Chelsie Mejia – 2021/2022 English Language Assistant in La Rambla
Hello to all! My name is Chelsie and this year I have been working as the English Language Assistant at Profesor Tierno Galvan in La Rambla, Cordoba. My experience has been filled with so much joy and wonder, and as the end of the program approaches I can’t help but reminisce on the memories I have made in these past 8 months.
I first arrived in Spain in September 2021. Immediately upon arrival I got COVID- a worldwide outbreak we are all too familiar with now- and despite the week-long sickness, I fully recovered and was ready for my first day of work in La Rambla! The first week was full of introductions and presentations about myself and about my country! This was a great way for students to get to know a little bit about me and where I come from. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida and moved to Seattle, Washington about 2 years ago… quite the change, I know. The cross-country move was a spontaneous way to explore a new city and way of life, as was this decision to move to Spain! When I tell my students where I am from, I often hear these exact two words: “Que Guay!” meaning “How cool!”. I love sharing my experiences and culture with others and learning the differences of how we were brought up, how we speak and the way we act.
During my time at the school, I taught Math, Biology, History, Geography, Music and Physical Education. These are the bilingual subjects at the school so as an english language assistant, I played a big role in helping students with pronunciation, terminology, and grammar. With the help of the teachers, I prepared presentations and activities for the students to engage with. I worked with a range of students from 1°ESO to 4°ESO so I adjusted the activity difficulty according to their levels. I found all classes responded very well to activities that allowed the students to be competitive and work in teams. At the same time, it was fun for me to come up and create games based on the material that was being taught! It is a great way to foster a positive and fun environment in the classroom.
Some of my favorite presentations included the ones that educated the students about my city back home. For example, I did a presentation about climate change in Miami, FL and although the topic is not a positive or optimistic one, I was eager to inform the students about the real issue we are facing in different parts of the world, Miami being one of the highly impacted areas. From that presentation I had students asking questions and conversing about different ways that we can combat the problem of rising water levels in the city. It was encouraging to see the amount of interest that topics like this create in the classroom and it plays a big part in why this role as a language assistant is so rewarding in the end.
One thing you will notice in the school is that students are curious about you! They want to know about every topic ranging from how many pets you own to if you are married or have kids. I enjoyed telling my students more about myself, my hobbies and perspectives. It gave me a better understanding that even though our cultures and upbringings may seem vastly different, we can find common ground in other areas such as hobbies, interests, beliefs, and help unify us despite our differences. The conversations I’ve had with my students are highly valued and I do not take them for granted. I discovered so much about Spain’s culture, specifically the Andalusian region, through their eyes. In the same way, they have learned more about American culture through my eyes and I am able to give them more knowledge about a part of the world that they may not be too familiar with. This cultural exchange creates so much curiosity, fascination, and realization about the MANY different ways of life and how our culture is perceived to others, and that is one of the best parts about this program! I know that I will be leaving back home with so much knowledge and first-hand experience of the Spanish lifestyle and culture.
Working only four days out of the week, I was able to go on adventures on the weekends and explore the different sites that this country has to offer. Spain is so magnificent and each city has something new to see! Transportation throughout the country is easy and accessible so it made it possible to go on weekend trips whenever I planned to. One great thing about this program is that it gives us the flexibility and balance to work while also exploring during our free time. There are so many sites just near and around Cordoba that are well worth visiting and just a bus or train ride away. One of my favorites was the small town of Ronda in the province of Malaga that is situated on a deep gorge! I only have a couple of weeks left of the program but I am still making plans to travel as much as I can and take in the beauty of this country while I still have this opportunity. Plus flights are much cheaper from here than they are from America!
A big thank you to my coordinator Maria Jose Marin and to all the teachers I worked with who have made this experience so memorable and fun. I can’t thank them enough for their patience and kindness throughout this academic year and for being so accommodating to me and my needs while abroad. There have been challenging moments and times where I needed a little push, but my teachers were always able to help me and steer me in the right direction. I will strongly miss this center and all of its faculty and students who never cease to put a smile on my face and make me laugh. They are so hilarious and fun! At the end of the program I will be going back to Seattle in pursuit of my next journey, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will return to Spain for a visit or two! I have fallen in love with this country and its personality! I’m incredibly grateful for this experience and know that it is something I will fondly look back on– in fact I got a tattoo of my Cordoba zip code (14011) this year! With all of this being said, I hope you are ready for your next adventure, so strap in and enjoy the ride!
My Experience As An English Language Assistant
My name is James, I am 25 years old and I come from a town called Loughton in Englad. I have been working as the English Language Assistant in IES Profesor Tierno Galván, La Rambla, for almost two years. I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my memories and reflections from my time working at the school.
|Me making the most of my time in Córdoba|
and exploring the Castle of Almodóvar del Río
at the weekend (Feb 2019)
|Me and my boss Monica on a school trip in Trassierra|
|Desayuno molinero, traditional Andalusian breakfast|
|(from left to right: Juan María from PE; Ana Belén from Biology; Monica from English; Me, James; Irene from Maths)|
|Goodbye card from 2º ESO (May 2019)|