Perks of Being a First Grade Teacher

by Jiyoon Chon

‘Tis the season! With the holidays fast approaching, my days at el Colegio Santa Maria la Blanca have been consisting of endless Christmas carols, or villancicos, paper snowflakes and ornaments, and of course, countless stories of cool gifts from Santa Claus and los Reyes Magos from past years and wish lists for the coming Christmas. It’s definitely been a refreshing experience spending the holiday season with such young kids. During the past three months working as an (almost) first grade teacher, I’ve been having the time of my life. Sure, I have to deal with the chaos of crying kids mumbling in Spanish or the frenzy of a mob of little girls begging to braid my hair, but all the perks that come with being a first grade teacher have made it all worth it.

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by Erica DeBarge


During on-campus orientation, we were warned that the holidays in-country might be a little rough. A significant amount of time has passed, so I’ve become much more assimilated to my new environment and don’t feel waves of homesickness as often as I used to. However, when I saw my friends and family back in the U.S. heading home for Thanksgiving break, I wished I could do the same. I’ve never experienced the holidays without my family. And I really wanted to see my dog in her Thanksgiving bandana (that hurt the most).

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EU ‘Immigrant Life’

by Mikel Quintana


Madrid’s City Hall with ‘Refugees Welcome’ sign

During my time in Europe I have experienced and witnessed the many services governments provide, from public health insurance and affordable public university, to reliable and extensive public transport. Despite its many advantages Europe also faces many issues including detraction from the EU, and the migrant crisis. As the migrant crisis is both a humanitarian and global issue that deeply interests me, I have been looking into the ‘immigrant life’ in Europe.

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Tortas, Monos, y Narices

by Rebeca Becdach


When I arrived in Madrid I was reassured by the fact that I would not have a significant language barrier to cross due to the fact that I grew up in a household where Spanish is spoken. Little did I know the Spanish in Spain has a ton of unique sayings and word usage. In order to fully appreciate the differences in word uses and comedic phrases that form part of Spanish Spanish (as opposed to the Spanish I grew up with), I will write in Spanish now. (Do not worry, the English version comes after).

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Almost Two Months

by Rebeca Becdach

At orientation I tried not to make any assumptions about what working at my placement at Montoya would be like in order to not be taken by surprise when I got there. However, I could not help but have some fears. I was worried that the girls would not accept me and that I would have to try to stand out in some way compared to all the volunteers they’ve had pass through. In terms of my job, I knew I was going to be picking the girls up from school and doing activities with them, but otherwise the details of my role in the home were a bit vague. I was also told that I would be able to make my own projects to do with them, so I imagined that I would share with them my love for art and being active by painting and going to the park with them.

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