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Life in Seville / January Interns / Part 2

Sophie & Ellie - Foodbank Workers & Teaching Assistants at Co-operacion Internacional

- Photo curtesy of Sophie & Ellie or donated clothes at Co-operacion

'The internship at Cooperación Internacional consists of helping out at a food bank and teaching English. At the food bank, we work 4 days a week and our role varies a lot. At the beginning, we completed paperwork because you can sit behind a desk and focus on one task. We have to check identification and keep a record of what each family receives which they then sign. When we gained more confidence in speaking Spanish, we then rotated roles and we now do a variety of tasks such as checking the register of names, making up the food boxes and distributing them to the families. We have also recently begun to organise all the donated clothes that the bank receives. Up until now, they were piled up on a table at the back of the waiting area. We have now created a system of displaying everything neatly and hope to add shelves for shoes, accessories and books so that the bags of donations no longer sit unopened gathering dust! Our colleagues at the bank are so friendly and welcoming and constantly offer us traditional Spanish sweets such as 'mantecado' and marzipan. We don't go hungry on our breaks! They speak exclusively in Spanish too which is really helping us to get used to the accent.'

- Photo curtesy of Sophie & Ellie of the cows they visit to feed wasted food

'This week, Sophie got to see the cows which a local farmer owns. The fruit and vegetables which have gone mouldy are given to the cows which minimises food waste. We also hope to participate in a project whereby local families open their homes to schoolchildren to show them how other people, often in the same neighbourhood, live. The bank is doing really worthwhile work and we both feel so privileged to be contributing to this. We also teach at el Instituto de Educación Secundaria twice a week, once their school day has finished from 4-6 pm. The kids are between the age of 11-16. The classes are put on by the school to give the kids an opportunity to learn a subject that they might not otherwise have been able to. The school is located in an under privileged area of the city where resources are lacking and there is a strong need to strengthen their education. There are around 10 students in the class normally, but this changes each lesson. The class is of a mixed level but the majority of them have a very basic level of English. We have a lot of freedom in how and what we teach them. So far, we have covered animals, food and drink and some grammar. The most important thing is to keep them interested and make it fun so we mainly play games indoors or outdoors so they are enjoying themselves while learning at the same time. It is a very enjoyable time in our week and the kids are very interactive and fun to be around. Hopefully as the weeks go on it will be rewarding to see their improvement, small or big!'

- Photo curtesy of Sophie & Ellie, view of Seville from a bridge over the Guadalquivir river.

Asia - Working as a general assistant at Ecologistas en Accion

'I work as a General Assistant for Ecologistas en Acción, a social-ecological movement spread across cities in Spain. My role is to help my coordinator in maintaining educational allotment where we hold weekly workshops about organic food growing and recycling. Apart from that I also assist in running similar workshops in various schools across Seville as well as helping run agricultural and gardening courses. Last weekend I've helped in organising an artisan market which was a great sucess and so much fun! Not a single day is the same and for a nature lover like me this internship is a dream-come-true. There is a lot of practical and theorethical knowledge to take in and the placement provides a great opportunity to practice and learn more Spanish. Overall. I am positively surprised as I am learning so much about organic food growing, medicinal properties of plants, composting and so much more I feel three months is not enough!! ;)

- Photo curtesy of Asia of snapshots from work at Ecologistas

When not working or learning Spanish I like to explore local parks and go for a run along the river which is very close to my flat. Luckily, most of interesting places around Seville are reachable by foot so I go for long walks with friends and end the day with some tapas and good wine, which is so delicious and cheap here! There are many free music and cultural events happing every weekend so there is never time to get bored. Adjusting to the life in Seville was pretty straight-forward as locals are very friendly and helpful. My flatmates are really lovely bunch of people and we have a beautiful view of Seville from our balcony so it really feels like home. I don't want to leave!'

- Photo curtesy of Asia of snapshot of Seville

Georgia - working at FACUA as a translator

'I'm working as a translator at FACUA, and the first two weeks have largely been spent translating articles from Spanish into English, to help the organisation maintain their English language website and reach a wider audience. Before coming to Seville, I knew very little about consumer rights, so this role has been completely new to me. I'm translating articles on a wide range of topics, and learning a lot in the process - the articles vary, and can sometimes be technical in content, so research is a key part of my role to ensure I am translating correctly. I have also translated end of year reports for the organisation to send out to international partners, and have been asked to translate important communications and event invites we receive from English into Spanish to be passed on to colleagues. Due to working with Spanish daily, I am picking up more phrases and getting used to reading in Spanish and translating again. However, due to how hard everybody works in the office and my working hours, I don't get the opportunity to speak much Spanish at work, which is a shame! I'm planning to make up for this in my free time.

When not at work, so far I've been getting to know Seville and enjoying the places and activities it has to offer. The pursuit of good tapas has been central to this, and you never have to go far! Seville is home to utterly amazing (and cheap!) food, and I'm looking forward to touring more restaurants. I've also taken up salsa classes and joined the gym, which are both great ways of immersing yourself in Spanish and getting to know people. Last weekend, a group of us also took a day trip to a nearby village and went out for a walk in the Sierra Norte. With the weather looking up, it's great to be outdoors and the beauty of Seville is that escaping to the countryside is just a short trip away.

I'm adjusting well and am really pleased that it's warming up - in winter months you really are warmer outdoors than in! I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks and months have to offer and am looking for more opportunities to use and improve my spoken Spanish.'

- Photo curtesy of Georgia of interns out on a day trip in the Sierra Norte.

Molly - Working at Queens College as an English Teacher

'I work for Queen's College, an after-school academy for students aged between 4 and 14 to improve their English. I'm having an amazing time here, I'm already teaching most classes by myself, which is an incredible learning experience and is giving me a lot of confidence, as I have never taught before. Me and the students have a great time together, discussing the topics of the lesson and playing games at the end; even the 14 year olds get into it!

In my free time, when I'm not relaxing on our lovely balcony, I have been attending intercambios (language exchanges) where I get to practise my Spanish, help others with their English and meet new and interesting people all at the same time! I've also been visiting the amazing selection of museums and other cultural spots in the city, which seem to be endless, as well as the incredible tapas restaurants on every street.

Adjusting to this new Spanish life has been very easy thanks to the wonderful support of 3si and B3st, and the beautiful weather has definitely helped. This is my first time not living with a family and being fully independent, and it's been amazing! I love choosing what I want to eat and where I want to go and having complete freedom over my life.'

- Photo curtesy of Molly

Lucy - Working as a research assistant at Doñana Biological Station

I have really enjoyed my first few weeks in Seville, I love the laid-back Spanish lifestyle and culture around food and drink so I feel I fit in quite well. I've also been lucky with my job as I've joined the project just as all the exciting work has begun. We have been going out to different wetland sites in Doñana National Park and taking samples for our study on greenhouse gas fluctuations involving invertebrates and wetland birds. This work has allowed me to visit one of the most biodiverse places in Europe, see thousands of flamingos, loads of other cool birds and wild boar! Of course there have also been days spent in the lab analysing the samples; which has been very interesting and I definitely feel I am learning a lot.

- Photo curtesy of Lucy with her waders on at one of the wetland sites she is studying at.

In my spare time I've been trying to speak as much Spanish as I can and taste as many different Spanish foods as I can. Im also planning a couple of trips out into the mountains but I do love life here in the city.

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