By Grant Russum, an alum of CIEE's Teach English in Spain program
As an undergrad, I had the good fortune of spending a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, in the fall of 2017. It was a great experience and I constantly looked for a way to return.
When I was close to graduating, I learned about CIEE and the English Language and Culture Assistant Programs in Spain. Unfortunately, I did not apply in time for a full year program, but was able to participate in spring, 2019.
I was assigned to a town of about 30,000 people called Úbeda, which is a world heritage site in the province of Jaén in Andalusia. I was concerned that I would be far away from all of the activity and sites in Spain, but my view changed quickly once I arrived.
Returning to Spain was an even better experience than my prior trip. I was a bit nervous about finding a place to live. A very nice teacher put me in touch with a wonderful family who rented me a room. I quickly found that I had a new and incredible family. The parents had limited English skills, so I gained proficiency in Spanish quickly. Their son and daughter both spoke English and I assisted them continually with those skills. Best of all was being in a caring home environment with delicious food and a culture that made me feel a part of the family.
My experience allowed me to gain a new family and establish different friendships along the way. I was also able to explore more of Europe and establish many relationships which will continue throughout my life. I'm already planning a return to my see my Spanish family and hope they will also visit the US in the future so I can reciprocate on their caring hospitality.