Hi everyone! My name is Ellie and I am a member of the CIEE Teach in Spain program beginning in the fall of 2021. As a little bit of background on my life so far, I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I am a recent graduate of Duke University and a newly retired Division I student-athlete. I majored in Public Policy with minors in Spanish and Political Science. I was a captain of the varsity Swimming & Diving team and competed as a diver for four years. At Duke, I found a passion for gender equality in sports, politics, and in every aspect of life. I did collaborative research on child policy in North Carolina because I see value in making sure young learners have all the right tools to be successful. And lastly, on the short list of topics I am enthusiastic about, I care about creating a global community that values diversity and celebrating uniqueness. I sought the opportunity to be a part of Teach in Spain with CIEE in order to work in a place and in a field that bridges all of these aspects that are important to me.
I am writing this introductory blog after what has officially been my first week in Madrid with CIEE. This week has been a whirlwind of new faces, new customs, and some logistical challenges! Here is my first week by the numbers:
17,450 -- the number of steps I took on average each day this week
4,030 -- the number of miles I am from home
~94 -- new Teach in Spain members who arrived on September 6th
14 -- messages to landlords
4 -- days of orientation including tours, lectures, and group dinners
3 -- apartments viewed
2 -- new roommates, but no apartment to live in… yet!
1 -- new phone number, new bank account, NEW HOME for the next year
Hopefully these statistics provide a little insight into what has been a very chaotic, but productive first week with Teach in Spain!
Lastly, I would like to share one short anecdote from this week:
A few days ago I was on the metro headed back to my hotel. I was standing against the wall of the train when I looked over and noticed a man sitting with a small notepad and pen. As the train sped along the tracks, he was freehand drawing the woman sitting across from him. She sat opposite him, looking down at her phone. He drew furiously as he outlined her silhouette then filled in the details with short black lines. In the time that I stood there watching him look up at her and back down at the paper swiftly, she never noticed him. I almost missed my stop because I was so invested in his drawing. His notepad appeared to be full of many other drawings which made me wonder if he does this all day, switching from one train to the next and drawing all sorts of subjects. I would like to think that given how quickly he was sketching that he gave the drawing to her as she exited the train. But maybe that’s naive and he’s just creepy.
. . .
I am so thrilled to be here in Spain and I look forward to all of the new adventures and new people that I will encounter! Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to document both the larger accomplishments of the week and the smaller, more captivating moments.