Auxiliar Interview: Leah

Leah is a 3rd year auxiliar de conversación here in Spain and has worked in Castilla y León, Asturias and now, Galicia! Here is a little interview of how she got to the Iberian Penninsula and what it’s like working here.

1. Where are you from?

Jackson, Mississippi

2. What made you decide to be an Auxiliar de Conversación?

I have known I wanted to live in Spain since I was 16 years old, so in college I majored in Spanish and minored in TESOL. After studying abroad twice in Spain (Alicante: University of Alicante and Salamanca: Colegio Delibes) I decided to try the auxiliar program to begin my life in Spain.

3. Which program hired you?

I am working with the North American Language and Culture Assistants/auxiliares de conversación.

4. What region are you placed in?

This is my third year as an auxiliar. My first year was in Burgos, Castilla y León. The second year I was placed in Navia, Asturias. This year I am currently working at a language school in Ribadeo, Galicia.

5. What grades do you teach?

I was working at an instituto in Burgos and Navia. This year I am working with adults at the language center. I have a student who is 83 years old. When I asked her why she wants to learn English she told me that her son lives in London and she wants to be able to speak to his friends and be able to travel without any problem. She is a great student and she has taught me that it is never too late.

6. Have you worked with children in education in the past?

I had no experience as a teacher before the auxiliar program.

7. What surprised you the most about the Spanish education system?

The Spanish education system is a lot more relaxed and there isn’t much discipline. The teachers are called by their first names. There isn’t a dress code. The students seem to have more freedom.

8. What is your favorite part of the job?

My students are my favorite part of the job. Each one of my students has a special place in my heart. Every now and then I will get a message from them saying how much they miss me and wanting to know when I am going to visit. I have a box full of the sweet cards and gifts they gave me on my last day with them.

9. What is your least favorite part of the job?

My least favorite part is that sometimes the teachers don’t know how to work with an auxiliar so it can make planning classes more difficult.

10. What is your favorite word or phrase your students used?

I am from the South so I say “y’all” and my students began saying it as well. It made me happy to be able to share some of my southern culture with them.

11. What is your favorite part of living in Spain?

My favorite part if living in Spain?! That is difficult. I guess I would say the people. The people I have met in these three years have completely changed me and I have so much love for them. People have been so kind and welcoming to me. The friends I have met here are now like family to me.

12. How has your experience as an auxiliar helped you?

Being an auxiliar has shown me that I don’t want to be a teacher. I have loved the experience but teaching isn’t for me. I have grown a lot from this program and gained more confidence in myself so this year will be my last as an auxiliar and I will begin to pursue my career as a makeup artist.

13. What advice would you give a prospective auxiliar?

I would tell a future auxiliar to be patient. The first few months are difficult. You are far from home and everything is new and you don’t know anyone. Be patient and choose to be happy and positive because in the end it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. Also, if you get placed in a pueblo, don’t let that scare you. My year in Navia was the greatest year of my life. I made great friends and met my boyfriend and I have never been happier!!

Thank you so much, Leah! Good luck in all your future endeavors.

If you are a volunteer, language assistant, or English teacher abroad and would like to participate in an interview, let me know via the contact tab!

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