Giving Back

Since we moved to Valencia I’ve looked for volunteer opportunities. I think it’s important, no matter what city in the world you choose to live in, that you find ways to give of yourself. We’re all on this planet for such a short period and each of us show up with unique gifts that can benefit our world. Whether animal, vegetable or mineral.

When the ships of migrants were docking at our shores, I signed Emilie and I up to volunteer with the local Cruz Rojo (Red Cross). It’s just down the street, a few blocks from our house. I figured my rusty Arabic, and her French, might come in handy with the speakers on the ship from North Africa.

But for those who read this blog and are native English speakers, there is another organization that I’ve discovered that presents a unique opportunity. I’ve signed up (I’ve been approved, but not yet participated) so we’ll see how it goes. But for English speakers who want to come to Spain (at nearly no cost to you) and help native Spanish speakers to learn English, this might be something you consider exploring.

Diverbo does week-long sessions in Spain for Spanish speakers trying to learn English, for all sorts of reasons. Work, School. It doesn’t matter. And they need people who are willing to come speak native English to them. They want your slang and regional accents. And your adventurous life stories and hobbies. It includes free room and board at hotels in the towns where they are hosting the classes. You just have to be willing to talk, A LOT! For me – Surprise! It’s not a problem.

For those trying to learn Spanish – they have programs for that, as well. I’m actually thinking of signing up for one of those sessions, too, but I’ll do the English volunteer one first, and see how it works. They also have volunteer opportunities in Germany.

I’m hoping this will give me an chance to see an area of the country I haven’t seen before, and to meet Spanish people from across the spectrum – students to professionals. And I’ll get to help someone in their linguistic journey while I’m doing it. Check out their website and see if a linguistic adventure in Spain is right for you. Who knows? We might end up in the same village, the same week! And then I’d get to hear your stories for a change😉

13 thoughts on “Giving Back

  • The problem is not that people don’t study English. In my time we had English in schools since we were 11. Today they start much earlier. The issue is more the way it’s taught, with emphasis mainly on grammar and not on speaking. If you add the Spaniards’ fear of making fools of ourselves you get thousands of people who have studied English for years but can’t have a basic conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m so glad you mentioned this and shared the site. I had come across one similar (maybe the same) and thought seriously of doing this. Life happened but recently I was thinking about it again and have on my list to find that website again. What an opportunity. I also find it interesting that in the past week two times I’ve read about the lack of English knowledge (the value globally in knowing English) in Spain. I haven’t experienced it since I speak Spanish good (?) enough so there may be some government incentives to provide courses like this.

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    • It’s interesting. I think more people speak English here, but I find their standards are high and they’re often shy about using it. I hear ‘My English isn’t perfect’. But I assure them my Spanish is terrible so usually we are laughing and muddle through together (and their English is always much better than they believe and my Spanish is much worse!). As to historical reasons why more people don’t study English in school here, I have my theories. Perhaps it was political at one time. And maybe the fact that usually they don’t need it, unless they’re planning on living or working for a company abroad. But I keep in mind that more people on the planet are native Spanish speakers than native English speakers. So it’s me who should learn their language. Good for you that you’ve already climbed that mountain!


  • There’s an American lady I first met online and then in person when she walked the Camino Portugués. Before the Camino she was volunteering in a place called Pueblo Inglés, something similar to what you describe. If you want to walk and improve your Spanish, you can join me on the Camino next May!

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    • Yes! Pueblo Ingles is part of this program. Hopefully, your friend said it was a good experience. I would have LOVED to walk the Camino with you in May, but Emilie is graduating in May. And, crossing our finger, our eldest will be finishing his PhD by then and we will be going to his hooding ceremony in Colorado. Which one are you doing?


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