Hey everyone, my name is Sydney and I will be teaching abroad in Spain this year!
I wanted to kickstart my time blogging for CIEE by introducing myself and giving a little bit of background as to why I chose to teach English abroad. I'll start with the basics! I'm a born and raised New Englander from Connecticut, USA, and as such, I have a deep love of clam chowder, dunkin donuts, and some good fall foliage. However, I decided to branch out a little for college. I just graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Global Studies and Environmental Studies and a minor in Spanish. As my areas of study might suggest, I love learning about different cultures and languages and I could not be more excited to experience everything Madrid has to offer. My Spanish could defintely use the practice, too!
Why did I decide to teach English in Spain?
When people hear that I'm moving abroad to teach English, often they are a little shocked. Naturally, they want to know why and how this is all happening. It's kind of a long (but very common) story. I'm what I like to call a "cautious adventurer". I love experiencing new things and I've always been open to taking big risks, but I need a bit of a plan. I'm not the kind of person who can just pack a backpack and go without a second thought. Living abroad has been a lifelong goal, and during college, study abroad offered the perfect oppurtunity to do so with some structure and security. Spoiler alert, but COVID really got in the way of that plan. Like many, I wasn't able to study abroad due to the pandemic but was unwilling to give up on my dream.
While I was home for the pandemic, one of my friends (s/o Ashley!) and I connected on our mutual goal to live and work abroad. She and I talked about lots of different paths to achieving this, such as being an au pair, participating in work-away programs, and teaching English. Since then, I knew I wanted to teach English in Spain after I graduated. I felt like teaching abroad would allow me to live abroad with the added benefit of some financial assurance. Two years later and my friend just got back from a year being an aux in Zaragoza and I'm leaving for Madrid in September!
Through lots and lots of research, I decided that CIEE offered the pre-departure support that I needed to take this leap. The visa guide alone has been worth the program fee. My visa application process was so seamless and I'm approved and ready to go! CIEE has also provided so much useful information about the community of Madrid and what to expect once we get there. While I know it will be an adjustment regardless, I feel a lot more confident about making this transition. For right now, I'm continuing to prepare and save before I head to Spain. Thank you for taking the time to read my first post and I cannot wait to share my experience!