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!