Auxiliar Spotlight: Expectations is a series of interviews with fellow auxiliares. The interviews will be about the auxiliar’s expectations of the program and his or her expectations of the experience in Spain. At the end of the academic year the same participants will do a follow up interview to reflect on his or her experience and to summarize how accurate previous expectations were and final thoughts on the program. Be sure to follow along!
Next up is Shannon.
My name’s Shannon McGuire. I graduated this past May from Florida State University with a major in Economics and minor in Spanish. I got my first taste of world travel after spending a semester interning in the Amazon in Iquitos, Peru [cue sloth photo above]. I loved living in a rich culture and learning from those around me who had completely different backgrounds. As many readers can probably relate, just a little taste of traveling, and I was hooked.
Wow, Peru! That sounds amazing. Why did you decide to do the Auxiliares de Conversación program?
I want to continue learning Spanish, and I thoroughly enjoy teaching English. When I decided Spain was where I would like to live after graduation, there was no looking back. I found out about the auxiliary program through a best friend’s older brother and thought, “Why not!!” Who could turn down a placement in Andalucía? I will be teaching at I.E.S. Vicente Aleixandre in Barbate, Cadiz, Andalucía.
Ahh home sweet Cádiz! So, do you have any teaching experience, or experience working with kids?
I have volunteered with children since high school through tutoring and mentorship programs. I interned for a semester teaching English in a colegio secundaria and in a university in Peru.
Teaching in Peru must have been a great experience. Speaking of great experiences, there are lots of rumors that float around about the pros and cons of this program. What have you heard? Does it worry you?
I have practically stalked just about every auxiliary blog out there. There is so much helpful information on how to prepare and what to expect. Yes, we could be paid late. Yes, some people may have to stand up for themselves and determine the boundaries of the contract, but overall, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Getting paid to live in Spain for a year with endless opportunities to explore Europe – no one has to convince me. Part of the beauty of traveling and living abroad is learning to be flexible and going with the flow.
I agree… flexibility is key! What are you most excited about in regards to the program and about living in Spain?
I am thrilled to just live in Europe in general. I have only heard second-hand stories and seen pictures. I want to experience Semana Santa, Spanish wine, tapas, and every other wonderful Spanish thing myself.
And there are so many wonderful Spanish things! But what are you most nervous about? What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Adjusting to the Andalucían accent and trying to set up my life using only Spanish. Funny how my main motivation for living in Spain is what I am the most nervous about.
Haha, you’re right to worry a bit about andalú… it’s definitely tough at first. What are you expecting to learn while in Spain?
How to survive not eating dinner until 10 o’clock at night!
So true! Once you adjust you’ll think its weird that they eat at 6 o’clock back home. Are you familiar with Spain and Spanish culture? What do you think you’ll teach Spaniards about your culture?
Some of my cousins have studied abroad in Sevilla; so I have heard some great stories about Spanish culture. I am looking forward to teaching middle and high school kids about the diversity of cultures in the U.S.
Thanks so much for participating, Shannon! Can’t wait to see how much you love Spain at the end of the year 🙂 Make sure to check back soon… Blair is up next!