YOUR ROLE AS A VOLUNTEER

WHAT DO WE OFFER?

In exchange for your English conversation, we offer you free accommodation and free meals in a rural hotel located in the area of Picos de Europa National Park, Asturias, Spain as well as medical and accident insurance during your stay with us. You’ll have a chance to try typical foods from the region, meet new and interesting people from all over Spain and the rest of the world, gain a better understanding of the Spanish culture, participate in fun activities and share your own stories and experiences. However, this is not just a free vacation….

WHAT WE EXPECT FROM YOU…

An ideal volunteer is someone who loves to exchange ideas and experiences with others, but at the same time, has the patience to help and support language learners. They are flexible and open to new experiences and should be inclusive towards everyone, creating a healthy group dynamic.

As a volunteer you will need to:

  • Talk, talk, talk – your primary job will be to talk and to expose the students to your own unique form of English. We want you to speak here like you would to your own friends at home so that the students will be exposed to “real”, unfiltered English.
  • Be patient and supportive – For the students that come to our programs, speaking up to 15 hours a day in a foreign language is a huge, sometimes overwhelming, challenge. Therefore, you will need to have patience and support them as they try to express themselves in a language that may be outside of their comfort zone.
  • Correct mistakes – One of the strengths of our programs are the one-to-ones, where the students have a chance to really express themselves in a personal way. It is important to always encourage the students to speak and to “tastefully” correct their mistakes. After all, making mistakes is a big part of the learning process and therefore corrections are a necessity for improvement.
  • Participate actively – With one-to-ones, group activities, discussion groups, variety hours, etc., we provide a large diversity of activities to keep you entertained. The more involved you can be, the better. Participate actively and get everyone involved, especially the students.
  • Be punctual – Out of consideration for all those involved, we need to make sure that the activities begin on time and that the program runs as smoothly as possible.
  • Only speak in English – We want to create an English immersion environment, which can only be accomplished if everyone follows this rule. If the students know that you can communicate in their home language, they may relax too much and be tempted to slip into Spanish when they see you.

We know that some of you may have the ability to speak in other languages, and even in Spanish, but PLEASE DO NOT consider this an opportunity to show off your skills!!! You will have plenty of time to do that once you leave the program.

WHY SPEAKING ONLY ENGLISH IS IMPORTANT

For each of our Spanish clients, we have made a commitment to provide an English immersion environment in which English will be spoken 100% of the time. This is something that we take very seriously because within an immersion environment, the presence of a second language can be detrimental to the learning experience.

For the Spanish students, it is incredibly challenging to begin using English on a 24 hour basis. It requires a huge mental exertion to put forth the effort to communicate all day in a foreign language. Therefore, the moment that a Spanish student thinks that they can be understood in their own native language, the mentality of the participant and the immersion environment that we strive to create becomes compromised.