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Alumnae Teach English in Spain
03.14.11 |
Those students who take advantage of a study abroad program will tell you that the experience provides a lifetime of memories. For two LVC alumnae, those memories called them back overseas to begin a career after graduation

Sarah Rish ’10 and Lauren Throne ’10 are currently living in Albox, Spain, and teaching English and the American culture to Spaniards. The country is familiar to them as both studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, in the fall of 2008.

Known as the country’s most important city in concern to studies, Salamanca attracts numerous study abroad students and is home to the oldest founded University. While studying abroad, Rish and Throne lived with host families and became immediately engulfed in the Spanish culture and language. They took classes at Colegio de España, where they studied art, history, music, traditions, and more with other foreign students, and took adventures with their peers to various parts of Spain.

“I studied abroad in Spain in 2008 and loved it so I knew I had to get back to Spain,” said Rish. “A Spanish friend from Salamanca has a lot of connections with study/work abroad programs and he sent me to the program that I'm in now.”

The program is run by the Spanish government. Each year, about 2,000 grants are awarded to native English speakers, and the individuals then work to share the English language and aspects of American culture in Spanish classrooms.

Rish, a Spanish major with secondary education certification, and Throne, a business administration and accounting major, met early on while attending the Valley. They became closer during their time abroad in 2008.

“We both had a great experience living in Spain and had a strong desire to come back,” said Rish. “We figured that this is the time, when we're young and not yet settled down, to go live and work in a foreign country.”

The two started in Spain at the end of September last year and will remain until June 2011. Because they are enjoying the experience, the two are considering staying in the program for another year. A typical day begins with teaching English or assisting an English teacher in a classroom from morning until lunchtime, typically 2 p.m. Rish mainly works with children ages 4–7 years old, while Throne assists kids from 3 years old to those in sixth grade. Both resume their days in the afternoon, giving private English lessons.

“When I’m not giving private tutoring lessons, I meet with my ‘intercambio’ José, a 30 year old Spaniard interested in spending time in the U.S.,” said Rish. “When I'm with Jose, we speak for a while in English so that I can help him improve, and then we speak in Spanish so he can teach me new words and common ‘street’ Spanish.”

With everything closed from 2–5 p.m. for siesta, Rich and Throne typically eat dinner after 9 p.m. and then meet up with friends. Rish notes that days seem very long, in a good way, and the lifestyle is very relaxed.

Throne has enjoyed her time abroad and finds it difficult to select her favorite moment thus far, but mentions that she was surprised by how much her Spanish has improved. She and Rish have also found ways to share the American culture with their Spanish friends, as they recently taught them American football.

“I've been having a lot of fun, but I guess in terms of the work I'm doing, it's always very rewarding when you see the kids make progress in their English,” said Rish. “It's great when you see a student on the street and they remember how to say something you taught them in class.”

Both strongly encourage students to study abroad. Throne cites that experiencing another culture opens one’s eyes to new things and helps to appreciate the one you grew up amongst.

“I encourage anybody and everybody to study abroad,” said Rish. “It really is such an enriching experience to go outside of your comfort zone and truly engulf in a foreign culture. You will learn so much, not only about that country, but also about yourself. You will grow so much as a person, along with undoubtedly acquiring some really great and amusing stories about your adventures. I think I can sum it up best by citing a quote I recently saw on the wall of a hostel in Barcelona — ‘The world is a book and if you don't travel, you've read only a single page.’”

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