Archivo de la etiqueta: Janine

Bye For Now, Villanueva! – Janine

And… I just finished my last full day of classes! I can’t believe that this summer has gone so quickly. The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me and also pretty amazing. Tomorrow I have three more classes and then I am completely done teaching! On Saturday, I fly back to the United States for a couple more days of summer with my family and then it’s back to Oberlin College for me. It’s been hard work, but so rewarding to watch my students become better English speakers this summer! As my students have learned more English, I also have learned lots about how to plan lessons, manage a classroom, and answer questions. I also have definitely learned lots of new Spanish words, which is exciting. A huge thank you to my host family and all of my students this summer! It has been a pleasure getting to know you all!
During the break from classes at the end of July and the beginning of August, I left Villanueva to take a trip with my mom to Amsterdam. The beginning of the trip was a bit stressful. When I arrived at Atocha station, there was a taxi strike and it was a hard to find a way to the airport! Thankfully I found a 24 hour airport bus and I made my flight in time. My mom and I tried to do as much sight-seeing as possible in six days. We saw so many beautiful places, but my favorite part of the trip was going to a cat sanctuary on a boat in one of the canals, called De Poezenboot. At least 15 cats live on the boat, and people can come visit them every day and adopt them! I also enjoyed Amsterdam’s cheese and some world famous Dutch pancakes. After traveling with my mom, I also had the opportunity to stay with my good friend Emily and her family who live near Hannover, Germany. Emily was an exchange student at my high school, and I was thrilled to have the chance to see her again! Emily and I were pretty lazy, and we spent a lot of time sleeping and watching Dan & Phil videos on YouTube. I also ate a lot of delicious German bread and some fantastic cherry crepes.
When I returned to Villanueva, I was the only summer intern left in town! It was a change of pace to teach and plan classes by myself, but it was also lots of fun planning lessons. I’m thinking about becoming a teacher after college, and it was good practice to teach six classes a day. It’s been interesting teaching such a wide age range of students, from little kids to college students. I also took a short one day trip to Seville to see some of the more famous sights, such as the Plaza de España and the cathedral. Seville is an absolutely gorgeous city.
Although I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family in the United States, I am so glad I came to Villanueva this summer! Hopefully someday I’ll be able to come visit!
Good luck on your exams!

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Villanueva in July and More – Janine

Hello all!
Things are starting to wind down in preparation for the feria, and the other interns are trickling out of Villanueva. Libby and I are the only interns still in Villanueva hanging out in the Academia today, and it seems more quiet than usual. Tomorrow I head out of Villanueva for the break to do some traveling with my mom in Amsterdam, and then I’ll be back in August for a couple more weeks of classes!
I am shocked at how quickly the last month has gone… Time flies when you’re having fun! At the Academia, classes have continued to be busy and engaging. My students have become more comfortable with their use of English, even if they are sometimes rather reluctant to speak out loud. I understand the nervousness that accompanies using a second language- when I speak Spanish it is very apparent that I am speaking with an American accent, and there are plenty of times when I am not 100% sure what is being said in a conversation. One of my classes finds my co-teacher Maya’s inability to roll her r’s hilarious. I suffer from the same inability to distinguish my pronunciation of pero and perro. Still, it has been great to slowly understand more Spanish as my students are also improving their English skills! I still am sometimes shocked when I realize I am understanding and listening to a conversation in Spanish. We also have added a couple new games to the mix in classes. My favorite game involves choosing three categories (like entertainment, money, and travel, for example) and then choosing one letter. Then everyone has to think of words that fit within the categories that all start with that same letter!
These past couple weekends have been relaxing and also fun. A couple weekends ago, I took a trip to Málaga for a beach day with Libby and my friend Emma. As someone from the Great Lakes, it still seems weird to me to be surrounded by salt water. The beaches in Málaga are super busy, but they are also perfect for a lazy Saturday! The next weekend, I spent some time in Pozoblanco in the morning with Maya and Libby. It is very similar to Villanueva, except a bit bigger! Pozoblanco’s main street is beautiful and full of restaurants, and there are lots of cute shops. That night, I experienced the Spanish summer tradition, el botellón, in Villanueva with Luna, Libby’s host sister, and some other interns. El botellón is not like anything I have ever seen in the States. People park their cars, blast music, and drink on the street. It was super strange to see my students there! I truly do not understand how Spaniards can stay out so late. When I asked my students about el botellón during the feria, they said they stay out until 7:00 am. If I tried to stay out this late, I would probably die. Sleep is important! Hopefully everyone has plenty of opportunities to sleep during the day while the feria is happening!

