Judi has taught conversational English in three different Spanish-speaking countries. Here she shares her experience teaching conversational English in Mexico and Cuba.
All of the fifteen volunteers spent each day and/or evening at the Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro teaching conversational English. Most of the English Language instructors gave the volunteers topics for discussions. Each session included from two to seven in a group. Each volunteer spent only one session with each group which allowed the students to hear different accents/dialects/slang/idioms of each of the volunteers. It was fun to meet the students later on campus and have extended discussions with them.
Note: Because we were housed in ‘old town’, we were able to partake in a variety of social activities that occurred during our two week in town in this wonderful section of Querétaro.
The music and the conversations are still ringing in my mind. This experience was quite different from the others. Carol and I were volunteers at the Fuente de Salvación Misionera, which proved to be the most productive team from the very beginning. Since this was a sewing experience and sewing is way out of my comfort zone, I can truly say it became a quite interesting. The sewing projects were a way for this Mission to sell those items we created to make money for supplies and labor to complete the second floor of this Mission.
The two Cuban women whom we worked with in the morning knew very little English but somehow we were able to communicate and make many items in the two weeks. While in the afternoon, I was with two Cuban ladies who could converse in English with ease. We were engaged with many different topics which were initiated by them. The extreme differences in the abilities of the two sessions were exciting, and again that word fun comes to mind.
Teaching conversational English in Mexico and Cuba was great. In fact, all three experiences (Peru, Mexico, and Cuba) were alike and different at the same time.
All my experiences teaching conversational English showed eagerness to learn, the charming personalities, the sound of laughter, the smiles on faces, the beauty of each country, the graciousness of the people, and the desire to be friends.
Note: All three team leaders were excellent examples of encouraging volunteers to work with each other and enjoying their experiences.