nashburner's Travel Journals


  • From London, United Kingdom
  • Currently in Madrid, Spain

English Tutor in Madrid

My time in Madrid. The differences in the culture, how I find it living here, my general thoughts and feelings

My arrival

Spain Madrid, Spain  |  Jun 21, 2012
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OK, So I arrived on Sunday and it’s now Thursday. I’ve had a few days to get my bearings and start to settle in for life here. At the moment 6 weeks is sounding a very long time! They say it takes a couple of weeks to settle in and I can believe that as it all feels a little alien so far.  My family are lovely, although differences between the Spanish and English culture are really beginning to show. They eat very late here and lunch is the biggest meal which is quite hard to get my head around. Ángela is the girl I am teaching English, she is 12 years old and an only child so its just me, her and the parents in the apartment. It feels slightly lonely for this reason as I’m used to having lots of people around (at home I have 2 siblings and at university I live with 4 other friends). But the apartment isn’t very big so at the same time, when everyone is in, I feel a bit like we are living on top of each other. Ángela is lovely and we have started our lessons although she is still at school so we have to have them about 3ish. I think i will prefer it next week when she finishes school as we will have lessons in the morning and I will have the afternoon free to do what I like (sunbathing! Hehe). The lessons are just conversational, 3 hours of talking in English. They are harder than I would have thought because although I have a 12 year old brother, talking to one for 3 hours is quite tiring. You can’t exactly talk to them about things you would talk to your friends about and she always wants to play games. She is extremely bossy but quite funny and I like her. The one thing I have noticed is that she can sometimes sound quite rude in English because in Spanish they are a lot more blunt than us. She says things like “Give me that” and I have to keep reminding her to say please. This is just a translation issue, in Spanish they would simply say give me that whereas in English it sounds rude and we like to go the long way about it with “Please may you pass me that?”. It’s just another cultural difference but I think it is important to teach her because not all English people will be as understanding and just think she is rude! My Spanish has greatly improved already although it is frustrating as I am nowhere near as good as I was a few years ago, I am slowly remembering it. And I have to speak it with the family so it is good practice for me. I am beginning to understand bits of conversations the family has together and considering it’s only been a few days, I think I will improve so much over 6 weeks. I would like to have proper classes though as my tenses are pretty rusty. The family is nice although very strict it seems. They seem very blunt and don’t smile a lot. I think that is just the way they are and nothing to do with me though, they are stern people without meaning it. Rocio (Ángelas mum) has told me that she speaks loudly and that previous tutors like me have thought she was angry with them but that she’s not its just the way she is. They do not laugh and smile a lot, not like families in England, I think that we don’t tend to take ourselves as seriously as they do here. However I do think this family in particular is quite strict, they have very clear rules about things and will tell you if you do something wrong which I guess is a good thing, just a world away from my house in England where my mum is so laid back, everyone feels welcome and comfortable in our house. Here I feel a bit like I am treading on eggshells! But it is something I think I will get used to and I am enjoying my time here. I have found people online who are in Madrid at a similar time so hopefully I will meet up with them. Ángela also has two friends with English tutors coming, one this weekend and one next weekend. This is exciting as I look forward to having people my own age to hang around with and go out with. So I think it’s going to get a lot better and although I miss my family and friends and English stuff like the food and the green countryside a lot, I want to make the most of my time here! It will be interesting to write again next week and see if much has changed.

Hasta luego,

Natalie xx

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  • My arrival

    June 21, 2012
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