Alumni Spotlight: Alyssa Chamberlain

Small town girl with the dream to see it all. Traveling slowly experiencing life as a local as best as she can.

Why did you choose this program?

Initially, the short & guaranteed hours, four day work weeks, as well as the in country support system were huge factors in choosing ConversaSpain. Having the option to come to Murcia was huge for me as I had previously lived in Alicante and wanted to be close to the sea. I was a bit skeptical because of the lack of online reviews about the program but in the end I am so pleased with my decision.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Before arriving, they sent many different files on how to apply for the visa, but the rest was up to you to get done. Then, upon arrival, they sent guides on how to get your police check, bank account set up, but again, it was all up to you to accomplish. Any questions were quickly answered and they also set up a group chat with other Language Assistant, which helped learn about other people's experiences upon arrival.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Bring money for the first few weeks to get your apartment set up and to have for the first month of the program because you'll only be paid at the end of the first month. I worked hard the few months before arriving so I'd have a nice base to start off with and be able to travel over the Christmas & Easter breaks.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I worked pretty much 9-2 Monday to Thursday with a few random hours off during the day. It took me half an hour to get to and from my schools. While in the schools, I did the daily introductions in every class and helped out with readings in the workbooks. Often times I read out of the textbooks so the kids would get used to listening to different accents, and sometimes worked one on one or in small groups with kids who were at different levels than the rest of the class.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was unsure how much we would actually be in charge of in the classroom. I had a bit of experience in classes and loads working with kids, but controlling a whole class is a bit different. The teacher in the school were always in the class with me, but have given me the opportunity to be completely independent if I'm feeling comfortable, and step in when they see the kids are understanding completely.

What made this trip meaningful to you?

Seeing the kids grasp new ideas and rules in English was so rewarding. While they aren't always speaking perfectly, it's great to see them trying and becoming more confident in themselves.

Also it was an amazing learning experience for myself. I have always had an interest in teaching English or working with kids, but even for those who don't will benefit from this experience.