Thursday, 16 March 2017

Decisions, Job Interviews, Visitors, Social Life - A busy and Educational Couple of Months!

Seven months already!! I think I need someone to pinch me!

It's incredible how much can happen in seven months! Especially when you are living abroad! When I look back on the time that I have spent here in Sevilla since September, I find it incredible to think that seven months ago, a lot of the people that I know now and a lot of the experiences that I have had were completely unknown to me. In fact, little did I imagine that I would be feeling as comfortable as I do now when I arrived here seven months ago. 

As those of you that have been reading my blog for a while will already know, I came to Sevilla as an Erasmus student two years ago and did a six month work placement in an office in the city center. For this reason, I was already familiar with the city when I returned here to work as a language assistant last September. However, now that I have worked in two different places in Sevilla and lived two different experiences here, I have learnt that all experiences are different even if they are in the same city. And I have been very lucky because although my experiences of work in Sevilla have been very different, I have learnt an awful lot from both of them and gained different sets of skills from them. For example, as a Language Assistant I have managed to overcome the fear of public speaking that I have had all my life. Although I still have butterflies in my stomach when I speak in front of large audiences, I have now managed to make it more discreet to my audiences as I have been standing up in front of groups of 30 students at a time on a daily basis and have therefore got used to having lots of pairs of eyes on me at once. Over the past few months, since I came back from the Christmas holidays, it has been a busy time because I have been reflecting a lot on all of the positive things that I have learnt and got out of being a Language Assistant as I have become very conscious of the fact that time is blazing by and that my year at this school in Sevilla will be ending on 31st May. And as I am a graduate, this means that I am having to make some decisions about what I want to do next.

For me, making big decisions has always been something very stressful because I am somebody who often overthinks things and worries about the possibility of regretting a decision once I have made it. I mean, it's hard to know how I will be feeling a year from now whether I am in my current job or in any other job. But as well as which job I want to aim to do, I also have to think carefully about where I want to be because at the moment I am living abroad which although is fantastic and a lovely experience, it means that I am a long way from my family and friends at home, and also living in a Spanish speaking country which is not my mother tongue. For these reasons, I went through a phase a couple of months ago where I was doubting staying in Spain when the summer comes as I felt like moving closer to home might be a good idea. However, when I sat down and thought through everything more carefully I came to the conclusion that I am very happy living abroad at the moment because I'm constantly immersed in a foreign language, having lots of opportunities to travel to amazing places for cheap prices, and I'm also meeting people from all over the globe which for me is a very exciting and educational experience. And in the end, it was for all of these reasons combined that I made the decision to apply for some other jobs in Sevilla and also to re-apply to be a language assistant for a second year in the school that I am currently working in.

Now its easy to think that once you have sent off job applications that most of the work is done. However, this is definitely not the case, as between January and March I have had a fair few interviews in various different companies. Job Interviews are always scary but doing them entirely in a foreign language is a challenge on another level due to the fact that you have to think about what you are saying but also to think about how you are expressing yourself, speaking grammatically correctly, and using the correct vocabulary and syntax to come across well. Not to mention those awful pauses when you are having a vocabulary blank and really cant think of a particular word. But don't panic! Interviews in a foreign language are actually a very rewarding experience as you come out at the end really feeling like you have achieved something due to the fact that you have managed to speak in a foreign language for a considerable length of time when you are feeling nervous. In fact, I'd say that if you can do oral exams at school or university then an interview is not much different to these, apart from the fact that the employer is usually focusing more on what you are saying than on the language. As I have some experience in teaching English as a foreign language, I mainly applied for teaching jobs in language academies but I also applied for a couple of sales and marketing jobs that were looking for people who could speak both English and Spanish. And although I didn't manage to get any of those jobs I have remained positive as I am grateful to have had a few more experiences of job interviews as I know that this will help me a lot in the future. I have also now sent off my application to be a Language Assistant for a second year and have almost definitely decided that this is what I'm going to do, as long as I get it, as it is proving to be a very fulfilling, rewarding, and challenging experience that is giving me lots of opportunities to develop as a person and learn new skills that I can apply to future jobs.

So although I am pretty much through that period of uncertainty and decision making, I have still not completely arrived at a final decision as I am currently working part time and would ideally like to start working full time as of September in order to earn some more money and spend more time at work as I am at a time in my life where I am single and don't have any responsibilities such as bringing up children so more time at work would be ideal for me. However, as a Language Assistant contract is part time, I have decided that if all goes well and I can continue in my school, I will do so but also try and find another part time job in a cafe or restaurant to do at the same time. I think that having two jobs at the same time would be good for me, now that I am confident and settled with my work as a Language Assistant, as I would be having two different experiences at the same time and spending more time immersed in Spanish which I think would help me develop my language skills even more.

So for the moment, I am keeping that idea in mind as I feel very happy in my work as a Language Assistant and would therefore like to continue with that. However, adding a few more working hours into my week somewhere else could also be very beneficial in many ways.

So I know that today's post has all been about work and job hunting and you are probably thinking that this is all that I have been doing recently. However, I have also been really enjoying the social life that I have found in Sevilla as I have been spending a lot of time going out to parties with my friends, going out to try various Spanish cuisine, going to the cinema, relaxing in the beautiful parks in Sevilla, and generally really making the most of living in such a lively, exciting, and sociable city. I have also had a number of visitors from the UK and also one from Finland since Christmas which has been lovely!.  At the start of February my cousin Alice came here for a few days and I enjoyed showing her around the city and relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying trying local food and drink. I then had my friend Alyy here who is a good friend from university and also showed her around the city and shared some of my new life in Spain with her. Then more recently I have met up with my next door neighbors from home for a meal as they were travelling around Andalucia and came to Sevilla for a couple of days along the way. I also had a lovely lunch with my friend Irmeli and her mum who are from Finland and were recently on holiday in southern Spain.

So although I haven't done any big trips out of Sevilla in the past month and a half, I have had a lot of visitors coming to Sevilla and I have also had a lot going on with job interviews, thinking about the future, and really embracing all of the opportunities that Sevilla has given me.

So all in all although it has been a bit stressful recently, I will also look back on the past two months as being very educational, and very happy as I have been really spending good amounts of time with my new friends and also my friends from home.

So I will end this post here as I think I've covered most things. However, please watch this space over the next two months as I have a big trip to Morocco and the Sahara Desert coming up in just three weeks time and I will also be posting about my experiences of the Easter week in Sevilla and La Feria de Abril as these are both very beautiful and fascinating experiences to have in Sevilla. For this reason I would like to share them with you and also post some pictures so that you can see some of the traditional festivals and customs of Sevilla.

So good bye for now but I will be back in a few weeks, firstly, with a detailed account of my travels in Morocco!

Hasta muy pronto! 

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