Thursday, June 2, 2011

My placement!

So, obviously I'm not leaving for a couple of months, but I wanted to get a start on the blog anyway. I finally got my placement letter in the mail! I was starting to freak out, since it can take 3 months to get a visa and I now only have 4 months until I leave, but it finally came. Then I bought a 1-way ticket to Madrid for the end of September, and am currently in the process of getting my background check apostilled, and making a visa appointment. This stuff is sooooo time consuming! WIthout the help of other auxiliares blogs from previous years, I never would have found any of the forms I need. 
Anyway, here's just an overview of why I decided to do this, where I'll be, and what i'll be doing. To be honest, I'm not really sure what exactly I'll be doing yet, so I'll describe it better once I start working. But here ya go for starters.
Why Spain?
In high school I decided that I wanted to be fluent in Spanish, yet I had no idea of how I would make that happen or what I would do once i was "fluent". I studied abroad in Granada for a semester my junior year of college, and absolutely fell in love with Spain. So then, when my senior year rolled around, with still absolutely no idea of a career in mind, I jumped at the chance to go back and work in Spain for a year. So here I am, 9 months later, with a 1-way ticket to Madrid in hand. Scary. 
The city
 I will officially be working in Algeciras, Spain as of October 3rd, 2011. The modern day city was founded in the 1700's, although people have lived in that area for thousands of years. Algeciras is the 16th busiest port city in the world, according to wikipedia, and because of this is very industrialized and gritty. This seems to be the general consensus of people who have visited Algeciras:
"To be honest, this is not the most visually pleasing city that you can visit while on vacation, but it offers lots and lots of quality and inexpensive services. It has a unique and wonderful personality; it is one of those cities that will offer you an amazing time, a time that cannot be experienced elsewhere. The town features excellent restaurants, bars and other services. It also offers amazing views, nice parks and quality plazas." -- bellsmith's blog
Not exactly the type of place I was hoping for, but it will be an amazing experience nonetheless. The city is only a half hour drive from Gibraltar, a 3 hour drive from the border with Portugal, and is also the ferry port linking Spain and Africa.
The job
The school I'll be working at is I.E.S. Bahía de Algeciras, which means 'Bay of Algeciras'. I'll be working as a language and culture assistant, or auxiliar de conversación. Basically, my job will be to help the teachers teach various classes in English, and then to help the students with their grammar, pronunciation, etc. I'll only be working 12-15 hours a week, with 3 day weekends. I have yet to determine which grades I will be working with, since the school's website doesn't really make that clear. But I signed up to work with elementary-aged kids so hopefully that's what it will be!,_Language_and_Culture_Assistants_in_Spain_Survival_Guide

Check out this link if you're interested for more details than I can explain off the top of my head :)
This is the bay of Algeciras (Bahía de Algeciras).
Algeciras is on the right, and the rock on the far left is Gibraltar.

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