So I’m going to Spain.
For at least a year. But perhaps longer.
A reasonable amount of stability (as well as legal residency) will come from an English-teaching job lined up for the fall. I’ve had this on my list as a potential go-to job/experience since I was in college but for this or that reason it just hasn’t happened. All things considered, now just seems like the right time.
I’ll be teaching English for a program coordinated by the Spanish government called Auxiliares de Conversación, which translated simply means language assistants. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the program recruits native English speakers (Americans, Canadians, Brits, Australians, etc.) to assist in classrooms across Spain. I suppose the idea is that a native English speaker will be more helpful with the nuances of the language than a Spaniard teaching the same concepts in his or her second tongue. Auxiliares are compensated with a reasonable stipend that covers living expenses. I’ve been rattling through the application process for the past several months and it seems that at the moment everything is squared away. Currently, I’m just waiting for newly-visa’d passport to ship back from the consulate in time for my August 20th flight over to Europe.
My placement is at a high school in southern Madrid where I’ll quickly be refreshing my limited Spanish skills (luckily the bulk of my responsibilities are limited to English). My workweeks will be limited to four days, which should allow time for travel on the weekends within Spain and elsewhere. Although my teaching experience is pretty much limited to summers full of swim lessons during college, I’m excited to try something new.
In some of my free time, I might be teaching private lessons for additional income. But most likely I’ll be toting my camera around Madrid and wherever else I can travel shooting the people and places I find.
But let’s take a step back. Realistically, the true draw is the immersion somewhere very different for a bit working and experiencing the world in a way in which I’m not accustomed. The teaching will be a challenge and the language will certainly be difficult for the first several months, but the rhetorical question of course is this: what better way is there to learn about oneself and the world than to introduce some risk, perhaps some discomfort, and a different perspective?
I hope you follow along with my journey, which I will be documenting and sharing here on my blog in both words and images. As always, if you have any questions, comments, words of advice or encouragement, travel-themed jokes, free-verse poems, or anything else you wish to share with me, I always welcome you to do so: firstname.lastname@example.org