Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because I felt that RVF International really had my best interests in mind.
They made everything seem so personal, and it really made this huge leap of faith a lot less stressful. They explained that they would assist with every step of the way to get to Spain, and they did exactly that. They not only provided me with so many resources and so much guidance, but they were also there at a drop of a hat to answer any and all of my questions.
I am very pleased with my decision.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Where do I begin? There was just so much assistance along this journey to living and working in Spain. I guess I could start from the beginning.
RVF International helped me complete the application and registration paperwork, which is mostly in Spanish so having them assist me with everything to fill out was such a HUGE help. They let me know where to go to get the background check, the fingerprints, where to send all of the paperwork. They provided a step-by-step guide on how to fill everything out, but it was up to me to actually fill it out.
After the application was submitted, we began the Visa process. Very similar to the application and registration process. RVF International provided a guide and step-by-step form to obtain and fill out all of the necessary paperwork needed for the Visa appointment. RVF took the responsibility of scheduling the appointment for me, which was awesome.
After the visa was said and done, we began to prepare for my departure. RVF sent me numerous notes and ideas for things to pack, what to expect, and how to handle my first couple weeks in this foreign land. When it came to housing, RVF sent me a list of websites that Spain uses for renting apartments. It was really helpful, and the first place I went to go see, I ended up renting! (By the way, Google Translator became my best friend when I was house hunting).
The long term residency was up next and just like the visa, RVF scheduled this appointment for me gave me a list of everything I would need for this appointment, and let me know where to get all this new paperwork and how to fill everything out.
They really helped me with every step of the way during this journey, and I couldn't be more grateful.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Utilize Facebook groups to find other English teachers around you. I am in a small town and the only English teacher in my town. Thankfully I was able to find another English teacher in the town right next to mine via a Facebook group and we now hang out every weekend!
Don't be shy to reach out to people. Be prepared for the culture shock. If the going gets tough, just keep reminding yourself why you wanted to come to Spain in the first place and stay focused on that. Take advantage of all of the 3-day weekends!
Also, be prepared for the cold winters. Many rooms/apartments don't have central heating and it does get really cold at night!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
For each participant, it will vary. For me though, I work 16 hours Monday-Thursday. Monday I go from 9-2. Tuesdays and Thursdays I go from 9-12:30. And Wednesdays I go from 9-1.
Each day after work, I either take a walk along the beach or lie down for a little siesta (I don't know when I'll ever have this much free time again, so fully taking advantage of it). During the evenings, I keep busy with my side online job. I then prepare dinner and watch Netflix to end the night. (I'm trying to incorporate practicing Spanish more!) Then I have my 3 day weekends to relax some more and take either some fun day trips or quick weekend get-a-ways!
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was the language barrier. And to be honest, it still scares me a little.
I came to Spain not knowing any Spanish, and it has been hard at times, but I have been able to work my way through every struggle and obstacle. Like I said earlier, Google Translator has become my best friend while I've been out here.
I now know that I shouldn't be afraid of trying to speak Spanish. It won't be the prettiest, I can guarantee that, but there is no better way to learn and overcome these fears than by practicing and gaining confidence that I can do it.
What was one of your favorite things to do while abroad?
One of my favorite things to do in my town is to explore the castle. It has so much history, and Game of Thrones filmed some of their episodes there!
There are so many castles throughout Spain, it's amazing. So much history and so much beauty.
I also love how there are palm trees everywhere. It makes life so much more beautiful!