So you’ve reached the end of the school year. What’s next for you? What have you learned from your stint abroad? Was it worth it?
This was my second time living in Spain, so I certainly had a different experience than most. Regardless of how things were for me, I would conclude that this time was just as enlightening as my first. It was much more of an education of self and “mis manias” than a cultural one, though I did learn a little more about Spanish society. Here is what I am taking away:
- A more intense sense of self-reliance and independence that I would never have gotten if I had lived with roommates or a host family.
- Greater empathy for others and their suffering, though I’m still not perfect.
- More self-awareness and the realization of a need for a back-and-forth/give-and-take principle in all my relationships.
- LOTS OF PATIENCE WITH CHILDREN.
- Courage to take charge when no one else is around to assure that things get done properly and timely.
- A deep understanding that quality relationships, not riches nor fancy vacations, determine my happiness.
And was CIEE worth it? Well, avoiding the nitty-gritty details of it all, yes it was. Without the support of CIEE and its down-to-earth, helpful staff I would be a much balder man today (from stress and lack of patience with the Spanish “system”). I couldn’t have had such a wonderful time abroad, so I’m extremely grateful. In fact, I’m coming back next year, which is a testament to how great the Spain Basics program is.
In the end, I hope that you enter your year of teaching with an open mind and ready to learn as much as teach. This year could be amazing if you let it be. Good luck and happy teaching!