Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a great life. She lived in California just a few minutes from the beach, she had wonderful friends, she lived close (but not too close) to her family, and she was employed in her field (no small feat for someone with a theatre degree). And the girl was happy. Mostly, anyway.

teaching English in Spain by Nicole

However, after two and a half years of working full time at a desk in non-profit theatre education, I needed something more. I had been employed full time in theatre education administration from the minute I graduated from my university and had been working part-time at the company for two years prior. I began working with them as a teaching artist, teaching playwriting and movement classes while I was still a university student, but over the years found myself pushed more and more into an administrative role. By the time I was hired full time, all teaching opportunities were entirely out of reach due to my administrative obligations. And yet, I considered myself extremely lucky. There I was: fresh out of university with a theatre degree and I was working in a theatre that reached over 25,000 kids every year with its educational programming! During my time there we extended our reach even further and were nearly to 30,000 kids each year. But after a collective 4.5 years with the company, the work was less exciting. No less fulfilling mind you, but less exciting. I knew how to do my job and I knew how to do it well. There were no more challenges—no more surprises. And hey, let’s just say it: I was bored. Every day was the same: the same tasks, the same emails, the same phone calls to parents, and the same office politics. I needed a break.

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The great thing about when a job becomes that easy is that it leaves your mind free to wander. Eventually, my office daydreams drifted back to my first couple of summers with the company when I taught for the summer programs. I missed it. I missed being in the classroom and I missed the kids and the creativity and looking up games and theatre activities and writing activities and crafts and spending hours planning the perfect lesson late into the night and waking up early and getting that one kid who doesn’t like anything to smile and open up during a writing activity where he got to draw a comic about anything he wanted. That. I missed all that. So it was time for a change.

With that, I decided to go back to teaching and launched my search for teaching jobs (theatre and non-theatre alike) and suddenly a thought popped into my head that I could teach and get out of the hum-drum of everyday life, and after much research a TEFL life seemed to be the perfect answer. I was thrilled by the prospect of living in a new country, learning a new language, meeting people from other cultures, and (of course) all of the travel opportunities that would come with this sort of international move.

Within a week I had it narrowed to two: TtMadrid and another TEFL course in Thailand. You see, I wasn’t looking specifically for a course in Madrid, Spain, Europe, or anywhere in particular for that matter. I was looking for the best program for me. So I made my lists: pros and cons, job prospects, travel opportunities, benefits for when (if) I ever go back to the States, etc. And then I set up a chat with TtMadrid. Not an interview, mind you, just a chat. I wanted more information for my research. So we chatted… and chatted! An hour later and I had accepted a place at TtMadrid for the following January! A mere 3 weeks after thinking I might be ready for a change from my job and I was on course to move to SPAIN!!

And now here I am! I’ve learned so much Spanish and have found teaching while studying in two different primary schools. I have loved every minute (yes, even the late-night lesson planning, while studying my Spanish verbs!). I feel happy and fulfilled and every day I wake up knowing I made the right change!

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