If you are here at this page, more than likely you are thinking about or have already been placed in Catalonia as a language assistant. Do not panic. You are very lucky because here in Catalonia they don’t disappoint.
My name is Chad Green and I have been living in Catalonia for almost four years now as an English language assistant. I am originally from Chicago and moved here for a change of life and pace. The time has passed very fast and I have had the joy of living in two different cities while living here as well as working in both primary and secondary institutions. Both come with challenges, but the payoff is worth it.
My first two years were spent teaching primary school in Girona city, Escola Verd and then Escola Pla. I cannot stress enough what an amazing experience it was working with primary students and with primary teachers. All of the different holidays, culture activities, and interesting CLIL classes you can be a part of are fantastic. You make amazing connections and really feel the warmth of the people here. Even though I was a temporary teacher, I was treated like I was a long time member of the school. Both the teachers and students were so welcoming. There are days in primary where things can be very chaotic especially if students cannot go outside because of rain, but you find a way to keep the students and yourself entertained. Girona is an amazing town that I have amazing memories of and visit as often as I can. Girona M’enamora
My last two years were spent in high schools, La Llauna and Zafra which are located near and in Barcelona respectively. I was nervous. Teenagers have always been an age group that was challenging for me connection wise. It actually turned out to be a great experience. The conversations and topics you can cover with students at this level are refreshing. They are usually eager to talk to a person from abroad and understand why someone would move here. I was able to make a real connection with my students and encourage them to continue with their English studies. As well, living in Barcelona has been a dream come true. City life is something I love and being from Chicago, Barcelona reminds me a lot of home.
The people here are bilingual 100%. I have improved my Spanish while also learning Catalan. Do yourself a favor and try to learn the local language. The locals appreciate it and also it is a great way to really dive into the culture and meet people. Si no sabia una palabra en catalan o como decir algo, no hay problema. Cambiarían a español. Tambe, quan trobeu algu de Catalunya i senten un estranger que parla catala, la mirada a la cara us fa sentir be.
Long story short, you are lucky. Catalonia is full of rich and beautiful history, culture, and nature. I have rode roller coasters, gone cliff diving, ran through fire during Correfocs, watched human towers scale cathedral stairs, eaten long onions at a calcotada, explored Roman ruins, looked at the amazing art of both Dali and Gaudi, traversed amazing trails along the sea, looked out over the plain from the snowy tops of mountains, and so so much more. I am hoping to make this place home and look forward to the new adventures I will have.
Fins ara 🙂