cathedral

English Camps for Kids Who Speak No English

Hey guys, how’s it going? You may be wondering if I’ve dropped off the map and the truth is, yeah, I kind of have. But no worries, I’m back from “teaching English” for a week at an English camp located in the province of León. It was my first time in León, and I loved it—apart from the bitterly cold mornings! León is a beautiful province, and its capital city is home to a strikingly beautiful cathedral.

Catedral de León

Rosetón León

I love Gothic cathedrals for one reason: L-I-G-H-T.

At this campamento de inglés, the children are expected to speak in English with their native camp counselors (monitores in Spanish). It sounds good, right? Send your kid to a camp, where he/she will learn English from native speakers! Awesome, yeah?

Yeah, about that. The problem starts when the children’s level of English is so low that they cannot convey basic desires in English. If a child does not know the word for milk, how can he/she be expected to speak only in English, to follow commands in English, to understand a native English speaker? You got me.

This camp wasn’t about teaching English really. There were no classrooms or lessons or exams. It was just meant to be a camp in English. That’s it. But I came away having spoken more Spanish than English.

And that’s the irony of English camps in Spain.

Have you ever taught at an English camp in Spain? What was your experience?

The Rain in Sevilla

Our trip to Sevilla got off to a rainy start. After checking into our hotel after an unsuccessful attempt to visit the dentist (another story altogether!), night had already fallen. Another thing falling? The rain, of course.

IMG_0435My first view of La Giralda

Luckily, Sevilla is still pretty, even amidst the drizzle. The Christmas lights were lit, and it was hard to feel discontent with the whole city wishing us Felices Fiestas (Happy Holidays).

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When Parents and Grandparents Hit Spain!

… your parents AND grandparents visiting you in Spain: Segovia, San Sebastián, Salamanca, and Zamora!

My parents and grandparents (mom’s parents) flew into Madrid on Tuesday, April 5, to see me! Oh, and visit Spain. But I like to think I was the primary motivation for the visit. Narcissistic much? Perhaps. We had plans to see a wide swath of Spain, including Madrid, Castile, and the Basque country.

The first day, they arrived without delay. I remark on this because the first time my parents came to see me, back in 2008, they were delayed in Chicago and London. In Chicago, an unruly drunk fellow had to be hauled off the plane, while in London, someone had laid down a suspicious package. I was distraught, but they did arrive. Eventually. This time, there were no problems. God bless direct flights.

It is always weird to see someone out of their normal environment, and with my parents/grandparents, this was no exception. Once you leave the confines of the bizarrely nationally unidentifiable airport, you start to realize, Hey, this is weird. It’s a good weird, though. I started to remember all the things that had once surprised and/or frustrated me, but about which I’d since forgotten. Examples include: absurdly small elevators, the high price of soda, the low price of wine, shops’ opening/closing hours, dos besos, etc. I could go on and on. But I’ll just leave you with some picture collages of the trip!

El Escorial

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