Maisie Prior: Placement in Andalucía, Spain

Maisie Prior spent two years in Spain, first studying in the north of Spain and then teaching in the Andalucía in the south of Spain. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your placement

I am currently studying Spanish with International Experience at Bangor University. This 5-year degree is unique in that it allows 2 years abroad, my second of which I spent as an English teaching assistant in Malaga, Spain.

My first year abroad was spent studying at the University of Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain, so I was very much keen to experience the other side of the coin and voyage down south to see what flamenco-twirling Andalucía had to offer in contrast to the rolling hills of rain-cloaked Galicia.

I chose to take part in the British Council Assistantship programme because of its fantastic reputation. Not only did it ensure a great support network, it offered light teaching hours and the chance to really immerse myself in Spanish culture. 

What is your favourite memory from your time abroad?

Doing English Karaoke with my 12-13 year old students. They adored chart music and were always asking me to help translate the lyrics. A Tuesday morning, impromptu Thriller dance tutorial will also forever hold a fond place in my heart. 

How has your time abroad benefited you?

In addition to gaining invaluable teaching experience and the associated transferable skills, the 12-hour week meant I had a lot of time to nourish other skills and passions outside the classroom. During my time in Malaga I completed online courses, work experience, internships, took part in volunteering and community initiatives, as well as setting up my own freelance business.

What were you most worried about before you left?

Moving to a new city, let alone country, where you don’t know anybody will always be daunting - no matter the promise of tapas, afternoons at the beach and year-round sunshine! Fortunately for new assistants The British Council offers an unrivalled support network, spanning induction days, teaching materials, and contact details of other wobbly-kneed assistants in your region.

What advice do you have for people thinking about going abroad?

Do it! University is there to open doors, the British Council being a great big, shiny door to new friends, enhanced employability and unparalleled life experiences.

What will you miss most when you go home?

Having the language I love so ingrained in my daily life. Of course, as with any language, there are untranslatable phrases in Spanish, and I cant help but feel a twinge of nostalgia when I find myself silently racking my brain for an English alternative. 

Want to experience the Spanish lifestyle for yourself? Find out more about the English Language Assistant programme and you could go to Spain or 13 other countries!