Suzette

Dates employed: October 2010 – June 2011 and staying on next year

LIVING AND WORKING IN ANDÚJAR

The Town
Andujar is a small historical town.The people are warm and friendly. There are a lot of good local shops.There is a cinema, theatre, sport centre,local swimming pool which is very useful for the summer.There are also a lot of gyms.There are numerous bars, pubs and restuarants all within walking distance.

Getting Around
Possibilities of shopping in Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada all within easy reach by public transport.

The School
The school is in the city centre providing a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

Materials and Resources
Wide range of books, DVDs, games and activities. All classrooms are equipped with a digital white board (eBeam).

The Staff
The teachers have Celta or Delta teaching qualifications.The majority of the teachers have many years of experience teaching a range of levels and they know how to make learning not only fun, but also highly effective. They have a constant willingness to help new teachers and are very friendly.

Students/Classes/Levels
Students are friendly and helpful and they love the idea that they have a native teacher and this arouses interest. A wide range of levels and gives you a lot of experience on a personal level.

Teacher Training
Teacher support, both personal and professional is very important in the school.Support is always available for class planning, class management, material design, technology and any other area of teachers activities.
Continuous staff training is regarded as being vital to the ongoing development of teachers as individuals and the school as a whole.Teachers are observed once a term.There are teachers’ meetings regularly and this leads to motivation and working together as a team.

Finding a Flat
It’s very easy to find cheap flats to rent in Andujar and information is always available and any help needed always given.

The Cost of Living
The cost of living is quite low and affordable and with time you will know where to find cheaper products in different places in town like food and clothes.

Suzette Ronel Cillliers

Nick (year 2)

How long have you worked at ECI?
For two years (2009-11)

What made you decide to stay on for another year?
I was happy in the area, was getting to know people around town, enjoyed my first year teaching at the school and saw it as a chance to further my professional development.

Comment on the role of the school in the following areas:
a) Support regarding everyday living in Andújar
From the day we arrived, we’ve had all the support and help we could ask for in terms of finding somewhere to live, settling in, getting used to living in the town and area and all manner of little things along the way – having this support allowed us to concentrate on the teaching side of things, and made it much easier to adjust to living here and focus on our job. Our landlord has been excellent, too.

b) Training/helping me grow professionally
The school has always been ready to support us in furthering our experience and ambitions, from both financial perspectives and in terms of encouragement and help with the specifics; arranging training around our needs, encouraging us to lead sessions and share our experiences etc.
Starting on the Delta has made aspects of this year challenging – not least managing the workload – but the help we’ve received from the school has made it wholly do-able.

Comment on the type of social life you have had (meeting people, blending in).
Andújar’s a moderately-sized, conservative town – and of course, there are few native speakers outside of work – but this has its upsides. People are friendly and welcoming, and unfailingly generous if you make a little effort. We’ve enjoyed making friends here, and will miss those we’ve got to know – and it’s been extremely good for our Spanish living here. Andújar itself has everything you’d need socially and practically, as well as goodish transport links to nearby, larger cities.

5. How have you managed moneywise (food, rent, travelling and going out)?

Wages go a long way here – rent is much cheaper than that we’ve been used to paying in the UK, and your money goes a long way in terms of finding spacious, well-equipped and well-located accommodation. Travelling around is also pretty affordable, and food and drink are equally cheap – it’s not expensive to eat well here, and I’ve enjoyed not having to worry about buying quality products at the market. Seafood in particular is a bargain.

6. What recommendations would you give to someone coming to work at the school/live in Andujar?

I think it’s important to know what to expect from Andújar, especially in terms of the social circle you’ll need to build up – but with an open attitude, it’s not hard to meet people. The students are extremely friendly and will often help you in this respect. Although transport’s decent, having your own car is a real advantage – while the major cities are all well-connected by bus and train, there are some great off-the-beaten-track places nearby that would otherwise be difficult to reach if you didn’t have your own transport. Parking can be a pain in Andújar, though, so a garage would be a good idea.

Nick Adams

Maria (year 2)

1. How long have you worked at ECI?
2 years

2. What made you decide to stay on for another year?
Liked the local area, liked my classes and the timetable

Comment on the role of the school in the following areas:
a) Support regarding everyday living in Andujar: we received lots of support when we arrived in finding a flat and finding our way around. We also received lots of information about the local area (travel information / where to shop etc) and local events.
b) Training/helping me grow professionally: I’ve been given lots of opportunity to provide training and to experiment with new ideas, particularly with regard to the new interactive whiteboards.
We also received lots of support in module 1 of the Delta, and discussion groups were organised to pool ideas which would help us to prepare for the exam. The school also ordered the books necessary to complete module 3, which I’ve been very grateful for.

