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Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas break. I´m Paula, a former Emilio Ferrari student studying 1st Bachillerato in Nova Scotia, Canada thanks to one of Amancio Ortega´s scholarships.
A year ago, my English teacher told us about this wonderful opportunity. When I first heard of it, I thought it was something unreachable, but now, here I am! It´s been nearly four months since I came, and there´s not a single second I regret having applied for it! Last year, 200 scholarhips were given, 100 for Canada and 100 for USA. 6000 people applied for it. Crazy, isn´t it?
The students selection took two months, imagine two months of being nervous, hopeful and looking forward to hearing any news about it!
But finally that day came!! I can remember it like it was yesterday.
This year, a new edition of this scholarships has started. And if it wasn´t enough, this year scholarships have increased to… 500! 210 for Canada 210 for USA and 80 for students in Galicia (where Amancio Ortega is from).
The different stages you have to go through though, are the same. They look at your overall 3rd year ESO mark and English mark, your family income, you have to write an exam, and the last one is an interview.
For those ones who are interested on this, I´ll tell you some tips to take into account!
You don´t need to go like crazy looking for another place to study English besides school, our high school has a great English program.
Don´t get obsessed with it, you don´t need to study for any of the exams, just study hard during high school, so you have a good mark to apply for it! The only thing you can do is getting used to American accent listening to different things, because there´s a listening part in the exam. And for the interview, choose a topic that you know about, don´t try to impress them talking about something that might sound very fancy but you don´t know about, you don´t want to show them your capacity to memorize something, you want to show them your fluency! And if you get lost during your presentation, it is much easier to find what to say if you are talking about something familiar to you.
From here I encourage you guys to work really hard, and try this once in a life time opportunity, it is a wonderful experience! It is hard some times, being 5000 km from your family and friends is not easy, but trust me, it´s amazing!!
I can´t forget to wish good luck to the candidates that applied for 2016-2017 scholarships, they´re already in the last stage, the interview, you are almost there!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me, you can also check my blog, canadagetpreparedforme.wordpress.com I´ll try to update it this Christmas, I don´t have much time here!
Best wishes from Antigonish!
“-Miss, how did you get so good at Spanish? +Well, maybe because I’m the Spanish assistant.” After having had that conversation about a hundred times, I think that the pupils at my school now know who I am and what I’m doing here. It’s your turn!
When I finished high school, I didn’t know what to do with my life. Really. Not a clue. But then I realized I loved languages (especially English) so…I chose English Philology. Then I spent the next four years telling myself I didn’t want to become a teacher because I didn’t like teaching at all (or that was what I thought) but after giving some private English lessons (money doesn’t grow on trees, I had to do something to get it) I found out that I actually enjoyed it quite a lot.
That’s why, when I saw an offer for an assistant position at the Royal Hospital School, a boarding school an hour away from London, on the Eastern coast of England, I decided to apply for it, and…here I am! My job is basically to give speaking lessons to the students in Year 12 and 13 (Primero y Segundo de Bachillerato), but I also have to talk to small groups of pupils from all the other year groups. Oh, and I forgot to tell you; my name is Elena, but the students here call me “Miss Blanco” because they are not allowed to call their teachers by their name.
Since it’s a boarding school, everything here is a bit different. Apart from giving lessons, every teacher here has some duties at the boarding houses. If you don’t know what a boarding house is, just think about how the most famous boarding school in the world is divided into four houses… Yes, I’m talking about Hogwarts, and it’s basically the same here. Except for the magic, unfortunately.
The school has 10 houses. One of the things I like the most here is that, like in Harry Potter, I can give and take points from each house to punish or reward the pupils. There’s not a real house tournament and they just get Amazon vouchers at the end of the year if they have enough points, but I still like the system a lot.
I don’t often take points away, because students here are very polite. That’s another thing that I like, and it surprised me a lot, because, let’s be honest, my class wasn’t known for its good behaviour while I was at high school. These pupils greet me with a “Hi Miss” every time they see me around the school, open the door for me whenever they see me, and even thank me after finishing every lesson! Even if I have been torturing them with grammar for an hour, they still say “thank you, miss” before they walk away from the class.
I also love the fact that the school is very international. I have pupils from Germany, Italy, China, Russia, South Africa… Seeing how each of them learns Spanish in a different way is a very interesting experience, and apart from teaching them, I can also learn things from their cultures. It’s also very challenging, because some of them are here to improve their English, so imagine having to teach Spanish to someone who doesn’t know the language at all and is not really good at English either!
Another thing that I like is the importance given to languages here. There are two other assistants, French and German, because the school considers it very important for students to learn the language directly from natives.
Talking about languages, one of the things that surprised me the most is the way languages are taught. They put a lot of emphasis into speaking and actually practising the language, so British kids don’t really know anything about grammar (think about how much you hate analysing sentences in Spanish…they don’t know how to do that in their own language). They don’t even know how to distinguish verbs from adjectives, nouns…etc. That’s why it’s really complicated for them to fully understand how a different language works.
However, even though it’s really hard for them to learn a foreign language, people who choose to become language teachers have to know two foreign languages and be able to teach both of them. This was very surprising to me because in Spain teachers normally teach only one.
