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ICIP: An amazing first day!

November 29th, 2010 nmmari12

Today was my first day at my ICIP site! After planning for weeks, and taking the volunteer class, it was so nice to finally be able to start. I was a little nervous beforehand, as I was wondering how I was going to ever teach people Spanish, a language that I cannot even speak fluently (yet), but I just told myself to hold my head up high and tell myself I can do it. The classes are held in a building that is funded by the Caixa Galicia (a bank in Coruña) and consists of 3 classrooms with dozens of computers. In this building, there are classes on computer skills, languages and a variety of other subjects that are open to the general public. I entered the classroom and met the other 2 Spanish students that were my fellow ¨teachers¨ who were extremely nice. Next, we met our ¨students¨ which were two men from Senegal that recently immigrated to Spain. I put the ¨student¨ and ¨teacher¨ in quotations because while I am teaching these men Spanish, they will really teach me and have taught me much more than I ever will teach them.

I was immediately struck as to how passionate these men were about learning Spanish, as for them learning Spanish means gaining a better life for themselves and their family. I was not only impressed by their eagerness to learn, but also with their patience towards me, as a few times I had to think twice before explaining a vocabulary exercise or grammar rule. I don´t know what they left behind in Senegal, nor do I know their life stories, nor the hardships they faced, but these two men have enormous courage to leave behind their families and friends to come to Spain in order to find a better life, and for that I give them great respect. For that reason, I am beyond excited (and frankly a little nervous) to jump into this ICIP. Not only will I be able to immerse myself into the Spanish culture by interacting with these two Spanish students, but I will also be able to learn about the history, culture and current problems in Senegal as I get to know these two men. As a Peace and Conflict concentrator and a lover for different cultures, I think that this ICIP is perfect for me!

Also, on a side note, a few posts ago I mentioned that my beloved dog of 13 years died. However, on Friday my family brought home a new golden lab puppy named Higgans! Now before you judge me or my family on the promptness of getting a new dog, you must understand my family. Before, Cedar died, no one could pass by my dog in the house without taking a five minute ¨cuddle session¨ or at least petting it. We are 10000% dog people. Our lives basically revolve around them. Therefore, 3 weeks without a dog was simply too much and so my parents decided to welcome puppy Higgans into the family! While I am trying to enjoy these last 3 weeks in Spain before winter break, I am also itching to go home so I can meet the new member of the family!!

Dato Divertido: Every Sunday in Spain is like Christmas in the States. Not in the sense that you get gifts (wouldn´t that be nice?) but in the fact that everything is shut down. With the exception of a few restaurants, Spain truly embraces the ¨day of rest¨ on Sunday. At first this really annoyed me, as back home, Sunday was my day to run errands and do a little shopping. However now I really love and respect the calm Sundays, as it gives everyone an opportunity to rest and spend time with their families, instead of running to the grocery store or going on crazy shopping sprees. Once again, the US has something to learn from Spain!

P.S. sorry this is a bit long…

¡Hasta luego!

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