All of my life I have been working towards something. There was always a goal, something more to achieve. For me, it had always been a school oriented goal. Get good grades, make it to the next grade at (or very near) the top of my class. Graduate with a 4.0. Get into college. Get a good internship, make it a career, graduate college, work my way up, and get a decent job with a decent salary.
So that’s exactly what I did! I worked my way through college first at a hotel, working my way from the front desk into a sales position. Eventually I found a paid internship allowing me to work in both marketing and advertisement, utilizing my skills as a graphic designer, which was perfect for my degrees! How lucky, right? Only, I didn’t feel lucky. I felt lost. Suddenly I was in this position that I’d worked my whole life for, and I felt… empty. What the hell was wrong with me?! In this economy, you’re lucky to get a decent paying job in your field of study! Of course the economy has picked up since my college days (*phew!*) and college graduates are finding more relevant work in their fields, but it can still be a challenge. So I shouldn’t complain, right? Instead, I contemplated my future. Do I stay in a job I enjoy but in a life I’m bored with? Do I search for something to make me happier? I’d lived in Montana my entire life, moving only 120 miles away from my hometown for college and work after college. Maybe there was something else out there, a chance for me to expand my worldview a bit more.
For a bit more than a year, I kept my job, continued to gain valuable work experience, saved money, and simply existed. Life is just in transition right now, I told myself. There will be more. I will find more. So I began seeking out lifestyles I was interested in. One of my good friends from elementary/high school was living abroad as an au pair in Germany after studying abroad in France. I was always so jealous of her! Of anyone who spent some time studying/living abroad! And I realized that I could do that too. If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. I began considering au pairing, but my friend convinced me that teaching English would give me a lot more freedom to explore and satisfy my wanderlust. Having a foundation in Spanish (4 years of high school and another year in college), I decided to research teaching English in Spain.
I decided I was going to make Spain happen. Whatever it took. I was going to see more of our world! I wanted to become fluent in another language. So I began devouring blogs and absorbing the experiences of individuals who had gone through different programs to live and teach English in Spain (there’s no shortage of these!). I emailed various individuals who wrote about their experiences (none replied) and decided that applying for myself wouldn’t hurt. The three programs that seemed to be most popular were the Spanish Government’s Auxiliares de Conversacion, BEDA, and CIEE. All of these required a bachelor’s degree in any field, a native English speaking knowledge, a clean criminal record (for obtaining a visa), and encouraged a foundation in speaking Spanish. Keep in mind that my personal interest was in Spain. There are also plenty of various teaching options in Asian countries (many that pay much more as English is in high demand), and many other European countries. (I will go into these options more in other posts)
I applied to the Auxiliares de Conversacion and was accepted! Finally, it felt like I was working towards something again. I may have been done with school, but there was something in my future that I could look forward to. For me, this was essential to my happiness. Let me emphasize, my happiness. I had/have plenty of friends who are more than content to work in their field of study, and that’s great! I had a coworker at the hotel who once told me she had never seen the ocean, and she was perfectly fine with that! But for me, it wasn’t enough. So I signed up for Spanish classes, joined Facebook Groups for likeminded individuals, and began looking towards my future. And that’s really where my blog begins…