16 Student Reflections on Teaching English in Alicante

Your study abroad experience is as beneficial as you make it. When you study abroad in Alicante, Spain you have the opportunity to work with two local schools to teach English to students of all age ranges.

No matter what your major is, this opportunity provides a variety of benefits including immersion in the local culture, language practice, and professional skill development.

Each semester a variety of students take advantage of this opportunity, so we spoke with 16 students from the spring semester to hear how teaching English has impacted their study abroad.

If you’re interested in teaching English while abroad, talk to your enrollment specialist or on-site staff.

Summer Murray
University of Denver, Colorado
Summer is 26 years old and was born in California and is a graduate of the University of Denver, Colorado. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took Spanish classes and other subjects of economics and gender at the University of Alicante. She had the opportunity to discover the world of teaching by teaching English to some of the students of the school.

Tess Gerdemann
University of Cincinnati
Tess is 20 years old and is originally from Colorado. She studied marketing at the University of Cincinnati. When Tess studied with USAC at the University of Alicante she took Spanish language classes.

“During my time in Alicante, I had the opportunity to tutor a class of students (ages 13/14) in English. I tutored at a school called Haygon, near the University of Alicante. I had 13 students and once a week we would work on their English homework, talk about our lives, play games and generally improve their English skills. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them. Throughout our time together I´ve seen them grow more confident speaking in English and I believe I´ve made an impression on them. I hope them all the best and I´ve promised them we can follow each other on Instagram on my last day teaching, so hopefully, we stay in contact. Many thanks to USAC & Haygon for providing this.”

Marlem Alvarado
Washington State University, Pullman
Marlem is 19 years old and was born in Mexico. She studies Hispanic Philology at Washington State University, Pullman. During her study abroad in Alicante, she studied language and literature classes.

“Working with children is always a challenge, but it helped me a lot to teach English at the Haygon school since I will be a Spanish teacher. Although the children are somewhat introverted and often do not pay attention to the instructions given to them, it does not stop fascination to work with them, they are simply adorable and very creative. I loved being able to work with them and give me an idea of what it is like to be a teacher. I really liked being able to have this challenge.”

Sarah Coyle
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Sarah is 20 years old and was born in California where she currently attends college. Sarah has been studying Humanities for two years at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took several classes of Spanish and culture.

“Alicante provided me with amazing opportunities inside and outside the classroom. In addition to improving my Spanish skills, I had the amazing opportunity to teach English in a local school and privately tutor two children in English. As an education major, these experiences proved to be invaluable and I couldn’t have asked for better extracurricular activities. Studying in Alicante proved to be some of the best months of my life.”

Solomon Lovejoy
Eastern Washington University
Solomon is 19 years old and was born in Minnesota. Solomon is in his second year of International Affairs at Eastern Washington University. During his study abroad in Alicante, he took Spanish and economic classes.

“This semester, USAC asked me if I would be interested in being an English tutor at Haygon Middle School. I hadn’t tutored before, but I thought it would be a good opportunity so I said yes. Looking back, it was one of my favorite things I did in Alicante. I looked forward to going each week, and was constantly reminded that I made a great choice by saying yes. I loved how each kid had a unique personality despite their age. Also, the feeling I had when I helped them spell an English word correctly or told them an English phrase that they then used later in class was priceless. In conclusion, it was a fantastic experience that I’m happy I did.”

Chris Torres
University of Florida
Chris is 21 years old and was born in Florida. She studied Linguistics at the University of Florida. Chris took advanced Spanish courses, phonetics as well as other gender subjects during her study abroad in Alicante.

“Studying abroad has been a very incredible experience with a lot of beautiful memories and self-growth. My heart is full of the eleven fun students I was able to spend time with and help improve their conversational English. I’m sure the connection I made with them will last further than the classroom. I will forever be grateful for this time in my life.”

Eirini Longini
University of Florida
Eirini is 21 years old and was born Georgia. She is studying Anthropology at the University of Florida. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took Spanish and gender classes.

