Barcelona or Bust – Interview with Maddie Scanlan 🇪🇸
Tell us about your path to TEFL teaching in Spain. What was the most exciting part?
I heard about internship opportunities through a friend in the United Kingdom. I set about researching for the most reliable and affordable TEFL organization that I could find. I checked out Premier TEFL’s blog and immediately felt that it was the right fit for me. I reached out to Isabelle Wong who was working in Spain at the time as a TEFL intern with Premier TEFL, asked her some questions and she told me everything I needed to know!
I immediately booked my TEFL course and Internship placement through Premier TEFL and I haven’t regretted it since. I work in a beautiful school in Barcelona with really incredible teachers that have become my close friends. Teaching is hard work but it is very fun and rewarding! I have felt supported by Premier TEFL every step of the way.
Had you ever been that far away from home before? What was the move from the USA to Spain like?
I lived in London for about four months when I was 19 so that experience definitely made traveling to Spain less daunting. The program that Premier TEFL has in Spain ensures that every Conversation Assistant feels comfortable and supported. Moving to another country is overwhelming and a bit scary but it is also an incredible experience that will transform the way you see the world and yourself.
Describe a typical day in the life of Madeleine in Spain. What’s for breakfast? What’s your day in the classroom like? What do you get up to after work?
I wake up with my host family and we have fruit and biscuits for pre-breakfast, then we take the metro to school and begin the day! Every student and teacher eats their breakfast around 10 am which consists of a giant sandwich on the most delicious bread you can imagine. I serve as a conversation assistant for about 4 classes a day all week long. I prepare games and speaking activities to share with small groups of students in each class. In Spain, lunch is two hours long!
After school or during my long breaks I wander Barcelona. As a teacher, you can get a card that lets you into most museums for free and I take advantage of that whenever I can! I usually get home between 5 and 7 pm and relax, hang out with my family and eat dinner!
Tell us about your host family? How has it been becoming part of a Spanish family?
My host family has been absolutely amazing! They have taken me to beautiful sights all over Barcelona and the surrounding mountain towns and I really feel as though I’ve joined their family. I spend most Sunday’s with their extended family relaxing and eating and learning about the Catalan and Spanish cultures! I absolutely adore the kids and I fully plan to visit them whenever I can!
Tell us three things a future teacher in Spain should know before they go? What are the top three packing essentials when moving to Spain?
Pack layers! In the winter it can vacillate between cold and very warm because of the powerful sun! People in Barcelona dress very fashionably so if you’d like to fit in bring your smartest clothes!! Bring a journal, you are going to be experiencing so much every minute and you will want to remember it! Pack light-you will be changing host families three times and it will make everything much easier.
Describe the fun you have when you’re not in the classroom?
I often take the train to nearby towns and sightsee and I have been able to travel to other countries on the weekends and during the school breaks! I’ve also experienced the nightlife around Barcelona with the friends I have made at school, it’s great!
What have been some challenges you’ve faced on the road to living abroad? How did you overcome them—any advice for our readers/future TEFL adventurers?
The culture shock can hit at unexpected times and you really have to find places in your new city center that remind you of home! I felt very homesick when I first arrived but my host family, my tutor at my school and the friends I’ve made who were also in the program were all very understanding and made me feel comfortable and at home.
Do you have plans once your internship is finished? More English teaching?
I hope to repeat this program for another year. I’m not quite ready to leave Spain, all the friends I’ve met and teaching! After that, I’m interested in traveling and teaching in other countries.
The TEFL internships in Spain offered by Premier TEFL provides a fantastic opportunity to become even more qualified to teach ESL. The variety of online learning, lectures and practical teaching experience really makes the whole experience interesting and worthwhile.