My dear friend Tracy and I had one of the most unforgettable and rewarding girlfriend travel experiences of our lives when we traveled to Spain for a week to teach conversational English to corporate business executives near Madrid.
By the final evening of the program we all hugged and tears flowed as we forged lasting friendships and bonds that would likely last a lifetime with our students and new friends.
Vaughtantown offers a fantastic experience for girlfriends, college students, couples, and even families with young children to travel to various locations throughout Europe while the adults in the family/group “teach” conversational English to the adults as the kids mingle, socialize, play and “teach” the children. Tracy and I decided to do this together as we have traveled many times together over our 20 year friendship, and we certainly had a blast.
What better fun than to immerse yourself in a culture and international human experience than as a couple, a couple of friends or as a family serving, and all the while staying for free at a four-star resort or castle, dining, living, recreating and bonding with native Spaniards?
We chose to stay in Gredos, Avila, Spain on a gorgeous ranch in the countryside just a few hours from Madrid and we picked October for our Vaughantown program. During our teaching, we dined with the Spaniards three times a day savoring delicious local fare, fine wine, and culture. In small, intimate groups, we produced skits and plays, team building exercises, mock phone calls, role playing projects, and in our free time we even toured the historic countryside and castles with our eager-to-learn, new Spanish friends.
Each gorgeous morning we woke to native birds serenading us, while we watched colts frolicking in the pastures as far as the eye could see. Much of our days we spent meandering along centuries old rock walls and castles while we practiced conversational English, and at night we relaxed with our new friends in front of blazing fireplaces as we leisurely sipped regional wines and snacked on local produce, cheeses, and meats. Often, we talked till the wee hours of the morning with our newfound comrades. Most afternoons we did like the locals and took afternoon siestas.
I suppose that technically it was “work” although honestly, it never really felt like it. We helped our friends grow in their quickly expanding command of their conversational skills and in doing so, bonds developed of trust and deep appreciation.
Each day was somewhat structured in the sense that we would have a schedule of certain activities and outings to do with various participants in groups, and one on one, yet it never felt rigid or anything less than fun and enjoyable.
The Spaniards threw a party for all us Anglos at the end of our stay which included a dance party the very last night. It proved to be a profound and moving experience to see about 40 people, half of them the Spaniards and the other half the English speaking “teachers” from Australia, England, Texas, San Diego, Florida, the Carolinas, and South Africa, all come together and blend as a group with one common goal. We were all there to assist and grow one another while forming treasured friendships.
Tracy and I now have dozens of Spanish friends who will welcome us back to their fascinating country and who say they feel indebted to us for improving their corporate job performance. Most are employed by companies such as Oracle, HP, solar energy firms, law, aviation, and other high profile jobs requiring outstanding conversational English skills. They had taken grammar courses and could conjugate a verb but would be perplexed and intimidated with many nuances of our language and our help was invaluable in giving them that edge.
If teaching and completely immersing in a culture with its customs, foods, laws, politics, and human experience sounds intriguing, you will want to consider a Vaughantown program.
There are various programs with differing duration, location, and ages. Spend a little time on the website and see if one fits your needs, as there are so many to choose from. You can apply online and then furnish your preferred dates and program. The Vaughantown staff will do their best to accommodate your preferences.
You will teach, but you will also learn and be enriched in ways you may not even fathom.
I recommend you stay for a few extra days, like we chose to do, on both sides of our teaching commitment, touring various neighboring regions in Europe.
You will be undoubtedly blessed.