My name is Catherine Chapman, and I’m a first-time English language and culture assistant, participating in the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Auxiliares de Conversación program through CIEE. I was born and have lived in Tampa, Florida for my entire life, but after twenty-four years of living in the sunshine state I am very ready for a yearlong assignment in Madrid, Spain.
Here’s a little bit about me.
As a teacher, I’m fairly new! I have taught pre-k through college age students since graduating high school in 2015, but have only recently sought certification--I just took my TEFL certification course from International TEFL Academy in 2020 during the pandemic. Most of my experience is in arts education, from private instrument lessons, to summer camps, theatre and music intensives, conservatories, university-level music classes, and more.
Before my TEFL certification, I graduated from University of Tampa in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in music performance, having majored in classical voice. My coursework was completed in quite a few schools--from University of Florida my freshman year, to University of South Florida for a brief stint in music education, to New College, and even Eastman School of Music’s summer programs. Even as a performance major specialising in classical voice, I preferred music theory and musicology. I was also really interested in linguistics, history, and theatre--the beautiful thing about the humanities, in that sense, is that ultimately, regardless of however many subjects you learn about, they will all somehow improve or supplement your knowledge of another.
I hope to go back to school, but haven’t chosen my course of study. Pedagogy is definitely up there, though.
Previously, I studied abroad in London (2017), Paris (2018), and Acqui Terme, Italy (2019). So far, my experiences in international travel have been great. At least in the places I’ve visited, culture shock is really the least of my worries (but that could be due to my love of new food, walking around new neighborhoods, and all things having to do with trains). Perhaps what I’m most nervous about is speaking the language. Luckily, CIEE offers an immersion program, but I’m still working on touching up my language at home (look out for that blog post soon!).
What kind of blogs do you want to see? Let me know in the comments down below, or reach out via instagram and twitter @nampahceitac.
Want to support my trip abroad, and get personalised advice, resources, and a thank you postcard in return? Consider donating to my fundmytravel!