What is it like?
The first thing that called my attention was there were about 120 of us. A nice big group of people. That is a grand total of about 500 participants going to Spain this year. It makes you feel that you not doing this alone.
Coming to Spain was fun! I met with the CIEE staff, they were wearing CIEE T-shirts at the airport, you get to be pick up at the airport on the day of your orientation. That is the day they have a shuttle that takes you to the Hotel for orientation.
My orientation was a day full of info. The CIEE Spain staff was local which gives it a nice touch, since They full of info. There was actually an option to sign up for a Bank account and get SIM card for your phone right at orientation. I had another Bank in mind and for SIM card I had another company in mind as well. There are so many now in Spain to choose from. As far a Bank make sure you sign up with one who does not charge fees. I will write a blog in the future just on SIM cards options.
What did I learned?
The Community of Madrid Regional Government Representative gave a talk about the important role of Auxiliares de Conversacion, or in other words us as teachers and our goal to help others learn or improve their English. It is actually an important role to play, especially for the economic future of Spain.
Orientation day, was an all day ordeal and tones of info to absorb. One fun aspect of orientation was the cultural activity. That is the part where you bring something for your home city or an aspect from the USA that you get to share with your student when you teach. It can be as simple as a photo or as involved as a power point or anything else in between. I decided to bring Mardi-Gras beads representing NOLA to talk about the cultural aspect of Jazz and Festivals.
Orientation day was long, but at the end we all got to relax and went to a place called Matadero for our farewell dinner. It was nice to meet everyone face to face.