The Madrid-based multi-language training firm, Diverbo, has put out a call for 250 English speakers from around the globe to come to Spain during the month of November and the first part of December to help teachers (who are Spaniards) brush up on their teaching skills. Travelers need to bring their conversational skills to Spain to use during full days of interpersonal contact with the Spanish. And in return, the firm will cover their room and board during the 8-day intensive programs known as “Pueblo Ingles,” which take place in off-the-beaten path locales in Spain.
This writer has participated in and written about past Pueblo Ingles programs, but this article hasn’t been vetted by Diverbo. The information gathered for this article has been based on research and questions that I’ve sought out/asked via my own volition.
Teacher programs similar to traditional programs, but with a twist
Whereas, both traditional and teacher Pueblo Ingles programs involve English speakers and Spaniards coming together to interact with each other during a day’s activities of meals, one-to-one and group activities, etc., those who are selected for these particular programs will, according to Program Manager Brian Bolles, “observe class simulation presentations as well,” in the effort to gauge the Spanish teachers’ progress in becoming more fluent and confident in their English skills. The teachers work with such subjects from English, math, music, and science.
Since the economic crisis of 2008, finding employment has become more of a challenge in Europe, and acquiring more skills has become a top priority for “professionals, who may already speak English, [but] need to speak more languages, such as German or Chinese – for professional needs or because they want to stay competitive in the job market,” Bolles commented.
Furthermore, Spain’s educational system has lagged behind other Western European countries in equipping younger generations with second language skills, so it’s now playing catch-up in a time when Spain’s youth unemployment rate is currently 56 percent, per Business Insider October 3.
This has led to the Spanish government taking steps to address this lack and improve the educational system experience. According to Bolles, “The situation of training teachers to speak better English comes from the country-wide governmental initiative of the ‘Integral Program for Learning Foreign Languages.’ The idea is to transition school into bilingual systems. For example, Madrid’s goal is to have 50 percent of its schools be bilingual by 2015. This makes English education accessible to all students, not just the ones who can pay for private classes and courses.”
Budget-conscious travelers will get free room and board in resort-style accommodations
For budget-conscious travelers, going to Spain in November or early December offers the chance for lower airfares and less tourists crowds compared to the high summer season. Additionally, having a full week’s (or more) room and board paid for in exchange for conversing and interacting with the locals will also lesson the cost of a European holiday. According to Diverbo’s website regarding the teacher programs (below), applicants can even apply for more than one week.
As for the venues, three resort-style and off-the-beaten-path getaways are being used to host the programs. They include Villa Engracia, which is located in the greater Tarragona area in northeastern Spain. Villa Engracia is near the 12th century Catalonian Poblet monastery.
The other two venues are located in the province of Jaen in south-central Spain. Los Nogales is located in the foothills of the Sierra De Cazorla mountain range, where a colony of Griffon vultures can be spotted while Coto del Valle is actually located within the boundaries of Cazorla National Park amid hills and mountains.
For more information on the “who, what, when, where, and how’s” of the teacher programs and to apply for a spot, go to this link here. The website also provides information on the other traditional programs that take place throughout the year.
UPDATED: Dates for January 2014 have also been added.