Maya Dileep Kumar is originally from India and came to Barcelona in November 2017. She completed her TEFL course in June 2018 and the Developing Teacher with Spanish course between July 2018 and July 2019. With the help of our visa service, this combination allowed her to stay in Spain and work legally for up to 20 hours per week. Find out more about Maya’s experience in this blog post.
What is your background?
My name is Maya. I’m Indian, but have grown up in Dubai. I used to work in the media industry before changing career paths.
Why did you choose to study in Barcelona?
Initially I was looking for a change of pace, scene and people which is why decided to move to Barcelona. Learning Spanish had always been one of my goals and I figured that Barcelona would be the perfect place to put down some roots; the place being quite metropolitan with the friendly people and amazing weather.
What are your reasons for taking these courses?
The Developing Teacher with Spanish course had the perfect syllabus with enough learning opportunities to improve my teaching techniques, observe other teachers and receive ample help with lesson planning-all while developing my Spanish speaking abilities. It also ensured that the classes were only in the morning; which made it easier to work part time at schools.
What was the visa process like?
I must say that the visa process was uniquely easy with Corinne’s help. She patiently and elaborately clarified all my queries via email and in person once I got to Barcelona and when I decided to extend my visa. The paperwork was done quickly and efficiently and the process was pretty straightforward, especially with the information regarding what had to be done.
What was the Developing Teacher with Spanish course like?
The Developing Teacher with Spanish course was a saving grace in all aspects as it gave me the opportunity to interact with some incredible teachers at Oxford House, and to make friends who were in the same boat as I was. Since Oxford TEFL has played a formative role in my teaching career, being able to have the help and assistance I needed to improve my styles and methods of teaching-right where I began-was highly beneficial. Kate, Sam and Billie made sure that they were there whenever I needed the help.
Having started at an A1 level, the Spanish classes helped me advance through the levels with ease with more than enough speaking practice and teachers who made the classes interesting and fun. Moreover, it proved to be a valuable experience as a developing teacher, observing the Spanish teachers, since it gave me a new outlook on what students go through while learning a new language and what they possibly expect out of a foreign language class.
How did this course help you develop as a teacher?
The daily lesson planning sessions were really useful. Sam was readily available to not just help with the lesson planning but also as a motivator since we were all new teachers. Being able to have interactive fun space to discuss with other teachers who were starting out as well right after the CELTA course was pretty amazing too. The Friday workshops with Billie and Melody were beneficial too as they always targeted a
specific topic for a month which also required us to hand in an assignment at the end. I found this practical as it helped us reflect regularly on what we’d learned and how we’d used it in our classrooms.
What were your Spanish classes like?
The Spanish classes were quite interactive and effective. The foundation for the language was built thoroughly and the speaking practice that we received were incorporated into fun activities and games that helped strengthen our grasp on the language. We were always encouraged to continue speaking in Spanish outside the classroom and the teachers whom we’d run into in the hallways ensured that they spoke to us in Spanish too.
What was your typical day like during this course (working and studying)?
A typical day would start with a 2 hour Spanish class in the morning followed by an hour long lesson planning session. After a quick lunch I’d head out to my school to teach teens and adults and the day would end with some writing corrections and some Spanish homework.
What is it like to live in Barcelona?
I’m pretty sure that there’s no other place like Barcelona. It’s a colourful, shiny melting pot of cultures, languages and people. I’d initially thought it would be quite difficult to get by with my minimal Spanish but people are highly appreciative of even the smallest of efforts put in to interact with them in their language; be it Catalan or Spanish, and are often pleased to help you out wherever you go. I’d say don’t be afraid to ask ‘como se dice…,’ anytime and anywhere. The community of teachers in Barcelona are unbelievably supportive and friendly. It’s quite easy to find a friend who’d help you with any teaching queries and then get a cup of coffee with. The relaxed atmosphere in Barcelona makes you feel like you’re on vacation all the time. I’m sure this is a lifestyle I’d find pretty hard to give up.
What is your favourite spot in Barcelona?
To pick just one is asking next to impossible. How can one not like everything about Barcelona and every place? But if I really had to pick…it would have to be the Bunkers del Carmel. It’s hard to put into words why; but you’ll see once you’ve been there.
Can you give one top tip to someone thinking about coming to Barcelona on a long-term student visa?
One, don’t put things off especially with paperwork. At first it’ll seem like there’s a lot that needs to be done. But once you get the ball rolling everything falls into place.
Can you give one top tip to new arrivals in Barcelona?
The pace of things in the city might surprise you a little bit. Nobody is in a hurry to get anywhere. It feels like one of the last remaining places where people actually take a minute to just be. So don’t worry too much.
Do you dream about living and working in Barcelona? You too could take our CELTA course and Developing Teacher with Spanish course and take advantage of our comprehensive visa service. Get in touch or apply here to start your TEFL journey.