Alumni Spotlight: Faith Lindsay

Faith had the wonderful opportunity to travel with CE to Spain between Jan-May 2013. She graduated from Butler University in 2012 with a Biology major and a Spanish minor. She wasn't ready to go to grad school quite yet so decided to take a gap year. She had a great desire to see another culture and improve her Spanish because she knew she would lose it if she didn't use it! As a Tennessee native, she currently attends East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and misses the non-stressful, relaxing times in Europe.

Faith at a Soccer game

Why did you decide to go abroad with Cultural Embrace?

Faith: I had done quite a bit of research before deciding to travel with CE because I wanted an experienced agency that would provide the insurance I needed and communicated quickly. I considered traveling without an agency, but I am glad that I did not. My host family was wonderful but if there had been a problem, I know CE would have helped me fix it immediately. When I was not even committed to the program yet, the coordinator answered my enormous amount of questions thoroughly and by the next day. They were extremely nice and wanted to make sure I was completely comfortable with the entire process of traveling abroad.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home

Faith: I could write pages on this question! Catalonia has a massive amount of festivals throughout the year. One very popular tradition for Catalonians is castelling (not sure if that’s the correct verb). The castellers range in ages 6-50ish years old and form an elaborate human tower. A native, who happened to be the swim teacher at the local gym, explained how the seemingly disorganized base of people holding the human tower was actually extremely well planned. Considering the tower went up a few stories high, I was happy to hear that it was relatively safe! As the tower grew, the castellers got younger and their climbing ability increased. The talented, fearless and helmet clad 6 year old children climbed up their casteller friends to sit atop the tower and wave to the crowd. This was a local performance, so fortunately, I was able to walk to the square from my flat.

What did CE do for you and what did you need to do on your own?

Faith: CE helped me organize all the paperwork I needed abroad. I had insurance through the agency and was able to get an international student card. I gave them preferences on ages of kids I would like to teach, an area of Spain I was interested in, and the type of city I liked. They took all that information and found a family that worked out fabulously. CE was not in direct contact with other European au pair agencies that placed girls in Spain, but suggested that I look for a facebook page of au pairs once I arrived. Doing that, I immediately found 12 other au pairs in my town who I spent much of my free time with. With the help of my host family and the au pairs, I found other activities to be involved with in Catalonia including language exchanges, volunteer work, the local gym, and teaching private English lessons.

Faith and friends particpating at Carnivale

What did CE do for you and what did you need to do on your own?

Faith: Get involved! You may be completely out of your comfort zone but put yourself out there and make the most of your experience. Go to the local festivals, read about the current news in your city, meet the local people, and take some weekend trips if you have the opportunity. CE does a wonderful job pairing you with a family, but make sure that your family is willing to teach you Spanish when you are not teaching the children English. Without doing so, you could have the same experience taking care of children in the US. So, in conclusion, learn the language and be involved!