Andrea is from Miami, Florida, where she attended and graduated from college. She loves to travel, so she tries to travel as much as possible.Interviewed on - 12 April 2017
I was in a moment of transition in my life and wanted to take a risk. Thus, I decided to follow my passion for travel and education, and applied for the teaching abroad program in Madrid, Spain; this was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I chose CIEE because they offered a support that no other organization did. They made the process so easy and it just felt meant to be. They also had a variety of programs to choose from, which allowed me to have more options.
My favorite part was the food and people. Madrid was the perfect city for me, because my grandmother is Spanish; I felt like I connected to my heritage. I also felt that Madrid has a lot to offer and it is an easy city to immerse in the culture and enjoy!
The CIEE program made my experience unique because the orientation you have sets you up for success. In that time, I was able to not only meet the best group of friends, but easily set up everything I needed, so when school started I hit the ground running and started my life in Spain.
How easy it was to settle in and live in a large city like Madrid.
The emails, activities, and constant contact made me feel supported throughout the process. I always knew I had someone to call or email, which made me feel supported.
I wish I would have started looking at apartments online earlier on, just to have more options before choosing the right apartment.
I decided to live on my own, so I rented a small studio. What I liked best is how close it was to the public transportation I took to get to work.
A typical day in my program was work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school. This would mean about four periods of supporting the teachers and snack time. Then I’d have time to come home and enjoy the afternoon exploring the culture and city.
In my free time, I enjoyed going to museums, parks, trying tapas places, and being with friends.
That this is an experience you will never forget. Also, it is helpful to bring a little savings, just to give you a cushion as you settle in. This will make you feel way more at ease.
Staying open to the different teaching styles and learning to adapt to them.
At times it was challenging and things could get lost in translation, but mostly it was not hard and they make a great effort to help you feel comfortable.
A little more about the transportation so to make it easier to chose where to live and make the commute to work as short as possible.
Don't go overboard. You will acquire things here, so only pack the essentials.
How much you learn about another culture and the traveling that you get to do while abroad.
There is nothing like this experience and how much value it gives you both personally and professionally.
From the recent interviews I've had, I can say that it has changed my perspective on some things and expanded my capabilities and knowledge.
Definitely, CIEE offers a great program with amazing support. They help you with everything you need, thus allowing you to enjoy the journey fully.
I would stay in Spain, specifically in Madrid.