‘There is joy in learning something new yourself’

Samantha Chappell took a sabbatical from a publishing job in London to spend a summer living in the northern city of Oviedo. She loved it so much that eight years later she is still there and has discovered her vocation.

'There is joy in learning something new yourself'
Samantha Chappell is an English primary school teacher in Oviedo

What brought you to Spain?

My first taste of Spain, as a child, was the Balearics – the natural choice for many Brits – but it was an Asturian friend who introduced me to the magic of Northern Spain.

We met when she visited Britain as a student. Over the years many letters were exchanged; studies finished, new jobs started – she always loved British life and culture and would often ask me: "We've been friends for so long, why have you never visited Oviedo… Why don't you come for fiesta…"

So, eventually, I did. The Asturian people, so warm, welcoming and hospitable made it impossible for me to leave.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

I never had a calling to be a teacher but after working as a private tutor, in an academy and then as a teacher in primary schools, I found the cliches to be true; teaching really is one of the most rewarding, challenging and satisfying careers available and, as they say: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life".

What are the highlights?

Every day brings something new and different and with that, a joy also in learning something new yourself, through your students, young or old.

Teaching in Spain is a career I recommend to those who can. Try it and see. There is high interest and motivation in learning English and with so many schools implementing bilingual schemes, there's never been a better time to train up and make that move.

Another advantage of teaching in Spain or anywhere in the world for that matter, are the holidays. If you are employed by an academy or temporarily by a school, Christmas and Easter holidays are usually paid for. Summer holidays however, are not, unless you secure a permanent teaching position. So, save hard or secure summer work to see you through until the autumn.

Tell us about where you live.

‎Oviedo has become a base and spiritual home – a happy half way point between the countryside where I grew up in southern England and the metropolis of London. Oviedo is the capital of Asturias, and one of the three main cities in what could be known as the Asturian triangle, comprising Gijon, Aviles and Oviedo. 

Asturias has much to offer; a great sensitivity to the arts, outstanding natural beauty, with spectacular coastlines and stunning natural parks, an emphasis on enjoyment of life, people, the land, the food and drink – especially cider, the regional tipple – but, the important thing here, the secret, is the way of life and the Asturian people have the key.

What do you love about Spain?

Spain has many advantages and differences to be celebrated. It is loud and passionate and direct; full of colour and flavour and aromas, breathtaking scenery and extremes. Its people, full of warmth and hospitality, humour and charm – emit a positive energy that embraces you firmly and welcomes you so well, you can't imagine life without it!

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