Should I Move Abroad? First Thoughts, Things To Consider and Introduction

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Jasmin S.

Bienvenidos Chicos!

My first post...ahh! 

If you’re reading this, I assume you are interested – or perhaps skeptical – about the idea of living or teaching abroad and are doing some research to gauge what your experience may be like or what you could expect should you choose to make that leap! I’m super excited to share more about my experience here in Spain in the upcoming blogs. While I cannot tell you what to do, I can provide you with some insight based on my personal experiences and reflections, which can hopefully help you decide on your next steps 😊!

An image of a young black woman standing in front of a building in madrid

Umm…Ok……Who are you again?

My name is Jasmin, and my story – which I will try to make very brief – begins in East London, where I was born and raised. I lived there up until the age of 18, before setting sail for Southampton to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management and French. Originally, I believed I would be a corporate girly, but by the end of my course, and after many hours of battling with French grammar and its many tenses and moods, I concluded that I was actually passionate about language learning and travel.

In September of 2022, I chose to do a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at University College London, where I became a qualified modern foreign languages teacher. During this time, however, while my peers were applying for jobs in their local areas, I couldn’t help but feel ‘trapped’ – I was afraid of falling into a comfortable and ‘safe’ routine before ever achieving my dream of living abroad and experiencing something completely new – a dream that was temporarily crushed two years prior when my study abroad year in Marseille was cancelled due to COVID.

I did some research into teaching abroad opportunities in Europe (I did not want to move too far from home), came across CIEE’s Madrid program, figured that Spanish couldn’t be that difficult to learn since I could already speak French (boy was I DELUSIONAL….but that’s for another post)….and the rest is history!

First Thoughts: Was Moving Abroad Worth It?

On the 1st of September 2023, I moved to Getafe – a town in the southern part of Madrid, where I now live and teach at a local secondary school. Throughout my time here, I have met fabulous people, made great friends, tried different types of amazing food (another blog post coming up), and explored new hobbies (I accidentally became a DJ…again, this is a story for my upcoming posts)!

I have learned so much about myself and other people, significantly improved my Spanish, and had the privilege of exploring other Spanish cities! Though there have definitely been moments of contemplation, homesickness, and confusion (specifically the type that arises during your quarter-life crisis), I can confidently say that this has been one of the best experiences/years of my life so far, and there is certainly no regret.

image of madrid landscape


Okay Jasmin, that’s nice….so should I move abroad or not?

Well, essentially, it depends.

This first post is long enough, so I will leave you with two questions to think about 😊

  1. What are your goals? I moved because I was passionate about learning Spanish (still on the road to fluency!) and had the goal of improving my Spanish and immersing myself in a different cultural environment. If you are not actually too keen on or comfortable with putting yourself in a completely different environment or trying to navigate Spanish culture and ‘modo de vida’, perhaps this experience is not for you.
  2. Can you see yourself teaching? CIEE’s program, like many other teach abroad programs, is not a ‘holiday’ – you will have to work on a full-time/almost full-time basis and will be required to interact with and care for children and young people. I knew what I was getting into, so it came as no surprise when I found myself planning lesson activities and managing behaviour within the classroom. It’s important to be honest with yourself, as perhaps you may prefer an alternative option which doesn’t require teaching (no judgment from me)!

    Bonus Question: Would you regret not giving it a go?

    Me walking through Sol

    I knew I would deeply regret not giving life abroad a shot, so I went for it despite the homesickness and discomfort that I knew I was bound to feel later on. I can say that this has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in my 20-something years of existence! If you're interested in learning Spanish, teaching English, and exploring new cultures (Madrid is very diverse), I highly suggest you give this opportunity a chance. However, I am in full support of you doing whatever feels right for you <3

    In my next blog post, I’ll be discussing things I wish I knew before I moved to Madrid. Hope to see you on the other side!

    If you have any further questions about moving abroad, or things you'd like to know about my experience, feel free to leave a comment and I will respond as soon as possible! :) 

    Hasta la próxima <3