Time is flying. It's already May, there's only a month left in the school year, and I have already had to make the decision whether or not to renew my contract for another year. In this post I'm going to take you through my personal decision-making process, the timeline, and my current plans for the future, but first, I want to preface my decision with two notes. First, I came into this year willing to stay for a second, but thinking I would probably cap it at two because of the pay. Second, my main reason for coming to Spain in the first place was to improve my Spanish language skills; teaching English was just a means of doing so. Now let's get into it.
You will start to receive information about the renewal process in mid-February and should you choose to renew, all necessary items must be submitted by early April. I tried my best not to worry about the renewal decision until after the holidays, but by late November it was the main thing on my mind. I arrived in Madrid in late August for the four-week immersion program, so by late November I had already been in Spain for three full months and had been teaching for almost two. This was enough time for me to feel things out and reach a thoughtful decision regarding the upcoming year by the time I went home for the holiday break.
Over the course of my first few months in Spain, I realized that I wanted to continue studying Spanish and ultimately base my career around the language. With that in mind, I assessed my alternatives for what to do next year and came up with three realistic options: work another year as an aux, go to grad school in the United States, or return to Spain to study at a Spanish university. I chose to apply to grad schools in the US because it was always my intention to return eventually and I wanted an applicable, recognizable degree (i.e. a master's degree).
Reasons to Stay
This was a very tough decision to make, because there were a number of good reasons that I would have stayed. First, I've met some really incredible people over here; a special shoutout goes to the students and teachers at my school who have welcomed me with open arms. Also, there is so much more of Spain and Europe that I want to see, and the ease of travel here is unmatched. Additionally, I only work four days per week and rarely have to do work outside of the school day. Lastly, immersion is the best way to learn a language. Ultimately, however, these things were not enough to make me renew for another year.
Reasons to Go
This year has been an incredible experience, and if I could go back in time I would make the same decision to move to Madrid and teach English, but that doesn't mean I want to do it for a second year. It's a weird feeling coming here and building a life for myself only to leave after a year, but I know it's the right decision for me. I miss home and the people that make it home. Being away for so long means you miss a lot, and there are things coming up in the near future that I want to be there for. And like I said before, I never wanted to be a teacher and this year has not changed that.
I will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, starting in August 2023. I have been accepted to their master's program in Global Communication & Applied Translation, and, upon completing my degree, hope to work in the language industry as a Spanish/English translator. My flight home is booked; I will do a bit more travel throughout Spain and Europe before returning home to Philadelphia in July. Until then, I'll be making the most of my last month and a half in Spain!