A few days ago, applicants for the North American Language and Culture Assistant program began to receive their regional placements. Renewal applicants have been the only ones to receive their placements so far though. Once they are all placed, first year applicants will begin to get theirs, which the website states will start in early May. I’m just anxiously awaiting my placement, even though it’s still at least a few weeks off. However, I’ve been doing a number of things to keep myself busy while trying to patiently wait for my placement email to come.
Checking the Facebook group. The Facebook group for 2013-2014 North American Language and Culture Assistants has been a godsend. It’s a mix of past, present, and future English teachers in Spain. Not only is it a great way to get your questions answered, but it is also comforting to find out that plenty of others have the same questions, concerns, and worries as you.
Reading fellow travel blogs. Naturally, I’ve been tons of travel blogs. Ever since I returned from studying abroad, I’ve been reading numerous travel blogs on and off. Once I started looking into teaching abroad and then eventually deciding to teach abroad, I’ve tried to gain as much knowledge as possible about the program in Spain, even though I know that everyone’s experience is different. There have been numerous travel blogs and bloggers which have helped me along the way, and I truly cannot thank them enough! Everyone I’ve met in the travel blog community so far has been incredibly friendly and helpful. Meeting these people from all over the world, even if just through the internet, has made me further realize that there are truly an incredible number of wonderful and caring people out there in this world who honestly want to help others.
Working. I’m continuing to work at my job, so I can make some money before leaving for Spain, especially since I’m making more money there than I will be in Spain and the money I save now will help for when I’m over there. That’s basically it. I mean it’s a job, that’s providing an income for now, obviously not something I want to do for the rest of my life.
Exploring Spain on Google Maps. Nerdy as it sounds, I find myself “walking” around and exploring Spain on Google Maps street view. I know it’s lame, but I continually find myself discovering new cities and sites in Spain. I cannot wait to be there. Plus, I simply enjoy the design of Spanish cities better than American ones.
Running a marathon. That’s right. I’ve signed up to do a marathon in early summer. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and something I feel ready to do now. I’ve been running a lot lately training for it and not only is it good exercise, but it’s somewhat relaxing and therapeutic. I’m able to think and contemplate during my runs, particularly the longer ones. Plus, who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing an organized run in Spain. It seems like it could be an interesting experience and a way to connect with other Spaniards too.
Brushing up on my Spanish. I’ve been fine tuning my Spanish skills because let’s just say that they need work. Major work. Listening to podcasts, watching movies, jamming to Spanish music, and reading Spanish books are just some of the things I’m doing to sharpen my Spanish. My goal is to become much more fluent, or at least close, by the time I am done in Spain. The fact that Spain isn’t an English speaking country was one of the reasons I chose to study abroad there in college and one of the reasons I am choosing to teach there.
Spending time with friends and family. This is something that is basically a no-brainer. My friends and family will all be staying in the United States, while I move forward into this great adventure. I know I will miss them, but they have all been very supportive of me…for the most part. There are always the “you should stay at your secure, stable job” ones, but that’s another story. When I studied abroad, I found myself missing my friends from home, but realizing that not too much changed when I got back except for me because I just had a wonderful, grand experience. I know for a fact that this experience will significantly change me, and everyone I have talked to that has taught abroad has told me that it’s been a great experience and they do not regret doing it.
Essentially what I’m trying to say is that I will be spending time with family and friends before I go. I will miss them, but know that they (mostly) support my decision. However, they will be here when I get back. Sure I will be missing out on some nights out, engagements, weddings, and other fun times. However, I do not anticipate regretting my decision to teach abroad.
Trying to figure things out with my relationship. I will start this off saying that I’m not too fond of people online talking a lot about their relationships, but in keeping with my theme of being open and honest with everything on my blog, this needs to be said. Currently, I’m in a relationship and have been for about the past 3 years. Marriage has been talked about in the past. We both graduated college about 2 years ago. Ever since we began dating our senior years in college I’ve expressed on and off interest in teaching abroad, but always said that I’ve wanted to live abroad at some point in my life.
When I got a job right out of college, I decided to go that route instead of teaching English in a foreign country. After a year of working (one year ago) I expressed interest in wanting to teach abroad to which she responded that “we were past that time in our lives.” This did not sit to well with me, but since I did have a stable, secure, and high paying job I chose to stick it out another year in hopes that it improved. Needless to say, it did not.
We talked about how I wanted to teach abroad, she said that she would be willing to do it with me, but that she wanted to get married first. Mind you, she wants a big wedding, so it wouldn’t be a small, simple ceremony. Anyways, I decided to apply to teach for next year because the application was free and non-committal, so if I did chose not to do it I could just tell the Spanish government “no.”
Anyways, we are still in a relationship and together; however, teaching in Spain is something that I really want to do – now. Since I applied, I’ve been trying to figure out whether I want to be in the relationship or teach abroad because that was the ultimatum she gave me. Maybe it’s my naïveté, but I’ve always felt as though if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, and things will happen that are meant to. I also know that if I never do this, I will regret not doing it, and I do not want to live with that regret. I also know that if I stay, I will resent her for not deciding to go. Basically, that’s the short version of me trying to figure out teaching abroad and my relationship. Any advice, thoughts, questions, or concerns are welcome about this topic. Feel free to comment or contact me about it.
While I await my placement, which should arrive in about a 2 weeks to a month, these are kinds of things I’ve been doing in preparation for and anticipation of teaching in Spain.
What sorts of things do you do while you await a large trip? What would you add to may list? Have you had relationship issues caused by long-term travel? How did you handle it?