Originally from Oregon, Nicole has spent seven years living, studying, and working in Norway and recently moved to Spain to experience a new country. She now enjoys helping students come to Spain and embark on cultural and language experiences that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
What is your favorite travel memory?
One of my favorite travel memories was my first trip to Spain. I had heard so many stories from my friends about how nice the city of Barcelona was and how nice the beaches are here. My first trip was to Madrid and the Basque country so I did not know what to expect. I ended up being blown away!
Madrid offers everything a big capital city offers without being as overwhelming and crowded as New York or London. The landscapes and cultural traditions of the Basque were so beautiful, and I was even lucky enough to participate in the local festival wearing the regional dress. These first memories of Spain are something I will carry with me forever, and I enjoy making it possible for other people to experience the same.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I’ve had many jobs where I just followed a routine where the daily tasks were basically the same. This company is about taking initiative, being creative, and finding innovative solutions to help our students and develop the school. I also love that, through my work, I am able to help young people from all parts of the world begin the same amazing journey abroad that I have been so lucky to have.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We have had multiple students returning to Spain from their home countries either to re-enroll and learn even more Spanish, or to visit their host families and friends they met while living here. Even in one instance, there was a student that had passed the DELE exam after taking our DELE preparation course. This certification enabled that student to qualify for many jobs in Spain. A year after he had passed his exam, this student was able to move back to Spain after receiving a job offer just outside of Madrid.
It’s always very rewarding to see students inspired by learning a new language and how it can lead to many doors opening for them in their future.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
This is a hard question because I would love to enroll in all of our programs. However, I think that I would combine my general Spanish course with an au pair placement. This combination would allow me to learn at school during the day, receive extra immersion with the host family and kids, along with free accommodation and a nice allowance. This has been a popular program for our school for those reasons, but also because of the flexibility of the program compared to other au pair placement programs in Spain. Our students are able to choose what kind of au pair they would like to be and interview with several different families.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I think that the programs we offer are especially unique because the students can tailor-make their own language and cultural experience in Spain. Not only do we offer a variety of Spanish courses, but the opportunity to combine those Spanish courses with host family placement, au pairing, service learning, or to take part in various cultural activities in the capital of the country. These aspects give our students the opportunity to learn in an incredibly immersive way and to make connections with natives that they would otherwise not be able to make.
Our marketing and student advisor team is comprised of a wide mix of internationals that can provide information and support in eight different languages, which can be very reassuring for young students who are maybe leaving their home countries for the first time. I’m always really proud of the members of my team helping and providing advice for people from their home country. In addition, our students come from all over the world to Madrid to learn Spanish so they will have the opportunity not just to make Spanish friends, but international friends as well.
All of our programs are designed for students who want to learn Spanish in an immersive environment enriched with cultural activities. Aside from offering general Spanish courses, we offer language exam preparation programs for students wanting to use Spanish in their educational and professional careers. Overall, I believe that our school provides a platform for anyone wanting to come to Spain to learn the language and the Spanish way of life through an immersive environment.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think the success of any company, school, or enterprise is reflected in the level of satisfaction of their customers and staff. Specifically for our school, we measure our success by how happy our students and staff are, how much they learn, and how much they benefit from their experience in Spain. Our school always provides extra support to help enforce those dimensions and make sure that all of our students and staff are happy.