Rachel Greiner
Boise State University
Rachel is 21 years old and born in Idaho. She is studying Biology at Boise State University. Rachel took Spanish language classes during her study abroad in Alicante.

Keenan Hunt
Clemson University
Keenan is 20 years old and born in Maryland. He is studying Modern Languages at Clemson University. During his study abroad in Alicante, he took advanced Spanish, phonetics and history classes at the University of Alicante through USAC.

“My time in Alicante has been great, and an experience like no other! Simply being here and talking with people and seeing everyday things have improved my Spanish immensely, and it’s been fascinating learning how many similarities but also differences in culture exist from the U.S. and here. I’ve also had the opportunity to help teach English in a class with middle schoolers, and it’s been really fun teaching them and telling them things about the U.S.”

Chloe Egan
California State University, Chico
Chloe is 21 years old and was born in California. She studied Spanish at California State University, Chico. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took Spanish and history classes.

“I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to have a teaching position in a local school during my semester abroad. It was a very special experience getting to know such a great grove of kids. Through teaching English, I was able to share my culture as well as learn a lot about theirs.”

Erin Davies
California Polytechnic State Univesity, San Luis Obispo
Erin is 20 years old and born in California, where she currently attends college. Erin has been studying Tourism at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo for two years. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took classes in Spanish and economy of the European Union.

Valaria Maestas
Arizona State University
Valaria is 20 years old and was born California. She is studying Geography at Arizona State University. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took Spanish classes, phonetics and, Spanish culture.

“I have had the time of my life living and studying abroad here in Alicante. I have had the opportunity to tutor at a local school and help students improve their conversational English skills. That has been a rewarding experience because it has shown me that when learning any language there are areas of discomfort for everyone, not just me when I was first learning Spanish.”

Connor McGarty
California State University, Chico
Connor is 20 years old and was born in California. Connor is in his second year of Business Marketing at California State University, Chico. During his study abroad in Alicante, he took Spanish and economic classes.

“My experience being a T.A. has been challenging and rewarding. I started with no previous teaching experience and took on the challenge of teaching a classroom of middle school-aged kids. It has taught me to take control and to think on my feet. The best part has been seeing the kids open up and really show their desire to participate and learn English. It has been a new and challenging experience that was completely worth it and rewarding.”

Elizabeth Brown
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Elizabeth is 21 years old and was born in Minnesota.  Elizabeth is currently studying her second year of Hispanic Philology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took classes in Spanish, literature, and history of Spain.

“It was so much fun to work with my students this semester! I loved watching them improve their grammar, pronunciation, and overall comprehension of the language. This was one of my favorite experiences of my study abroad semester.”

Mikaela Priest
California State University, Chico
Mikaela, 21, is also originally from the state of California and is studying her last year of Physiology at Chico University in California. During her study abroad in Alicante, Mikaela took Spanish and culture classes.

“This semester I did an internship as an English Teaching Assistant at Colegio San José. This experience changed the whole perspective on speaking multiple languages. Some of my students speak 3, 4 or 5 languages and are proficient in all of them. It’s amazing! Teaching English to non-native speakers has taught me a lot about how I learn Spanish. We are all the same and we learn in the same ways. Being around these students every week for the past three months has really inspired me to work my hardest when learning Spanish and keep trying to achieve biliteracy.”

Abrielle Anderson
Portland State University
Abrielle was born in Utah 19 years ago and is currently studying her first year of Hispanic Philology at Portland State University in Oregon. During her study abroad in Alicante, she took classes in Spanish, phonetics, and gender.

“Working in the schools and teaching these kids how to speak English has been one of the best parts of my experience here in Spain. I absolutely fell in love with language, so it’s very cool to be able to share some of that with these upcoming generations. It’s been so rewarding to see that same passion in some of these young students. I’m so impressed with all that they know and all that they have been able to learn at such a young age.”