nglish abroad

Don’t speak Spanish? Move to Spain and you soon will.

Words: Bee Bannister

oming to Madrid was one of the better

decisions I have made. although at the

time. live years ago now. it seemed a little crazy. We had no work. no place to live and I had no Spanish. My boyfriend could at least string a few sentences together. He had done his year out in Spain and wanted to return to improve his Spanish. And being the spontaneous thing that I was. I said yes.

Teaching seemed my best (and only) option. And though spontaneous. l was not completely reckless and so decided to do a 'l'lilil. (teaching linglish as a foreign language) course. It was definitely money well spent: at the end of the four- week intensive I felt like I might actually he able to stand in a classroom and teach. But before I got to that stage. my 'l‘lil‘lxless boyfriend and I had to get ourselves work.

As it turned out. this was easy. There are plenty of language academies (advertising in the Spanish and linglish press) that will accept native linglish speakers with open arms. even without a 'l’lil‘l“ We soon discovered that there was a huge difference between a job and a 'gootl‘ job. In general you have to choose between a lower wage with a reputable school (job security. paid holidays) or better money btit no perks at all. which usually means in— coitipaliy classes and lots of travelling.

l'lal hunting was the real trauma. We saw some flats that made its long for those box-like.

We soon discovered there is a huge difference between a job and a good job

university residence rooms (and I never thought I would say that). We were unusual in that we wanted a cosy pad for two whereas most

'I‘lil"l.ers will end tip flat sharing with other teachers or. if lucky (from the point of view of

learning the lingo). with a Spaniard. But the latter is not the norm as most Spanish twentysomethings tend to live at home until they hit thirty.

llaving traipsed around a number of over— priced shoeboxes. we finally found a cheap flat that didn't have a hole in the floor at the base of the toilet masquerading as a shower. We did have some small. black and speedy pets. but here cockroaches are never far away.

I have never taught anywhere else and i know that there are more exotic places to go btit Madrid is a great place to live. Teaching is an ideal way to meet people: from the bored housewife with her (iucci lifestyle who does not really need to learn linglish (and maybe never will). to the executive who needs linglish fora meeting in London. with his palm pilot and his pop socks: apparently they are very cool in the summer (teniperature-wise you understand).

The trick to enjoying the 'l‘lil'l. lifestyle is to learn the language and enjoy as much of whatever your chosen destination has to offer. or as the .'\’ladrilenos would say. jtist live life to the ftill.

Pre- university

Post- university

Career gap

Pre/post baby gaps

Mid-life crisis gaps

Baby boomer



Doing a Prince Wills

Give up daytime TV for a suit? Not likely!

Get me out of this job before I turn into my parents

I’m not getting married in the morning . . . am I?

Pass me the papoose. darling

I can’t seriously be turning 40

Bungee- jumping grannies and granddads

What kind of gap are you taking?

Words: Louisa Pearson

probable outcome

Fresh-faced and much more likely to do something productive like volunteering. Added maturity may help avoid wasting the four years at uni.

Will either become eternal traveller, always seeking the next Goa or will fast- track to the top of career ladder using new found confidence.

Why are you working as an accountant when you were destined to be a writer? This might be your last chance to change.

Not ready to exchange vows? Go see the world and decide if you’ll be ‘goin’ to the chapel’ or going back to uni to pounce on freshers.

You’ve done the commitment thing, so you hit the road en famille. No gain for parents, but child will develop excellent immune system.

‘I still know what’s in the charts. this can’t possibly be happening.’ With cash in the bank, this could be the ideal time to go abroad.

Those original hippies are back but this time it’s cashtheyie loaded with. Their aim is to fritter away your inheritance. Good on them.