Lisa is our new TEFL teacher, who will contribute to our Teaching English blog. She will be providing her adventures as an English Teacher/TEFL teacher in Madrid. Here is a little bit about her!
A lot of people ask me, ¨Why did you want to move to Spain?¨ The answer goes back to when I was growing up and seeing the collection of figurines and other souvenirs from my grandma who has traveled all over the world, including her flamenco dolls and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza figurines. I wanted to see these places too. However, the thought of going so far from home didn’t seem feasible, especially for a little kid.
After high school, my grandma invited me to go on a tour of Europe as a graduation present. It was an organized tour and she had been to all of these countries before, so I was up for the adventure. (Keep in mind, most of the vacation experiences until this point had been road trips and the occasional plane ride to Disneyland or to visit family. Not exactly out of my comfort zone). We spent two-three days in each country (about seven total countries) making a big circle through Western Europe. However, Spain wasn’t included on the tour.
I went to the University of Oregon and studied comparative literature and journalism. For CompLit we had to take a bunch of upper-division literature classes in two different languages. Luckily, one of them could be English. I hadn’t studied Spanish for a couple of years, so I started at the beginning in Spanish 101 to brush up. Every term someone who had done a study abroad program would come in and say how great it was, how much she/learned, etc. Our university had a partnership with a university in Mexico. Although the program seemed really organized and like a great opportunity, I felt like I didn’t have time to take off a term having a double-major.
After college I went in the direction of communications and public relations, working at a large PR agency, a hospital, a radio station and the local public transportation company, among other jobs. I started to get burned out at my last job and during that time became good friends with a girl who had lived in Spain a couple of times – once when she was a child and her parents taught English in the Basque Country and another after college. I also had friends who had been traveling around the world and picking up odd jobs. Suddenly, it seemed totally do-able.
I found out about some teaching assistant grants for native English speakers and was able to get in through one of these ¨auxiliar¨ programs. And I’m still here all of these years later.
As for the ¨Why Spain?¨ part (as opposed to other countries), there are a few reasons. I’ve visited a lot of great countries, but the only other language I had studied was Spanish. Another big reason is that I actually have some Spanish ancestry, so even though I had never been here until I moved here, I felt some connection in knowing I’m a tiny part Spanish. Another draw was the fact that I’d be close to these other countries that I’ve enjoyed visiting. I’d love to visit and possibility work in South America someday, but for now my heart is in Spain! – Lisa