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The Benefits of Spending a Second Year with Meddeas

three English friends visiting Zaragoza, in Spain

When I arrived in Bilbao for the very first time, I had a good few weeks to settle into the Spanish way of life before starting at the school. My second year with Meddeas, however, was a different story. Due to COVID and weeks of waiting for the vaccine back in the UK, my start date was delayed. I flew back to Bilbao and, a few days later, I got back to the school. I was worried that just one weekend wouldn’t be enough to settle in properly, but I was wrong.

It’s Easier to Go Back to School

Day one back at the school and I was greeted with hugs and smiley faces. Everyone asked me about my summer and were all delighted to have me there. Some of the kids even cheered when I walked into the classroom. It was the welcome that I didn’t know I needed, but I appreciated it so much.

Then it was time to get back to teaching. But this year it was so much easier!

colorful drawings from Spanish students welcoming her English Language Assistant. It can be read 'You are the best, Amelia'
Yeah, welcome back.

You Already Know the Students

Firstly, I already knew the students’ names, apart from the youngest who had just moved up a year group. That meant I could jump straight into classes without having to learn who is who. Knowing the kids is a great advantage because I could group them in ways which would benefit the lessons, ensuring there was a mix of confident and shyer children with ranging abilities.

On top of this, I haven’t had to slave away for hours prepping my classes. I can just recycle all the ones I made last year. Of course, I’ve had to adapt a few. I learnt a lot over the past year and some of my initial lesson plans needed a bit of tweaking. But other than that, I’ve managed to use all my classes from the previous year. This means I’ve been able to go into the classroom with more confidence, and that I’ve made the most of my time outside of it.

Soak up the Spanish Lifestyle

I can now dedicate more hours to doing hobbies that I love. Due to COVID, I wasn’t able to do much last year. In staying on in the same city, I now have the chance to fully appreciate Bilbao. I’ve got more opportunities to soak up the culture and Spanish lifestyle. I’ve eaten out in more bars and restaurants in the past two months than I did the whole of last year, and I love it! If I hadn’t continued for a second year with Meddeas, I would’ve missed out on some amazing experiences.

three English girls eating tapas while sitting in a street in Spain
Eating some tapas while sitting in the street is a very Spanish thing to do.

I’m only in my first semester of my second year, but I’m already having such an incredible time. I’m so glad I stayed and cannot wait for the year ahead.

Group of friends staring at the sea in San Sebastian, north of Spain
How will this year ahead look like? Time will tell…

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