A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Col·legi Mare Janer – Andorra

Mare Janer was the first school in Andorra to join FECC’s Programa Auxiliars de Conversa. It is their second year hosting a Conversation Assistant. Just like last year, their CA, Chris, has felt very welcomed in Andorra and is helping Mare Janer’s students’ improve their English skills.

Thank you Chris and her tutor, Esther, for writing to us!


My name’s Chris and I am the second conversation assistant at Mare Janer in Santa Coloma, Andorra.

IMG_3753 (Small)Mare Janer is a semi-subsidised Catholic school nestled comfortably at the bottom of a huge mountain face.  That’s not saying much, however; almost everything in Andorra is nestled at the bottom of a huge mountain face.

One thing that strikes me about the school is, for the most part, how well the students are behaved.  I cannot find a displayed list anywhere of the school rules, not on the walls or in the classrooms – all the students just seem to know what the rules are and how to behave.  When there was one fight between two students, it was talked about throughout the entire school.  I’ve come from a very different environment personally, so it’s a humbling experience that makes you think a lot about culture and upbringing.

The school itself has its own genuine forest; not a forest behind or next to the school, but as a part of the school grounds,IMG_4656 (Small) where the children go to play at lunchtime.  This is what I thought was the most wonderful aspect of the school – imagine the adventures you’d have every day growing up in a place like this.  The forest is completely at my own disposal, so generally at lunchtime I will find a quiet spot to sit on a rock and do some drawing.  Within minutes it’s no longer quiet as I’ll be surrounded by adorable screeching children asking me what I’m doing, and pointing at objects and demanding I say the Spanish word.  I find speaking with the children in this way is the best way to learn and practise basic Spanish, and it helps them as they simultaneously practise their English.

IMG_4591 (Small)One difficulty I’ve encountered is in attempting to refine the kids accents.  Because for almost my whole working life I’ve been around mostly non-native English speakers, it actually sounds more natural to me to hear strong accents.  And as I think accents are a wonderful, beautiful aspect of identity, it seems almost a shame to flatten it out, but of course it is a great aid to the students to practise from as young as possible.

The most astounding thing is to see the generosity and openness from each of the host families.  They are taking a huge risk inviting a stranger into their homes, at a substantial financial expense too, while only asking that the assistant be with them and talk to them at dinner.  They are the real people who keep the CAPS program together, and my host families will always hold a special place in my heart.

Col·legi Mare Janer – Andorra

Col·legi Mare Janer is a school located in Santa Coloma, Andorra. It is their first year in the PAC, and Sam, their conversation assistant, is the first PAC in the Principality. We thank Sam and his tutor Esther for sharing their experience and these great photos!


I am currently working in the principality of Andorra, the first Conversation Assistant to do so with CAPS. Adapting to such an unusual environment, with Andorra being its own minute country, has been a mixture of peaks and troughs. The mountains and its lack of a cosmopolitan attitude can be overbearing. However one factor of the experience that has been a constant peak is the school, the students, its staff and of course the families. Collectively they have made my time here a pleasure, with their support and enthusiasm in all that I do.

I teach both Primary and Secondary levels, with the ages ranging from 7-16. I enjoy aspects of both levels, but the diligence and enthusiasm of the children is perhaps the most humbling. I try to expose the kids to as much material as possible be it English Youth Culture, Music, Literature, T.V or Film. I am currently organising an ´America Workshop´ for the Secondary students. An auxiliary from the Fulbright Program will hopefully present a day of lessons around the United States. This will show to the students the acute differences between the English spoken in the U.K and the English spoken in the U.S.

Having worked as a College Lecturer I was at least familiar already with the classroom environment. However, education is very different culturally here from what I am used to back home in the U.K. I find that students are not encouraged enough to actively engage in language lessons. So I try to incorporate as much role play, performance and practical speaking exercises in my lesson plans as possible. I feel that enticing students out of their comfort zones helps them with confidence, a very important trait needed when learning a second language.  I feel that since October the student’s attitude towards English has radically changed and that hopefully this will continue after I leave.