Spain | School Language Volunteer | Clara

Clara, a 19-year-old from Germany, embarked on a transformative volunteering experience with New Ventures Worldwide (NVW) as a School Language Volunteer in Spain. Clara describes her role at the primary school, assisting English classes for children aged 5-11. Her duties include helping with various activities like reading books and conversations and tailoring lessons for events like Christmas and Diwali. Initially uncertain, Clara grew confident, finding her place in the classroom. She cherishes interactions with the children, finding them funny and delightful. Living in a remote area was an adjustment, requiring taxis or lifts for outings.

“I work in a Primary school in Spain with children aged 5- 11, helping in English classes, assisting teachers, reading books, and having conversations with the students. I love talking with the kids. They’re so funny. At first, I was unsure of my place but gradually grew in confidence. It has also been an adjustment living in a remote area.”

Motivation to Volunteer

Clara sought international work experience rather than traditional travel. Eager for a gap year after school, she desired hands-on experience in education, aspiring to become a teacher.

“I wanted international work experience, not traditional travelling. I wanted a gap year after school and to work in education. I want to become a teacher.”

Living Away for the First Time

Although Clara misses her family, she finds contentment and independence in Spain. The warm and welcoming atmosphere within the school team and the local community enhances her experience of exploring her newfound freedom.

“I miss my family but am really content in Spain and love exploring my independence. People in Spain are open and friendly. The team at the school is so welcoming and friendly.”

Food and Accommodation

Clara resides with a hospitable host family, fostering a strong bond with their children. She appreciates her private bedroom and bathroom, although adjusting to the different meal timings and diet was initially challenging.

“I’m staying with a host family. I have a private bedroom and bathroom. The food is very different. Lunch is at 3 pm, dinner at 9:30 pm.”

Experience with NVW

Despite a last-minute application, Clara praises NVW for their efficient handling of paperwork and prompt responses. While nervous initially, her interviews proved to be invaluable learning experiences, especially in improving her English proficiency.

“Even though my application was last minute, NWV worked to finish everything on time. There was a lot of paperwork. I was very nervous before my first interview in English, but it was a great learning curve.”

Personal Growth and Future Aspirations

Clara reflects on her increased independence and gratitude for her family and support system. Professionally, her desire to become a teacher remains steadfast, with her volunteering experience reinforcing her career aspirations.

“I’m more independent and more thankful for the things I have. Professionally, I still want to be a teacher. It has confirmed it for me.”

Advice for Aspiring Volunteers

Clara encourages others to pursue similar volunteering experiences, highlighting its many benefits. She emphasises aligning expectations with personal goals for the gap year.

“Do it. It helps in so many ways. Think about your expectations from the gap year. Do you want to have fun, or do you also want something practical that will help with your future?”