My story begins backwards. I didn’t start out even thinking about going to Spain so it came to me! I was vaguely aware of flamenco and paella when I agreed to host a Spanish exchange student 9 years ago. I was a busy university nursing professor raising 2 kids and caring for my ill parents and I was sure I’d lost my mind when I agreed to take on another teenager, let alone a Spanish one!
Who knew that this extraordinary young man would become my doorway into a whole new world? Through him and his lively, funny friends, we learned so much about Spanish culture that we decided to visit Spain the following summer, forming lasting bonds with his family and falling in love with incredible, beautiful España. I was hooked and wanted to find a way to go back and delve deeper into the culture, language, and people. My sister came upon a newspaper article about Pueblo Ingles written by a young woman who had recently volunteered, and I knew it was the perfect fit for me. As anticipated, my first experience was unforgettable, and I’ve returned several times now. I am also proud to say that I’ve been studying Spanish and am saving up to do the reverse program, Pueblo Ingles one day soon, I hope!
I am an ordinary American nurse, educator, wife and mom. Cultural immersion has become a passion for me, though, and my friends and family now wonder what I’ll do next, be it backpacking in Peru or wandering around Barcelona meeting up with old friends from Pueblo Ingles! I am grateful and humbled by the experiences that I’ve had working with Spanish speakers learning English, and vice versa as I struggle with my own studies! I believe that the learning goes far deeper than just language; when people strive to communicate in ways that are new and uncomfortable, they are truly changing the world.