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Life in Villanueva – Janine

It’s been a super busy time in Villanueva! After intensive courses started, I’ve been teaching a least a couple classes everyday. It’s been great getting to know my students and learning to teach lots of different age levels, from younger children all the way to college students and adults. Slowly my students have been gaining confidence in their speaking abilities, and I enjoy seeing my students become more comfortable using English in the classroom. Sometimes, though, my instructions in English are hard for students to understand, which can lead to me speaking in my often confusing Spanish. I’m always super happy when, after a mixture of some interesting Spanglish, everyone understands what is going on in the classroom. I also find it hilarious how much all of my students love games, regardless of their ages. The 8-year-olds I teach love playing hangman just as much as the college students! Games definitely make the classroom more fun and less intimidating, and I hope to think of some interesting games to incorporate in lesson plans in the coming weeks.
When I’m not teaching, I’ve had plenty to do in Villanueva and around Spain! I went to Madrid a couple weekends ago for World Pride, which was a great experience. Madrid was absolutely packed with people, and it was amazing to see so many people from different places all celebrating together. Madrid is a beautiful city, even though it also feels a bit crazy. I’ve never been to New York City, but I imagine Madrid feels similar in a lot of ways to NYC. There were so many different types of people and so many giant stores lining the streets of Madrid. I stayed in an apartment near Callao with some of the other interns from Academia Manhattan, and the apartment was pretty classy. I also ate some really good Mexican food that weekend! Overall, I’m glad I was able to experience Madrid during World Pride, despite the craziness!
This past weekend, I went to see Córdoba, which was also interesting. Córdoba feels ancient, which is a feeling I never get from cities in the United States. I saw a bridge that the Romans built, which is still standing today! Córdoba definitely has a lot of history and I was happy to experience it, even just for a day. I also went to a concert from the guitar festival. I’ve never really heard flamenco style music before, and it was special for me to experience it first-hand.  It was also fun to visit Córdoba with Catherine and Libby, two other interns, who spent their past semester studying in Córdoba. I (and all of the other interns!) appreciated their knowledge of the city and their skills as guides for the weekend.
That’s all for now!

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Villanueva & More – Janine

Hey guys,
I’ve been in Spain for a little over a week now, and I’m starting to get used to living in Villanueva and working at Academia Manhattan! Villanueva is pretty different from my hometown, Ann Arbor, and it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting used to living here. Something that’s super different is the fact that mealtimes are so much later here than in the United States. At home, I normally eat lunch around 12:00 p.m. and dinner around 6:00 p.m. Here, lunch is at 2:00 p.m. and my host family often eats dinner 11:00 p.m., which is basically my bed time! It seems to me that people in Spain never sleep. I’ve also been getting used to living with my host family. Even though we sometimes have a hard time communicating because of my minimal Spanish skills, my host family is super nice and have been feeding me some wonderful food. I am especially a fan of the Spanish tortilla! They also have a super cute little dog who loves to follow me around the house.
Walking around Villanueva with my host mom and dad is funny because they seem to know the entire town and say hi to almost everyone we pass. Something else that is also startling to me about Villanueva is how easy it is to walk everywhere. This is super different from Ann Arbor, Michigan; last summer I worked at a pool and I had to drive 20 minutes every day to get to work. Here, my host family’s house is a 5 to 10 minute walk from Academia Manhattan, which is super convenient. Something that I have found not so convenient about Villanueva is the “siesta.” I have very conflicted feelings about a town-wide nap time. One on hand, I love sleeping. Who am I to complain about being given time to sleep in the middle of the day? On the other hand, it is super annoying to me that EVERYTHING closes. It is impossible to do anything in the middle of the day, which is strange to me. In Michigan, we have a grocery store called Meijer’s, which is open 24 hours a day for 363 days a year (the store closes on Christmas and Easter).
My first full weekend here, I also went on a trip with some of the other interns, Giulia and Maya! We went to Málaga for the day to go to the beach, where I had one of the most delicious burgers I have ever eaten. In the evening, we took a bus to Granada, which I would classify as an extremely beautiful city. The streets were full of delicious tapas and the view of the Alhambra at night was stunning. We also took a tour of the Alhambra the next morning; it was amazing to see such an old piece of architecture that is still standing.
I’m looking forward to exploring Spain and working more with students in the coming weeks!

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