyed it so much, that she decided to return this year, and she’s staying in La Garriga, working as a Conversation Assistant at Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga. She is enjoying the experience, and so are all the students!

Here’s what they have to say:

April is here since October, we are really happy to share our classes with her, some of the students say:

  • “We think that’s great April is here because we’re learning a lot”.
  • “April is an active and funny person”.
  • “We practice our speaking and listening, it’s great”.
  • “We play some games, this helps our pronunciation”.
  • “When we are with April, we have a good time and learn a lot.”
  • “It’s an easy way to learn English”.
  • “She explains us some interesting stories about her life”.


And now it’s April’s turn to explain us what she does in the school, with her classes that range from P3 to 4th of ESO, and what living in La Garriga is like for her.


My name is April and I am working as a conversation assistant in Escola Sant Lluís Gonçaga in la Garriga, Barcelona.
This is my second experience working with the Home to Home program and both experiences have been really different! I have really enjoyed learning about the Spanish and Catalan cultures, seeing different teaching styles, exploring areas of Catalunya and of course eating food like fuete, pan con tomate, coca and La Mona!

This year I am living and working in la Garriga. It is a small beautiful village in the Vallés Oriental area of Barcelona. The town is small and very catalan, I always see parents and children from school in the center and love taking walks down the beautiful Passeig. My favourite thing of the town is that is is filled with amazing Modernist houses designed the modernist architect Manuel Raspall. This week I have taken two school trips with P5 to explore the architecture around the town and make our own modernistdecorations with clay.

The school is also small. There is one class for every age group from P3 – 4 ESO which is great as I can spend more time with each class and get to know the kids better. I spend most of my time with the ESO classes. I take small groups of 4-5 kids and we spend the classes doing a lot of talking, playing games, listening to music and sometimes watching films in English. I try to keep the lessons fun as I think it helps everyone learn a language if they are enjoying it! So we do different activites like filming our own mini movies.

Teaching ESO isn’t always easy though. Some days if I haven’t planned enough it is hard to get them excited, and the students have a very varied level of English. Some can talk all day, and some barely speak at all. It has taught me a lot about gaining and keeping interest, in preparing lessons and thinking on my feet!

I stay with the teacher in the Primary and Parvulari classes. We work from the books, sing songs and read stories. My favourite class is P5. The class is a little crazy! They love to talk, to move and to hear me speak in my really bad catalan! The class I help with is art based and I am there to assist the teacher, while speaking English of course, but end up spending my time joining the kids in whatever messy art activity they are doing. Thankfully, the teacher doesn’t mind and I have a lot of fun in these classes!

The different holidays have been fun, I especially enjoyed Carnaval when I dressed up as Bob Esponja, and making Panellets on Castanyada. I also love going on excursions. It is a more relaxed atmosphere and I have seen a lot of Catalunya. I am still hoping the school takes a trip to PortAventura, but I think this is unlikely!

April dressed as Bob Esponja (Spongebob) in Carnaval!

Unlike some of the other conversation assistants, I am only staying with one family for the entire 9 months. This has good benefits as I really feel like part of the family now, I have been able to know the kids really well and don’t have to pack and unpack every month. But I also think it would be a good experience to see different families and get to know more people. My family have 3 small girls, age 2, 4 and 6. This is an adjustment for me as I haven’t been around small children since I was 10. But it is also fun, we play a lot and I am always watching Bob Esponja with them. I speak to them in English and Spanish and they are very helpful as we can have very simple conversations. At the weekends I normally have lunch with the family, the uncles, the grandparents and we have traditional Catalan food and very good coffee.

The hardest thing for me is learning Spanish in Catalunya. In my village I never hear Spanish on the streets and while the teachers in school make an effort to speak to me in Spanish, 90% of the time I am surrounded by Catalan. I can understand simple conversations now in Catalan, especially when the teachers are explaining in class. But I am glad I am in Catalunya, it has been a really good experience to learn about another culture, they have everything here, the beach, the beautiful cities, the mountains and tasty food!