October 22, 2013, by Matthew Watts

A fond farewell to Spain

So, after my time in Valencia, 2 weeks working on Summer Schools at UoN and one afternoon spent moving my stuff from my house in Nottingham back home, I spent a night at home and then jetted off to Madrid! I arrived eager to start the next part of my Year Abroad although was also slightly anxious, especially since I didn’t have anywhere to live, that was the first thing on my to-do list!

Fortunately it didn’t take me long to find somewhere to live (where would we be without the internet?!) and I moved in the day after I had arrived and spent the weekend relaxing and discovering a bit of the city before starting work on the Monday. My flat was truly international with people from: England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania and Chile although I didn’t spend much time in the flat as I was working 8 hours a day and discovering the city/socialising with the other teachers outside of my working hours.

International would be the word I’d have to use if someone asked me to describe my time in Madrid. Whilst there I met people from all over the world and on one night out we went as a group of people from over 7 countries and with 5 languages being spoken! I really loved this aspect of my time there as I’d never been in an environment with so many different people!

Ultimately I was in Madrid to improve my Spanish and do feel that I did this, although it was at times difficult as I was teaching English for 8 hours a day. However, I spoke Spanish to my bosses and the reception staff and also taught Spanish to some of the other English teachers! I enjoyed the job as well and it also really made me appreciate how difficult English is to learn with our ‘-ed’ endings that are pronounced differently! The hours were long but it was really gratifying to work with people and actually see them improve over the course of a few weeks.

I absolutely fell in love with the city of Madrid itself whilst I was there, particularly with ‘El Parque del Retiro’ which is a beautiful park situated near the centre of Madrid. I didn’t get to do much sightseeing though and I plan on going back at some point over the next year as a tourist when I’m free! It truly is the city that never sleeps, people come back from a night out at 6:30am (when the metro opens) and others are getting up to go to work then. However, I was there during the month of August which is the summer month when most madrileños leave the city for their holidays and so it wasn’t unusual to find signs saying ‘Cerrado hasta septiembre’ which is something I found odd as shops can’t just shut for a month back home! I’d 100% recommend visiting this amazing, bustling city!

I’m in France now working as a Language Assistant in a small town named Bressuire, but more about that next time!

A bientôt!


This post is also available in: French, Spanish

Posted in Language acquisitionMaking connections