Having studied abroad and traveled to Spain in the past, the Teach and Learn Program was an excellent way to return to the country for an extended period of time. The combination of being able to work and live in a city like Madrid as well as enjoy the relaxed university atmosphere of Alcalá was a huge plus when deciding to enroll in the program. While difficult at times balancing teaching work and the Master’s course load, it was rewarding to be working towards a specific goal – an important counter to days spent teaching English to young children where progress can be slow and difficult to measure.
In the Teach and Learn Program, I found a strong community of motivated and intelligent students with a passion for the Spanish language and the culture of Spain. Our shared experiences of teaching English became an important resource for each other in planning lessons and managing the Spanish educational system. The opportunity of working in a Spanish school throughout multiple grade levels provided me with a deep insight into Spanish culture in a very real way that cannot be taught but only found through direct experience. With the program now completed, the Master’s course has given me a tangible accomplishment to walk away with aside from the experience of only working as a language assistant. Being able to put a Master’s degree in teaching Spanish as a foreign language from a leading university in Spain on any future resume is a huge plus regardless of what future plans may be. In fact, I was recently awarded a generous scholarship to study Mandarin Chinese overseas from the government of Taiwan and I’m sure the Teach and Learn Program was an important factor to show myself as a serious and dedicated student, able to manage teaching with studying as well as showing the flexibility required to live in a foreign country. Having stayed on in Spain teaching for another year following the program, I can certainly say working without studying is simpler however in the long run having completed the Teach and Learn Masters will be greatly beneficial.