Stomping my feet as hard as I could, I twirled around in a frenzy, flailing my arms and yelling before coming to a standstill next to the dark haired woman in front of me.
“Bien.” She clapped her hands once and then left the room.
I smiled as the guitar player and other students picked up water bottles and wiped down their foreheads with small towels. I was in Seville, Spain, and having the time of my life learning to dance flamenco.
I first went to Andalusia on a whim. I let a spinning globe choose my destination and my index finger landed on Seville. I spoke no Spanish and had never lived abroad before.
What a lucky spin it was. It didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels for this beautiful Spanish city. I loved the food, the architecture, and the music; it was easy to meet people; and I really took a shine to the Spanish language.
After spending four months there, I went back to Canada with a heavy heart. I knew I had to return one day. And a few years later I did. This time I went armed with an English teaching certificate and a better grasp of Spanish.
Finding a job was not difficult, although I had picked the brains of veteran English teachers beforehand and knew exactly how to go about procuring a great position. I also went with a repertoire of tips and lesson plan ideas, which would prove themselves invaluable.
I worked in a language school, teaching around 15 to 20 hours a week and padded my income with private lessons. I taught both children and adults, which I liked because it gave me a well-rounded experience and great insight into Spanish culture.
The kids shared their excitement of traditions like Three King’s Day, and Ratoncito Perez (Spain’s version of the Tooth Fairy). The adults filled me in on history, politics, and the best places to get tapas.
The cost of living in Spain was less than what I was used to in Canada, and my income easily covered my expenses even though I wasn’t working anywhere close to 40 hours a week.
All of this free time allowed me the opportunity to take classes—like my flamenco lessons—and because I was in Europe with cheap airline and train options, I also did my fair share of country hopping. Nearby Portugal, Italy, and France were easy journeys.
The qualifications needed to teach English vary quite a bit but many places only require that you be a native English speaker. Students want to focus on conversation and pronunciation, and want to practice in a natural, relaxed way with English speakers.
Private lessons and online classes are alternatives to working in schools, and give you even more flexibility. The best way to find what is right for you is to turn to those who have “been there, done that.” A little advice and preparation can head off any frustrations that might arise. After all, foot stomping should be reserved for dancing your heart out!
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