If you saw my previous post, you learned that I'll be in Spain for some of my travel time. You may be asking, "You started in Ireland, so why are you now going to Spain?" Well, here's why:
I'm sure most of you have heard of Rick Steves (the travel guy). He's from Edmonds, Washington and has a travel center in the main square of the town. I was putzing around his website a while back and saw that they hold lectures throughout the year. on various travel topics. I got excited and maybe a little ambitious and signed up for four of them!
The first one I went to was perfect for me: Traveling as a Volunteer. Um, hello! That's exactly what I want to be doing! While my expectations as to what the lecture was going to be were a little different than what it turned out to be, I am still very glad I went. And believe me, after leaving, I wanted to travel the world volunteering anywhere that would take me.
Help save Sea Turtles in Crete? Sure!
Dig at an archeological site in Israel? Uh, yes, please!
Work at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand? Absolutely!
Needless to say, I left wanting to do it all. And I may have checked whether I could make a stop in Thailand in between my India and Indonesia trips. It's possible, I'm sure, but may be a bit too ambitious. Thailand is definitely on my list of places to check out, so hopefully I'll make it there someday.
One opportunity that was completely feasible was teaching Spanish business executives to speak English. This may sound random, but a few of the people at the lecture had done it and it actually sounds amazing! Essentially the organization takes 20 native English speakers (anglos) and 20 Spaniards who know minimal English and have them interact with each other for a week. Everyone is put up in a hotel with food provided and at no expense to the anglos. (It sounds a little crazy, but it's legit and run by the largest language school in Spain -- Vaughan Systems.)
So, I checked it out, found some dates that worked for my schedule, and applied. I heard back last week that I was accepted into the June 08 - 13 class at El Rancho Hotel in Segovia, Spain!
While I’m not exactly sure what to expect, I do know there will be a lot of talking involved. Like 10-12 hours of talking a day. (All English speaking, I don't need to know Spanish, thankfully!) It’ll include one-on-one conversations, mock interviews (in person, via phone, and conference call), and group activities. The Spaniards in the program are all business people trying to learn English, so it's more of a professional environment (which is why there are mock conference calls, etc). But along with that talking comes building relationships, teaching, and fostering community with the other participants--all things I love. And sure there’s lots of talking, but it’s lots of talking while in rural SPAIN and staying in a 4-star hotel! And I’ll be going in June when the average temperature is about 77 degrees F. By no means will it be a relaxing vacation or anything, but I think it’ll be a pretty awesome experience.
I’ve updated my “Where I Am” page to reflect this change. I’m still nailing down the timing of everything as there are some people who are hoping to visit (yay, Mom!), but I’ll keep you posted as those plans get nailed down.
This is really the first thing I have officially nailed down, so it's quite exciting!