ESL Activities: Native American History Month

It all began when the main English teacher insisted that I plan a “fun” activity for Columbus Day. After all, what’s more fun than genocide? Nope. This guy was already not on my list of favorite people, so I wasn’t completely surprised with the way the situation went down. I (politely) explained to him that…

11 Ways to Avoid Homesickness Abroad

After the anticipation and farewells back home and the buzz and stress of getting started in your new ‘home’, it finally hits you. You’re here alone. Maybe you won the roommate jackpot or were blessed with a coworker that’s taken you under their wing, but if you’re like many brand new expats, this is probably the time that loneliness and homesickness are starting to set in.

Halloween Fun in the ESL Classroom

Kid’s love Halloween, and I love to get them excited about learning. There are literally thousands of ways to bring spooky Halloween fun into the ESL classroom, combining culture, relevant vocabulary and even grammar into haunted activities that naturally spark interest and curiosity.

Back to School: Easy, No Prep Activities for Your First Week

Even experienced teacher’s get first day of school jitters when starting a new gig. Not only do you have to meet a dozen or more new colleagues (in your second language), you also have to introduce yourself to anywhere from 300 – 1,000 (not exaggerating) new students who may or may not understand anything you’re saying.

Packing Dos & Don’ts for a Year Abroad

My standard packing style usually starts the night before I leave, typically after my despedida (farewell) dinner, and almost always after one-too-many glasses of wine. It’s one thing to rock that laissez faire lifestyle when packing for a month or two, but a year of living abroad is definitely higher stakes, as I learned moving to Spain as an Auxiliar de Conversación.

The Shelter Games: Finding a Flat in Spain

Apartment hunting isn’t usually considered fun. Throw in a different language in a different country with different customs and it’s, well, different. Luckily, you’re not the first guiri to make the move to sunny Spain, so save yourself the stress of making all the mistakes yourself and learn from some of ours before you.

Finding a Flat in Spain: The Basics

Finding a flat is essential.

Finding a flat you love (or at least like, hopefully a lot) will make a huge impact on your overall Spain experience.

No One Says Apartamento: A Piso Glossary for Spain

When I first moved to Madrid, I absolutely thought my Spanish was on point… until I started looking for apartments and had my potential compañeros de piso rambling on a mile a minute about fianzas, ascensores and gastos aparte. ¿Say what? For starters, you’re not looking for an apartamento. You’re looking for a piso. Well,…

Las Palmas Barrios: Finding the Neighbourhood that’s Right for You

Finding your little piece of paradise in Las Palmas might just be the most important decision you’ll make when you arrive. There are the obvious factors like price and commute convenience, but for me it’s equally as important to find the barrio of your dreams. The right vibe, the right neighbors, the right corner bar…

Language Assistants in Spain: Getting Ready for the Big Move

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably received your regional placement as a Language Assistant in Spain… congrats! If you’re like most first-time auxiliares, this will be your first time living overseas for more than a just study abroad stint, and let’s just say… it’s different. Different in lots of good ways, and a few stressful ways, but absolutely different.
The truth is, there’s quite a bit that you won’t be able to do until you arrive – finding a piso (apartment) you love, setting up a bank account, securing a Spanish SIM card, etc. There are, however, a few things you can do now to make the transition a whole helluvalot easier when you arrive, and here are my top 3: consulates, cash & communication.