Meet the Neighbors: Val Duquette

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March 12, 2013 by ebostick1212

Here is another edition of Meet the Neighbors, another chica from another provincia. Today we will be meeting Val, another friend from the CIEE Two Week Immersion Program, who is currently teaching in Mijas, Malaga. Check out her blog at http://thestreetsofspain.blogspot.com.es/ .

Val on top of Las Setas in Sevilla

Val on top of Las Setas in Sevilla

Where are you from? I am from Plattsburgh, NY, a small town in upstate NY. Basically Canada 😉
Where/what did you study? I studied Communications Studies at Susquehanna University and I graduated in 2012.
Why did you decide to come to Spain? Well I studied abroad in London in 2011 and quickly caught the travel bug. I have actually traveled to Spain twice before moving here. Once in 2007 with my Spanish class and once in 2010 as a chaperone with my sister and her class. A funny story was that during our 2010 trip we actually got stuck in France because this was the exact moment that volcano in Iceland decided to erupt haha. Try explaining that to your college professors… But during both of my trips, I fell in love with Spain. When I was told about this exciting opportunity by one of my college friends, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. And having just graduated college, what better time?
Where are you teaching/living? I am teaching in an instituto in Mijas, Malaga. The biggest city that is close by is Malaga, about 45 minutes away. I chose to live in the town that my school is, so that I can really get to know the area and be able to walk to work. My school is fantastic and I have really come to love my kids and co-workers.
Tell me a little bit about your pueblo or ciudad. Well, it is definitely tiny, which I am comfortable with given the size of my hometown. I love that I only have a ten minute walk to work and I love that I feel so safe and familiar here. The town is surrounded by many mountains and when I am walking to one of my tutoring lessons, there is a field with horses and donkeys on the way. One of the biggest attractions is Mijas Pueblo, an absolutely adorable pueblo blanco about 20 minutes away. I love visiting there, as it feels quintessentially Spanish. It’s a great town if you’re not quite a city person, which is me (most of the time) and most of the people don’t speak English, which is really forcing me out of comfort zone when it comes to improving my Spanish.
What is your favorite thing about being an auxiliar? Definitely getting to know the kids. They are hilarious, frustrating, stubborn, surprising and so worth it.

Any advice for future auxiliars? Be open-minded and easy-going. Don’t expect that everything is going to be easy or happen quickly, but don’t worry, it will eventually get sorted out in its own time. Also, read up on the very confusing TIE process beforehand, for that was definitely one of the most frustrating tasks for me. Try to set up private lessons as early as possible, because you will need money to tide you over until you finally get your first paycheck in November. Bring any American food that you might miss, because trust me, you WILL miss it.

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