Emanuel Michel

I drank and danced with people that were at the beginning of the week strangers

Pueblo Inglés - This is Pueblo Inglés – Emanuel Michel

Pueblo Inglés, such a simple word with so much personal meaning that takes me through memory lane and puts a huge smile on my face. It may be cliché but Pueblo Inglés was a life changing experience for me that largely contributed to the person I am today. As a twenty-one year old with no impressive credentials or certifications to my name I definitely rolled the dice when I applied to Pueblo Inglés especially considering that I only discovered this program through an online article. The article was titled how to travel abroad frugally. So yes, I did use Pueblo Inglés as a vehicle to travel abroad but I would never have expected the profound impact it had on me. I initially was rejected for the primary week I applied for but then to my fortune I was offered a slot as a volunteer some time after. I immediately accepted, bought my flight and waited anxiously for the day of my flight to arrive. I arrived one day prior to the pick up date for the program and I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I still at this point was unsure of the legitimacy of this program because I only knew about it through an online website so it’s fair to say that there was a lot on the line. When I arrived at the address of the pick up I saw an elderly woman and introduced myself thinking she might be a volunteer and she was. This put me at ease and with time more and more people came and I clearly remember as if it were yesterday laying my eyes on this unbelievably beautiful girl and hoping to God that she was in the program. I introduced myself and thankfully lady luck was on my side and she told me she was a student for the program. At this very moment I knew I would the next week would easily be one of the best in my life. All the other Spaniards and volunteers I met from across the globe were great people that fascinated me. It’s such an amazing aspect of the program to recruit volunteers from all across the world because it makes the program more thrilling and diverse which helps expose the students to different dialects of English. At the beginning of the ceremony our coordinator gave us the run down and told us that the time would fly by and we would all become close friends at the end of the week and he couldn’t have been more correct. At the end of the week after spending all day and night under the same roof with 20 plus strangers we all became as close as can be. I suppose that happens when you’re in close quarters but that can also lead to conflict and there was slim to no drama. I loved that we were assigned one on one assignments with the Spanish students because that allowed for a more intimate and personal connection while educating and improving the English of the student. I can recall a specific one on one with a Spanish student named Jorge. During our one-hour personal session we went to the plaza and it was towards the end of the program so I was shopping for souvenirs for my family. I walked into one store that had some cool toys and stuff and as I was looking at a shirt a girl walked in and I glanced over and the girl looked familiar. I starred until it finally hit me that it was my cousin that lives a couple of cities over from me here in Southern California. I was in disbelief and figured it must have been a doppelganger but I took the chance and said hello and when she saw my face I could see the shock in her face and knew immediately that it was indeed my cousin. I’m not sure what the probability of that encounter happening but it still gives me chills to think that I came across with my cousin in the other side of the world in the small town of La Alberca. The most incredible thing is that that moment was not the pinnacle for me that week. That week I drank  and danced with people that were at the beginning of the week strangers and now more than 1 year and a half later I still keep in touch with and are some of the best people I know. The last day of the roller coaster ride was bitter sweet. It was hard to say goodbye to all these people that were now like family even though I only knew them for a week but I was happy to have been blessed enough to have lived the experience and now I have memories that I will cherish deeply for the rest of my life.



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