Adam Barratt is a former volunteer now working in the volunteer department of the Diverbo office, coordinating the English speaking side of the Pueblo Inglés programs.
Here, he explains how he experienced a unique, rewarding and fun cultural exchange that has also had a profound affect on thousands of people.
My first introduction to Diverbo - More Than Pueblo Inglés - was through my sister around three years ago. As with most people, I heard through word of mouth and decided to give it a try. She had participated and thought it may be of interest to me.
An application and a couple of coincidences later found me landing in Spain for my first PI program in the charming village of La Alberca.
In teacher programs, students are Secondary School teachers who are perfecting their language skills so they can later teach their subject in English. English-speaking volunteers help them improve their listening, understanding and conversational fluency.
I was struck by the efficiency, organisation and the positive ethos the project promoted. As the week went on what struck me even more was the fun we had, the laughter we enjoyed, the rich conversations and a certain magic that makes this program special.
Although it was a very busy and intense week, I left with an overwhelming sense of awe and a ‘what just happened’ feeling. I was intrigued enough to return for another program at a different venue.
I have since been a volunteer several times and have now worked for over a year in the Volunteer Department, helping to coordinate those very volunteers for precisely that experience.
These programs have quite literally changed people’s lives. Mine has certainly taken a huge change in direction and each person may take something different from the experience. It’s a social encounter that gives rise to personal takeaways and insights.
Each week we receive emails from happy participants about the effect the program has had individually. Recently, a volunteer decided to change career course completely, going from Asset Management to teaching in Italy!
A lot of the Spaniards ask this question on the program. Why would you give up your time to help for free? Some potential volunteers may have that question too. Other than the overall experience, there are practicalities too.
You get a week at a 4 star resort with accommodation and three big meals a day in exchange for your conversation. In addition, you see a part of Spain you would probably miss if you travelled the traditional tourist route. You get to trade stories with real people and you will have a whole bunch of new friends in Spain and around the world.
To sum up the experience it’s a great opportunity to inspire and to be inspired.
Exciting new programs
Very recently some extra programs have been added to our calendar, which are even more special. Aside from all the positive reasons to get involved, you have a real opportunity to help shape the future of Spain. These teachers need to teach more of their classes in English so you won’t just be helping that one individual, you will be helping the hundreds of learners under their care. And the ripple effect could be immeasurable.
By the way, there is no need to be a teacher yourself. All that’s required from you is a positive, ‘go with the flow’ attitude and a willingness to talk all day! Everything else is taken care of.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I think is rather apt: “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.” - William Arthur Ward.
Want to join us and be part of something very special? For more information to apply, please visit the website www.helpspanishteachers.com
Article sponsored by Diverbo - More Than Pueblo Inglés