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I would like to share my time here in La Salle Manresa. Ifs been an incredible experience and it's difficult to know where to start describing my time here, but here's my attempt. An uncountable amount of things run through your head on your journey from home town to new town. The organisers do what they can to prepare you for what to expect, and the information they give is very helpful, but you still go from bus to train to plane to bus to train to car not knowing what's in store for you, while still having doubts about whether this is right move to make. Having never taught before, or lived outside my hometown before, and considering myself a little bit of an introvert, the thought of all these changes was both exciting and terrifying. Any doubts and fears I had were vanished in moments from the welcoming and friendly manner of everyone here at La Salle Manresa.
I was lucky in the sense that La Salle Manresa has been running theCAPS Program successfully for 3-4 years now, which was great as they had a functional structure in place and I was able to ease my way in and get used to everything, and there's a lot to get used to! Whether ifs remembering names, learning Spanish (and inevitably Catalan), getting to know and spend time with your hosts, knowing your way around town, or even knowing your way around the school (!), there's an endless supply of friendly, willing people ready to help you.
The people who can speak English (even if it's a little), generally love the opportunity to practice what they spend hours learning in textbooks, while the people who can't speak any English at all, generally
love the opportunity to teach you some of their language. As for the classes, they are either great fun as you get to know some fantastic kids and take pride from the progress you see in them, or a great challenge
that you learn from. Help is always one question away if necessary. With the very youngest kids, the classes normally involve songs, stories and flashcards. The classes with the older students can vary from playing speaking games, explaining traditions from back home, or having a conversation about a specific topic. Going off curriculum is no problem, and everyone enjoys these sessions even more! When I don't have classes, the Spanish and P.E teachers are more than happy for me to join in their classes for further practice.
Making friends was easier than I thought it would be here, especially as a fan of sports, and received no short of invites to train with various teams in the area. This turned out to be a great way to know locals and make great friends outside of school, and to practice speaking and listening skills in Spanish/Catalan. Manresa, and from my experience the rest of Catalonia too, has a very diverse culture and it would be pretty easy to find a club or group in something you are interested in. Amidst all of this, an incredibly important factor that makes all of this possible are the host families. I've lived with two different families and both have been fantastic in helping me settle, showing me the Catalan lifestyle and traditions, and showing me around the region. It isn't always a walk in the park, and can sometimes be difficult. However, this is a huge learning experience, and learning to deal with different and difficult situations with your host family are just as important as any experience you will have in the school.
Overall, this has been a huge experience, and as nervous as I was on the first day, I don't regret my decision to come here one bit. I am entirely grateful to both my host families, the program organisers, and La Salle Manresa. All of the fantastic experiences I've had since coming here wouldn't be possible without them.