My name is Jessica Jenkot, and I am 23 from the Chicago area. I went to Truman State University in Missouri, and came out with a major in English with a minor in psychology. I’ll be working in Puebla de la Calzada at two colegios, but living in the city of Badajoz.
I’ll be working at two colegios in the Badajoz province, too! But I’m living in Mérida. So, why did you decide to do the Auxiliares de Conversación program?
I developed a strong yearning to live in a different culture during a Social Psych class– I was amazed by how many things I never questioned about how we live our life in the States is different in other places. I want to experience as much of it as I can! I also would love to improve my Spanish, and travel throughout Europe.
Yay fellow Psych lover! You will be amazed with how many differences there are. Do you have any teaching experience, or experience working with kids?
I have been a swim coach since high school, taught private swim lessons for many years, and spent the past year working as a substitute teacher. While in college, I worked at my university’s Writing Center helping students improve their writing.
Oh that’s awesome! The writing fellows at my university were the best. Anyway, there are lots of rumors that float around about the pros and cons of the program. What have you heard? Does it worry you?
I honestly didn’t even think to look at any blogs about the program until this summer, way after I was accepted. Now that I have done a ton of reading on it, I am probably most nervous about being thrown into a classroom to teach on my own (more because of a lack of Spanish skills than a fear of teaching). I’m probably just most excited about meeting new people and getting to travel.
Well hopefully you don’t get put in that situation… auxiliares are not allowed to be in the classroom alone! What are you most excited about in regards to the program and about living in Spain?
I am really looking forward to working in a school setting again. I hope to improve my Spanish and learn more about myself as I experience the new culture!
Definitely! And what are you most nervous about? What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Speaking Spanish, speaking Spanish, speaking Spanish. I’m really social, and have no problem in situations where I don’t know anyone, but I’ve realized that my Spanish has declined mucho since I last took classes in college, and even though I have been practicing, I am terrified about not being able to communicate as easily as I would like. Also, silly thing, but I’m nervous for the packing and knowing what to bring. I have all white high top Jordans that I love. Apparently those would make me stick out like a sore thumb, and that makes me sad.
Haha yeah packing is rough for sure. It’s hard to find the balance between bringing what makes you happy but also what is practical.What are you expecting to learn while in Spain?
Spanish! And I would really like to learn Spanish dances 🙂
Yes definitely take a dance class! I’ve taken a Bulerías and Sevillanas class and loved it. Are you familiar with Spain and Spanish culture? What do you think you’ll teach Spaniards about your culture?
Not really, I have never been to Spain (or Europe), so it’s just things I have learned from classes here. I’m excited for dos besos and dancing all night! I have no idea what I will teach Spaniards about life here because I am not sure how life is different. Hopefully I can share a lot!
Thanks for your responses, Jessica! I totally identify with lots of what you said. Does any one else have problems rationalizing what to pack? It took all I had not to bring my giant baby blanket that I would still sleep with if it were here… What about you guys?