Sunday, August 2, 2015

Scholarships for teachers to travel abroad

I spent almost 5 weeks of my summer this year in Spain! Thanks to a scholarship from SCOLT I was able to study for 3 weeks at Estudio Sampere in Madrid, Spain.

My scholarship included 3 hours of classes during the week and lodging with a Spanish family who not only provided a bed but also breakfast and dinner, as well as laundry once a week. It didn't include airfare, the extra week and a half I tacked on to travel around, or the extra activities the school provided (like weekend excursions to Toledo, Segovia, and Avila.) Sampere was a great place to study - right next to Retiro Park, lots of activities outside of class, as well as great teachers and staff who all insisted on all Spanish all the time. I really enjoyed my time there and would recommend Estudio Sampere to anyone.

I had two great teachers and awesome classmates at Estudio Sampere in Madrid

I spent my time speaking so much Spanish. Not that I don't speak Spanish during the year but the level of language I use with my novice learners is not sufficient to maintain or raise my own level. Three weeks of intensive classes certainly helped and I was able to learn lots of colloquialisms that make me sound less of a guiri or gringa and more like a fluent speaker.

In addition to all the Spanish I was speaking I got to

1. Visit lots of cool places (Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Barcelona, Tarragona, Cordoba, El Escorial, in addition to thoroughly exploring Madrid.)

2. See amazing art (I went to the Prado twice, attended a lecture on Guernica, discovered Sorolla, developed an obsession with both Velazquez and Picasso's Las Meninas, and was inspired by Miro.)

3. Take part in cultural experiences that I can't wait to share with my students (Castellars building their human towers in Tarragona, cooking classes, huge annual water fight called La Batalla Naval de Vallecas, a live flamenco show, buying cookies from cloistered nuns on a wooden turntable.)

4. Collect books, games, puzzles, take pictures, and other miscellania for use in my classroom this upcoming year.

5. Meet, hang out, and get inspired by other Spanish teachers in my course.

A weekend excursion to Segovia

All of the following organizations have scholarships each year - I highly recommend looking into applying for next summer.

SCOLT - Southern Conference on Language Teaching

CSCTFL - Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

NECTFL - Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

SWCOLT - Southwest Conference on Language Teaching

ACTFL - American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

AATSP - American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

School starts for me in less than 2 weeks. I'm sad to see summer go but I have to say it's certainly been memorable!

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