Since the educational system is very different, I was also amazed by the amount of work that pupils in Year 12 and 13 have. Here, they only have to choose three subjects for Year 12 and 13! Three subjects! Only three! And they still complain! I would love to see them studying in Spain… I still remember struggling to survive during Bachillerato as I had a lot more than three subjects!
It was a bit hard to get used to the life here at the beginning, but even though I miss the Spanish sun (do you think Valladolid is not really sunny? Live in England for a while and you’ll think twice about it) I really like this place and the relationship I have with my pupils.
I’m Nerea Gómez, a 22-year-old Spanish Language Assistant at a partially selective state school in a small town in Hertfordshire, England. I’m an English graduate from the University of Valladolid and a former IES Emilio Ferrari student.
Back in high school, language lessons were my favorite ones, but I would’ve never imagined that I would study English at college. And it would’ve never occurred to me that I would work as a Spanish Assistant! But, somehow, it should’ve come to my mind since I’ve always loved travelling, meeting people from other countries and learning languages.
Anyway, four years ago I ended up starting a degree in English and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made! However, when it came to an end, I had to decide what to do afterwards; I wondered, “Should I study for a Master? Should I start working? Do I want to be a teacher, a translator…?” I was clueless!
Before my final year at college ended, I heard about a scholarship the Spanish government grants to language graduates every year to work as Spanish Language Assistants in different parts of the world; I decided to give it a go and I got the scholarship! So, in September, I packed my suitcase and got ready to start my life after college.
Being a Language Assistant is a job with two stages: the student stage and the teacher one. During the student stage, I learnt how to teach Spanish by observing teachers teach; however, this stage does only last one month and then you’re thrown into the deep end of teaching. The teaching stage consists in instructing students on learning Spanish. I usually teach groups of three or four Sixth Form students (Bachillerato) at a time and I help them with the oral examinations they’ll take at the end of the year. Basically, the lessons are oral-based and consist of revising past papers which are very similar to the one at the end of the year.
Being surrounded by the English culture made me realize that visiting England and living here is a different matter. Once you are among English people, you start discovering English culture at a different level and many things surprised me which I didn’t even notice when I came here as a tourist:
- First of all, English manners. We all know English people are very polite, but they are even politer than what I thought. They do always say “thank you” even if you didn’t do anything for them and they would always offer you a cup of tea (or “cuppa tea” as they say here), regardless of the time of the day! One time I was waiting at the bank and I was offered a cup of tea!
- Secondly, I realized England is a very charitable society and there are charity shops everywhere. People bring their old stuff into the shops, the shops sell it at a very low price and the profits go entirely to UK charities.
- Third, I’ll give you a quick tip on how to spot a British person on the street: They are the only ones wearing T-shirts, skirts or shorts on the most freezing day of winter.
- Fourth, English people are always celebrating something. Right after Halloween was over, every Halloween decoration disappeared and was replaced by Christmas decorations and ornaments.
In addition, being in this country made me appreciate it even more and there are plenty of things that I love about it:
- The thing I absolutely love the most is the food! And I’m not talking about English food
but about food from all around the world. England is a multicultural society in which you can find worldwide delicious food at low prices!
- The second thing I love the most is Christmas in England, particularly in London. Every street and square is decorated with glittery, christmassy lights and ornaments and there are lots of Christmas markets where you can find lots of artisanal gifts and delicious food (right, food again).
- I also love living close to London. I was very lucky and the school I was sent to is located in the county immediately to the north of London, therefore I can be there in 20 minutes and enjoy it as many times as I want.
- And finally, I love being in a country full of history with so many historical and important towns and sites to discover and visit. Travelling around and learning about different places is one of my absolute favourite hobbies!
Travelling abroad is always a wonderful opportunity to get to know another culture, meet new people and of course one of the best ways to practice another language!
In the following collages make a guess to tell us where 3 and 4 level British and non-British students are! The more information you give us about the different places, the better!!!
Oh, well, no! We are not on holidays!
Don’t believe us? There’s a lot of hard work here! Look:
But to find a balance between work and culture is easy here…
We have visited historical and architectural treasures…
There’s some mystery and magic here…
And of course… a must in this country!
Our students wanted to say good bye to the European teachers showing them other aspects of the Spanish culture and more…
It’s nearly the end of The TC4PI (Teacher Competences for Plurilingual Integration) project we have been working on during the last three years and along this week students and teachers at Ferrari High School have been so lucky to work with teachers from The Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Turkey. All of them wonderful!
We would like to thank all of them for their great work and for being so interested in sharing good practices with us.
Here you have just an example of what our activities have been like.
And here you can see the ppt we prepared to explain the meaning of the different items to Alicja
And finally, our International team!
Summer holidays are coming to an end and we would like to welcome students and teachers to Emilio Ferrari High school!
And what a better way to show you what we do here than present our first activity in the Bilingual Program this year! An amazing trip to Richmond, Virginia.
15 students starting 4º ESO this year are travelling with their teachers from today to 29 September to hopefully have the times of their lives!
We will use the blog to show you what they are doing.
So far, look at their sad faces just before leaving Madrid in the airport!