¡Nos Vemos Pronto, Madrid!
Hello everyone! My name is Sophia Cox. I am from Chicago, Illinois. During my time at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I studied Psychology and Digital Studies. Up until December of 2022, my life was perfectly mapped out. I would graduate with my Bachelors, take a gap year to regroup and travel, then graduate school for counseling and there you go, a nice little life plan. Oh, and all of this within the midwest, of course. It was a safe plan. It was predictable. It made sense for me and it didn’t require much thought.
So, as one does, I followed through! I got my bachelors degree, I took my gap year. During that year, I moved in with a relative in Drammen, Norway, and spent three months exploring Norway and taking trips to London, Amsterdam, and Florence. It was the most beautiful and invigorating experience I have ever had. I met the nicest people from all over the world and saw sights that brought tears to my eyes. I ate reindeer and rode snowmobiles with the Samí people of northern Norway, I went out dancing with new friends in Amsterdam, got lost on the tube in London, and I even got to wear a Bunad (A traditional Norwegian dress) in Norway for their independence day, Syttende Mai. I laughed a lot, learned a lot, and challenged myself and the limitations I created for myself. I never felt more alive, or more connected to myself and the world around me.
Suddenly, it was time for grad school. I began my classes, met my peers, and settled into the reality that I created. With such a clear path, you’d think things would feel clear and simple, but my head had never felt more foggy. In the midst of another brutal Chicago winter, I realized that I was not happy, and what I was working towards didn’t inspire me or fulfill my passions. What I had planned for myself no longer aligned with who I wanted to be. So, I tried to remember the last time I felt truly alive, and what inspires me. I bet you can guess the answer. Though the thought of derailing my life felt terrifying, I knew where I was wasn’t going to work for me anymore. And if nothing changes, nothing changes!
It started with a simple search, “ways to make money living abroad”. Teaching English abroad was one of the options that caught my eye. After working in preschools and as a nanny for years, it seemed like a natural fit to work with kids in some way. I spent some time researching the different programs, and CIEE was the most suitable choice for me with their TEFL course and visa assistance and a guaranteed placement in the community of Madrid.
Knowing next to nothing about Madrid, and having forgotten most of my high school level Spanish, I did it. I applied, I took the TEFL course, and I crossed the threshold into my new life. Now, here I sit. I leave for Madrid in three weeks!
I have no idea what is in store for me, or what challenges lie on the horizon, but I know that it won’t be predictable, and it definitely won’t be boring. I am ready to face those challenges with an open mind and heart, knowing that it is all worth it to experience the world and grow as a person, and most importantly, to feel alive again.
I’m so excited to share my experience with you and see where this adventure takes us.
So… ¡Nos vemos pronto, Madrid!
As I sit on the train on my way to my first day of school, I share some reflections on my first week as an Aux in Madrid.