Puente San Miguel
All Year: Yes
Host ID: 25825
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Last Updated: July 13, 2020
LANGUAGE EXCHANGE IN PICTURESQUE CANTABRIA
PLEASE READ OUR FULL PROFILE BEFORE APPLYING and be aware that we can only accommodate ONE person at a time for a maximum period of TEN days.
Iím a Spanish teacher from Brazil, married without children. Since I work as a private English tutor, Iím always very busy teaching and preparing my lessons from September to June (Spanish academic year). Apart from that, I also do voluntary work teaching Spanish, mainly to refugees and asylum seekers. My husband works for the health service. Both of us can speak English and Spanish, besides that my mother tongue is Portuguese and I can get by in French.
As Iíve stated, for personal reasons, we can only host ONE volunteer for maximum TEN days at a time. And as much as I like good conversation (about politics, environment or culture), I also like to be quiet, chatting with my husband or doing my own things.
Speaking about us, weíre eco-friendly (recycling everything and saving energy!). Having said that, I must point out that Northern Spain (where we live) is far from the traditional Spanish sun-drenched place, so donít expect to have a sweltering summer. In our two-storey house we do NOT turn the heating on from March to November; hence be prepared to wear warm clothing and use blankets.
Weíre also easy-going, good-humored, polite, educated, respectful, generous and avid travellers. We donít smoke, for that reason our guest MUST be non-smoker!
Weíre omnivore (in case youíre a strict vegan!), although, although I love preparing vegetarian or vegan dishes. As a Brazilian person I love fruit and fresh salads chock-full of good-for-you ingredients. For the ones that do eat dairy products, I need to say that Cantabria is famous for the variety of its savoury and tempting homemade cheese...
DETAILS ABOUT THE HELP IíM REQUIRING FROM YOU:
Iíve been studying English for a long time in an attempt to achieve the proficiency level but itís been very difficult. Iíve succeed in reaching the C1 level, nevertheless I keep on making the same basic mistakes.
What I really need is an accomplished English teacher! Realistically, however, I want someone who could give me a hand with aspects of pronunciation Iím struggling with and focus on more complex grammar points, so the main task is TO TEACH ME ENGLISH AND CORRECT MY PRONUNCIATION.
Although I donít mind if your mother tongue isnít English, the help I need does require you to possess an outstanding command of the language. That means if you arenít native, you MUST be bilingual, so do NOT apply if you arenít a proficient user.
Volunteers should also be aware of gender equality (please gentlemen!) and MUST be prepared to do the washing-up (we donít have dishwasher!).
You donít have to cook, because I love cooking, besides I also knead the dough to make a flavourful and wholesome homemade bread.
Iíll also ask you to lend me a hand with my Ďthorough cleaning of the whole houseí ONCE a week - but this would involve no more than three hours, because weíve the custom of leaving our shoes in the doormat. You MUST wear slippers inside the house, so bring your own ones, unless you donít mind using a spare pair we have for guests.
Another thing is that hosting is pointless if the housework isnít shared. When this happens it means that Iím unable to get on with my own tasks, or help you with yours.
My husband and I are early riser people. If you want, we could arrange our working hours until 2pm, so you could spend your free afternoons as you wish.
Days are negotiable - you may prefer to take your day off during the week when itís easier to travel and assist me at the weekend. It may be possible for us to accompany you and show you the best places to visit.
BOARD and LODGING:
Youíll have a light-filled bedroom completely furnished, with a large bed, perfectly clean, neat and tidy in a terraced (row) house near the train station of Puente San Miguel (0.5 km = 0.310 miles); a spotless shared bathroom (we have two, only one with shower) and a stainless full-equipped kitchen.
Towels are provided, as is bed linen, and you may use the washing machine - this will enable you to travel light and avoid baggage costs. We have two televisions and besides you can borrow our spare laptop, taking into account that WIFI will be ON from 7am to 11pm (NOT round-the-clock). We like to be as Ďgreení as possible to conserve energy, so please, TURN the lights OFF when you arenít in your bedroom or in another part of the house.
If you arenít familiar with terraced (row) housing, this means that the immediate houses are joined and my neighbours are often very quiet, thereby we expect you not to make so much noise, especially in the early mornings or late evenings.
We live in a rural area just a stoneís throw from a milkman, hence you can drink fresh milk if you want to do so. Therefore, expect to see farmers and livestock.
We donít live along the coast, but most coastal towns and villages are nonetheless easily accessible by public transportation or by bike, such as Suances (11.5 km = 7.14miles), Comillas (20.5 km = 12.73 miles) and San Vicente de la Barquera (35 km = 22.05 miles).
Finally, my house is within walking distance of excellent transport links and the amenities of a small town. You can go to Santander Ė capital of Cantabria (35 minutes by train), with its bay bathed by the azure-blue waters of the Cantabrian Sea. You can also visit Santillana del Mar (4 km = 2.48 miles), labelled Ďthe prettiest village in Spainí by Jean-Paul Sartre. The closest medium town is Torrelavega (4.2 km = 2.60 miles), which has around 60,000 inhabitants.
Regarding meals, weíll offer you a healthy no-cook breakfast (coffee, tea, juice carton, cereal, muesli, oatmeal, homemade bread & jam, butter, honey, peanut butter, Marmite, fruit, yoghurt) and a nutritious and fulfilling lunch, because we prefer to have our main meal at lunchtime (around 2 p.m.). In the evening you can prepare something frugal, given that we arenít used to having dinner. Of course, youíll have leftovers from the lunch (I always prepare loads of food!), so you can help yourself. We arenít the type of people who are stingy with food, please take a look at the glowing reviews from our past helpers.
I go by bike everywhere and you may borrow a spare one we have, so that you can explore the well-kept and picturesque surroundings.
HOW YOU WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS CULTURAL EXCHANGE:
I can provide resources should you want to improve your Spanish or Portuguese. Iím perfectly happy to help you with both languages, including giving you ONE-hour lesson per day. I must stress that Iím not able to offer a language course.
If you want to improve your Spanish quickly, we may do the same as we did with our previous volunteers, this means talking in Spanish during the meals, therefore you could learn all the vocabulary related to food, tapas and so on... Itíll be up to you! Apart from that, I may introduce you to some of my Cantabrian friends, so that you can practise your Spanish with them too. I can also teach you how to make my unique yummy homemade bread and jam.
Another thing is that here itíll be very difficult to communicate in English, youíll have to use Spanish to ask for directions, buy something, etc. Despite the language barrier, Cantabrian people are extremely good-natured and friendly.
We know a lot about different Spanish regions and weíll be too pleased to research information and advise you regarding your travel plans here, so please do ask about this before you come - people can waste so much money and time if they aren't savvy.
PLEASE ensure that youíve read our profile THOROUGHLY and ask if there is anything you donít understand. When writing your request, please mention a little more about yourself if not in your profile: What have you done since leaving school? Where are you from? Any skills? Education? Hobbies?
First, Iíd prefer to clarify what this opportunity involves, because there are some wonderful experiences on offer at this website and this one, in comparison, is quite ordinary and may not be as exciting as you expect.
If you decide to come and then change your mind, please have the courtesy to let us know out of respect for other people who would have loved to be hosted by us.
One more thing: We expect you to be responsible, PUNCTUAL, CLEAN, TIDY and organized.
When I travel I expect things to be different Ė thatís the whole point and joy of travel. Whatís normal in your host country may seem strange to you but to continually remark upon it can be seen as impolite.
VOLUNTEERING HOURS EXPECTED:
3 (THREE) hours and a half, 6 days a week (21 hours per week). ONE day off.