One of the many ways I was able to immerse myself in the Barcelona lifestyle included the time I spent volunteering in an elementary school. During my time abroad, I would meet with the first grade class at Escola Baixeras weekly and help out during their English class.
I am incredibly thankful for the time I spent volunteering at Escola Baixeras throughout the past few months. This experience has been so valuable in a multitude of ways. I was able to see how the education system functions in Catalan culture, as well as develop and strengthen a number of skills.
Though I was teaching an English language class, I had my work cut out for me with the first graders. I was not sure of their proficiency in the language, and it varied depending on the student’s background. I remember speaking to one of the girls on the first day, and she told me that she didn’t know any English. I told her that I don’t know too much Spanish and suggested we could be there to help each other out. Through my interaction with these students, I was able to gain experience with different languages and translating, as well as working with children. I also feel that I have developed many soft skills, such as adaptability, confidence, and teamwork. I felt that I was very challenged the one day the teacher was not there and I led an activity on my own. I was the leader in the classroom that day and wanted to facilitate a fun, enjoyable craft while still monitoring children’s behavior and resolving any conflicts that were initiated. I feel enriched after spending time at Escola Baixeras and my communication, leadership, and patience have improved tremendously. I now have more special connections and fond memories to think of when I reflect on my time in Barcelona.