I had been in the same job for seven years when I decided to change career. A little later in life than most people, admittedly, but the time was right. I´ve always loved travelling and it had been an ambition for some time to conquer a new language. I´d also spent many years working with children or young adults in either educational or social work settings. So, I wanted to travel, I loved working with young people and I´d had some voluntary experience in schools, which I loved. The logical next step was to get my CELTA under my belt. It took about 5 months to get from voluntary redundancy to CELTA- qualified and staring a new life in the face.

My first ESL teaching post was a fun, but gruelling, 8-week summer school in the south of England, where I cut my teeth. It was a baptism of fire, but something I would recommend. I didn´t have to deal with a new country and a new language, as well as my first teaching job. Teaching classes of 14 unruly teenagers as a new teacher wasn´t easy, but it was an invaluable experience.

Next came the real deal. A move to Spain, a new job, a new life. If I´m being honest, it wasn´t at all easy at first. Of course the weather, the food, the people and the excitement of something so new kept me going for the first while, but reality also set in pretty fast.

Teaching English isn´t easy. It requires commitment, hard work, tons of patience and lots of creativity. But once I´d found my feet I realised that I really loved teaching and still do. When I got over the steep learning curve (and accepted that HP sauce and Tetley´s aren´t readily available in parts of Spain), I settled in.

A couple of years after moving to Spain, I finally made it to the Spainwise TEFL Jobs Fair in 2012. I´d intended to go the previous year, but went to a local festival held on the same day first. So, I didn’t quite make the Jobs Fair! Top tip: go to Spainwise BEFORE going to the local festival held on the same day!

I went to the Spainwise Fair not knowing what to expect. In fact, I was pretty nervous but I needn´t have been. I found everyone extremely professional, informative and friendly. I only did two interviews, both with schools in Cordoba, the city where I wanted to work. I had already sent my CV using the online CV service (which I’d recommend to everyone)  so both interviews were pre-arranged and this was a big help on the day. I chatted to a lot of people, got loads of information and ideas and even bumped into an ex colleague I hadn´t seen for a year. The whole atmosphere at Spainwise is hugely welcoming and relaxed but always professional. It was a really positive experience and lo and behold, I got the job I really wanted a Blue Door in Córdoba.

So here I am, a few years down the line, loving my life in Spain. I still get driven to distraction by certain things. I will never get used to the lack of queueing, and the haphazard way in which certain things are dealt with can be very frustrating. But the climate, the wonderful people, the laid- back lifestyle, the food and the fiestas more than make up for that. Everything they say about Spain is pretty much true and I love this country.

If you want to teach in Spain, go for it. Come with an open mind, a relaxed attitude, a willingness to learn the language and a serious commitment to hard work and you will doubtless love it. ESL teaching can be for anyone, at any age, as long as your attitude is right.

I still miss a Sunday roast sometimes, but the food here´s amazing. AND I´ve found where they stock Tetley!

Find out about the Spainwise TEFL Job Fairs here.