4. Comment on the type of social life you have had (meeting people, blending in)
Living in a small town helps with this-I really wanted to learn Spanish and outside of the big cities, people will let you practice this, rather than addressing you in English. It’s also easy to get to know the locals by interacting on an everyday basis when buying food etc.
5. How have you managed moneywise (food, rent, travelling and going out)?
It’s much easier to manage financially here than in England, as the rent is low and food and drink is cheap. Even in big, tourist areas the prices are not astronomical, as you might expect e.g. it only costs €11 to enter the Alhambra in Granada. One thing that is more expensive is the cost of bills- internet / telephone / electricity.

6. What recommendations would you give to someone coming to work at the school/live in Andujar?
Bear in mind that the winter here can be cold, and that houses are not as well insulated as in England- you may need a winter coat, as well as a pair of thick pyjamas and a decent duvet!
Shop at the market rather than at supermarkets, where possible- people are very friendly ad will chat to you, and the food there is fresher and much better value

Maria Ardley

Maria

Dates employed: From Sep 2009 and staying on

LIVING AND WORKING IN ANDÚJAR

The Town- Andujar is a nice-sized town. It doesn’t have loads to do, but there is a cinema and plenty of bars, and Cordoba is within easy distance if you want a good place to go shopping.

Getting Around- It’s very easy to get around virtually the whole town on foot. Buses and trains are relatively frequent and buses in particular are very cheap.

The School- It’s a nice size with a pleasant courtyard in the middle.

Materials and Resources- There are plenty of resources and materials in the staff room, including several sets of themed flashcards and some games to play with students.

The Staff- Staff have a good range of experience and are friendly.

Students/Classes/Levels- Students are generally very friendly and nice to teach. I have a range of levels and ages, so can gain a good range of experience, including in exam classes. I enjoy having a mixture of children, teenagers and adults.

Teacher Training- There is a training session in Seville once a year which provides some useful and interesting workshops, as well as a couple of other sessions organised by the aceia organisation during the year.

Finding a Flat- I had a lot of help with this and found a really nice flat. One thing you need to ensure is that you have a flat with good heating and air-conditioning.

The Cost of Living- Andujar is a reasonably-priced place to live- rent is relatively cheap and if you buy your meat, fruit and veg at the market then you save a lot on food too. Going out for a beer or coffee is much cheaper than in England.

Health Cover- Despite going to the doctor’s several times, I don’t feel like I’ve ever overpaid- prescriptions are very reasonably priced- depending on what you need, you normally only have to pay between 1 and 2 euros for medication.

Maria Ardley

Nick

Dates employed: From Sep 2009 and staying on

LIVING AND WORKING IN ANDÚJAR

The Town- A pleasant, easy-going provincial town, Andujar’s a consistently agreeable, friendly place in which one can quickly get to know the people and language. With all the basic facilities you could need by way of shops, bars, restaurants and cinema, it’s also ideally situated for countryside – the extensive hills of the Sierra Morena – and city, with Cordoba, Jaen and Granada within an hour or two’s easy drive.
Getting Around- Trains and buses offer regular connections to Spain’s major cities and transport hubs and the town and surrounding area encourage and reward exploration by foot.
The School- Small enough to feel fairly intimate, the school’s also extensive enough that everything you need for your lessons is at hand; classrooms are well-equipped and based around an attractive open courtyard.
Materials and Resources- A good range of resources make it easy to supplement lessons, with Interactive Whiteboards being introduced and bringing a new set of possibilities to the classroom.
The Staff- Eight or nine teachers work at the school, each with their own experiences and skills to bring to the staffroom.
Students/Classes/Levels- Students are, across all levels and ages, enthusiastic and keen to learn, and respond well to communicative, challenging teaching – you’ll get a lot out of the children, who make each day different and entertaining.
Teacher Training- The annual ACEIA conference in Seville is an excellent opportunity to get new ideas and hear the views of some of the biggest names in the industry, whilst the organisation’s Guest Speaker scheme allows you to travel to different schools around the region, meet new people and attend interesting sessions.
Finding a Flat- The school give excellent, invaluable help in finding accommodation and orientating oneself in the town, and speaking with experience of only the one landlord, any problems with the flat have always been dealt with almost immediately, with our landlord only too happy to go above and beyond the call of duty to help us. Settling in is quick and incredibly easy – what could be a really difficult time is made wonderfully simple, allowing you to focus on getting into your job and exploring the area.
The Cost of Living- Everything’s pretty affordable here, from flats to food, and it’s easy to live well in the town whilst also being able to see plenty of the city. There’s a good range of eating and drinking options for different budgets and only telephone/internet contracts and electricity bills could be said to be at all expensive.
Health Cover- Although queuing at the surgery can take some getting used to, healthcare is excellent here and you’re always seen quickly and given the right care when needed.
Other relevant comments: Andujar’s a great place from which to get to know Andalucía and Spain, with all the benefits of provincial town-life alongside the proximity to major cities and associated attractions. The town’s a warm, friendly area and the school is an enjoyable place to work that affords staff a range of excellent opportunities.

Nick Adams