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Life in Seville / January Interns / Part 3

Alexandra - Working as a Language Assistant at Colegio Britanico de Sevilla

'My work placement is brilliant! It’s a 2 hour commute (walk then bus) but it’s such a beautiful city in the mornings that the time flies by. I’ve been assigned one child at my school to work with as she has very little reading and writing ability in Spanish and in English but I look forward to it everyday as when it clicks you know you’ve done your job! It’s definitely rewarding, the only thing is there’s no Spanish spoken so I’m not learning very much, but you’ve the intercambios for that anyway!

Last week end a few of us went to visit the alcazar. It’s absolutely beautiful and well worth the extra euros to skip the queue. The weather has been perfect so even sitting by the river doing planning is something special. I’ve been on a couple nights out with the people I work with, and they’re so much fun. Everyone makes you feel so welcome and want to learn all about why you chose Sevilla. I know some people have been hiking but as I work long days I haven’t had the chance but am hoping to go next week with another who worked Friday. There’s so much to do you’re never stuck wondering how to pass time. There’s jazz in the afternoon and free flamenco some evenings. It’s a lovely place to live and I feel so at home even after being here for only 2 weeks.'

- Photo curtesy of Alexandra of the most beautiful view from the alcazar

Milla - Working as a Language Assistant at Colegio Britanico de Sevilla

'My role is a teaching assistant within Colegio Britanico de Sevilla, focusing on helping the Lower KS2 pupils. I applied with the intention of not only gaining experience of working with children, and equally to experience living in the beautiful Sevilla. With this in mind, I hadn't anticipated quite how much I would enjoy the school half of the experience. Although my days are some of the longest out of the group, they tend to fly by as I have been enjoying the experience. Although it's early days I would like to think I have found my feet in the role with the support of my coordinator and the teaching team at CBS.

The LKS2 groups who I help with are fantastic. Now I am starting to get to know their personalities individually, getting to see and help them interact with challenging new topics, or grapple with difficult problems and succeed is definitely a highlight of my day; luckily for me I get to have lots of these little moments.

- Photo curtesy of Milla of Plaza Espana

Sevilla is a beautiful city, this much I already knew. That and the fact that the weather in January can get warmer than summer in Scotland, these first two weeks have been packed with the obligatory hunting for new cafes, bars, sights, and sounds - all accompanied by the soothing knowledge that I'm lucky enough to have all these on my new doorstep. It's been no struggle to adopt the Sevillana rhythm for free time, enjoying late night tapas and drinks with friends is hardly gruelling.'

Richard - English Teacher at Centris School

I am working at a language academy called Centris in a town called Tomares. First impressions were that it was quite far out from the city centre. However, once I set up the Servici and worked out the metro system it relatively easy to get to. The academy is small, only two classrooms, with two permanent teachers. When we started one of the teachers had called in sick so we were immediately thrust in to the deep end teaching his lessons for 6 hours straight with no preparation time. So it was somewhat of a baptism of fire. Now the teacher has returned we are mostly shadowing so it has gone from one extreme to the other. Hopefully over the next few weeks we will take on more responsibility and have the opportunity to prepare and teach our own lessons.

- Photo curtesy of Richard with Gregory

Outside of work I have been having a great time exploring the city and surrounding areas. So far I have fully embraced being a tourist and visited the Cathedral, The Alcazar (one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I've ever been)

and Italica (the Roman town featured recently in Game of Thrones). There are so many bars and cafes to visit. I usually spend the mornings before work with a café con leche and tostada! The group are great company and there always seems to be someone ready to grab a coffee or socialise in the evening.

- Photo curtesy of Richard

The hardest thing to adjust to has been the weather. It seems to be a balancing act of being to hot in the sun or freezing cold in the shade. The flats are designed to keep cool so the nights are particularly cold (sleeping in a hoodie and had woolly hat). The working hours are from 4 in the afternoon to 10pm and I arrive back to my apartment at about 11. It has therefore been hard to adjust to a routine that involves eating healthily, socialising and getting work done. However, the school is closed on Fridays so a 3 day weekend provides a great opportunity to catch up with people, explore the surrounding areas and eat and drink well!

Evan - Working as a Research Assistant at Doñana Biological Station

I am working as a research assistant at the Doñana Biological station, investigating the use of urban waste treatment plants by the Yellow-legged Gull. The role itself is entirely computer based, employing GIS software such as QGIS and ArcGIS to estimate which sites in Europe are being used by the gulls, and cross referencing the locations of each site with up-to-date satellite imagery. At first it seemed like quite a daunting prospect to use this software, which I wasn’t overly familiar with. It certainly proved frustrating at times, however, by the time the first two weeks had passed, it became much more familiar and I was able to carry on with very few problems. The working environment is very relaxed and everyone is very friendly, we often go to the café next door for a coffee and a tostada during our break, giving me chance to practice my Spanish.

Despite the role being based at the computer, my supervisor is happy to let me go to the field with others working in the biological station, as and when the opportunity arises. This week I went with small team to a wetland in Huelva, in order to collect sediment cores for their research. Whilst in the field, I was able to see a great array of wildlife, including Flamingos!

- Photo curtesy of Evan of Flamingos in Las Marismas del Odiel, Huelva

I have been thoroughly enjoying my free time here in Seville, and I have made sure to squeeze in as many activities as possible in between work, assignments and Spanish practice. During the week days, I have been going to the local boxing gym (when I can summon up the energy), which has been a great way to keep fit and interact with local people. Every Thursday night I have been attending the language Intercambios at bar Meraki. It is a very laid-back setting, making it easy to strike up a conversation with locals who share an interest for learning languages. Some of the highlights so far have been; visiting the Sierra Norte for the day with some of the other interns, watching live Jazz on a sunny Sunday afternoon and, of course, working my way through the best tapas bars that the city has to offer (there are a lot!).

- Photo curtesy of Evan Sierra Norte de Sevilla

This is not my first time living in Seville, so I was able to quickly readjust to life in the city. There is definitely a slower pace of life here. At first, the shopping hours and meal times can prove a little difficult to get used if you aren’t expecting it!

Despite this, during the first week there was a little bit of uncertainty about what will be required of me for the job, organising transport to and from work and simply establishing a routine.

I now feel very settled in my job, and the SEVici communal bike scheme has proved invaluable for getting around the city, as well as getting to and from work! I am very much looking forward to the remainder of my time here and sharing it with the other interns, who have undoubtedly contributed to my positive experiences so far.

- Photo curtesy of Evan of Cork Oak forest in the Sierra Norte de Sevilla

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