Spain

spain

Small town vs. city life in Spain: Auxiliares de Conversación 2-year review

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Throughout all of its ups and downs, this program has been very good to me. I’ve worked at two high schools in two very different environments and tutored quite a few kids in private classes for my side hustle. My students have inspired the heck out of me on multiple occasions, and at the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve learned a lot about myself as well. To reflect on my experiences over the past two years, I decided to put together a compare-contrast review detailing different aspects of the two places in Spain I’ve called home. [Read more]

Photos: Holy Week processions in Spain

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Good ol’ Semana Santa. The week leading up to Easter isn’t just spring break for students, teachers, and language assistants all over Spain – it’s also the week that streets around the country are blocked off for days at a time for the famous processions. While some locals might understandably gripe about the interrupted flow of traffic, the Holy Week processions are truly a sight to behold. [Read more]

Expat Facts: Living in Spain (Legally!) Roundup for Non-EU Citizens

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The auxiliares de conversación program is one of the best ways for non-European citizens to legally live and work in Spain for a year, and a great stepping stone to starting a long-term life abroad. However, while some assistants are on their sixth or seventh year in the program, it’s not something most people can make a career out of. The average max amount of time is two or three years – the latter of which was my plan, but an unexpected change in the rules eliminated that possibility. [Read more]

1 year in Spain: (other people’s) expectations vs. reality

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With my one-year Spaniversary coming up next month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the past year has brought me. I had no idea what to expect when I stepped on the plane at Port Columbus John Glenn Columbus International Airport in September of 2015, and (understandably) neither did a lot of people in my life. For months leading up to the big move, I heard a lot of the same things: some of which have turned out exactly as people expected, and others that couldn’t be further than the truth. Here are just a few of the things I heard before boarding my one-way transatlantic flight last year (as well as since then) and the truth about whether or not they’ve come to pass. [Read more]

Is this Spain?!

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Everyone warned me that the north of Spain would be different than the sunny south I’ve learned to call home over the past 10 months. Well, “warned” probably isn’t the best word, because it makes it sound bad, which it’s not. But for months before I arrived in the northeast reaches of the Iberian Peninsula to spend all of July working at a summer camp in the Catalan Pyrenees, my Spanish friends relentlessly listed all the differences between the two sides of the country. The north, they told me, is greener, more expensive, and not at all like the flamenco-dancing, toro-wrangling, free-tapas-consuming stereotypical image of Spain (that honor belongs to mi querida Andalucía). [Read more]

5 places in Almería, Spain that deserve a spot on your itinerary

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Spain’s south-easternmost province might not be as traversed as Seville, Granada, and its other Andalusian neighbors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. From the hustle and bustle of the eponymous provincial capital to the tranquil pueblos in the north; from the rugged terrain of the Tabernas desert to the sparkling beaches dotting the coastline, Almería province has something that will suit every traveler’s tastes and budget. [Read more]

Andalusia’s Best of the West: Seville and Cádiz Itinerary + Photos

In honor of southern Spain’s regional festival, Día de Andalucía, and the five-day weekend that came with it, my friend Tiffany and I headed to the renowned Andalusian capital and threw in a day trip to the beach city of Cádiz while we were at it. A couple days is not nearly enough time to experience all that these incredible destinations have to offer, but if you’re short on time like we were, here’s how we made the most of a long weekend in two of southwestern Spain’s most popular cities. [Read more]

How Your Life Will Change After Moving to Spain

You’ll step onto the concourse at Madrid Barajas exhausted and disoriented after spending the past seven hours suspended in a flying metal tube over the Atlantic. Even though you’ve most likely been sitting for the majority of those seven hours, you’ll still be inexplicably tired, more so after noticing the vast endlessness of Terminal 4 (international arrivals) stretched out before you. You have to walk what seems like at least a mile 1.6 kilometers (gotta start thinking in metric units) to get to passport control and baggage claim. You’ll want to do nothing less. [Read more]

The Single Girl’s Guide to Meeting Spanish Men

It was the stuff dreams were made of: tables piled high with books as far as the eye could see, all for no more than $2 each. The Cleveland Public Library was having a book sale, so naturally I’d rounded up a group of my fellow interns and convinced them to make the five-minute walk over to Superior with me on our lunch break (although I was so stoked about it that I would have gone by myself even if nobody else had wanted to come). [Read more]

Unexpectedly weird American* things

My job description includes two major parts:

  1. Help deliver class material to Spanish teenagers in my native language, speak slow English, occasionally attempt to explain what “turn down for what” means
  2. Act as an unofficial “ambassador” for my country and culture

The second of the two often comes into play even when I’m not at work. A lot of times I’m one of the first Americans that many Spaniards have interacted with, so I’m constantly aware of how I behave and present myself in public. [Read more]

9 things I’ve learned from being “the foreigner”

Monday, December 14, 2015. The date has been looming in my passport for several months now. As of today, my visa is officially expired and I’m on track to legally becoming a foreign resident here in Spain. [Read more]

So You Want to Live in Spain: Auxiliares de Conversación FAQ

It’s Thursday, my busiest day of the week. This morning, I’ve got an English class sandwiched between science and math. I stop by the teachers’ room in between classes, greeting and being greeted with a chorus of hola, buenas from my coworkers, stopping to chat for a few minutes while I switch out my materials and leaving the room with plans to meet up for coffee and tostadas during recreo. [Read more]

How Córdoba’s Ancient Beauty Made Me More Proud to be American

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In a way, it can be said that the Americas can trace their European roots all the way back to Córdoba, Spain.

Before he sailed the ocean blue, a minor historical figure named Christopher Columbus met with the king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, at Córdoba’s Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. It was there that he first presented them with his plans to sail to what he thought was India. I know that Chris C-bus was all kinds of problematic in the sense that he didn’t go about “discovering” America in the nicest of ways (genocide, anyone?) but the historical significance of that initial meeting is still profound. [Read more]

The ABCs of life in Spain

There are a lot of things that would be helpful to know about the Spanish lifestyle before moving here long-term. I narrowed it down to 26. From everyday colloquialisms to can’t-miss food and drink, here’s what you need to know to enjoy your time in Spain – from Almería to Zaragoza. [Read more]

Settling into the land of sun, sangria and siestas

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I left the U.S. to start my new adventure here in Spain. I’ll be spending the 2015-16 school year working with the North American Language and Culture Assistants program, teaching English at a high school in Andalucia, the southernmost region of the country. Here’s how Spanish life has been treating me so far. [Read more]

4th Time’s a Charm: ¡Voy a España!

This past Friday I found out that I’ve been accepted to the North American Language & Culture Assistants program in Spain, which allows citizens of the U.S. and Canada to spend one academic year in Spain teaching English (or French, for our Canadian friends who speak that) in public schools. It’s one of the only ways for Americans to spend an extended period of time in the country, since work visas are extremely hard to get for non-Europeans. I’ve been studying Spanish for seven years and I’ve never been to a country where it’s spoken widely, so I’m beyond excited to finally have a chance to really experience the language I’ve grown to love. [Read more]