Monday, 27 July 2009

return to La Alberca

Last October Kate and I started our sojourn in Spain with a week long English residential workshop at the beautiful country town of La Alberca, as unpaid volunteers working with adult learners. Now I´ve returned (sadly without Kate, who still has classes in Madrid) as a counselor on a teenage English camp to a world of one-to-one conversations, coloured tags for meals, and hilarious theatre improv.
The hotel is as beautiful as I remember, one-up-one-down chalets laid out in the grounds around a central meeting house and restaurant, with the added bonus of the pool being open; even though it´s a lot cooler here than in Madrid, I´ve still been glad of a daily dip. Us counselors sometimes play the role of English-speaking mentor for the Spanish - taking part in one-to-one conversations for example - and at other times referee, running group activities, workshops and making sure the teens mix it up at meal times. The level of comedy genius is also much lower than that of the adults, but there´s still been some quality moments (Breakfast of the Dead - our Zombie movie set at the camp - was a classic) and I´m sure there will be more as the teenagers start to come out of their shells. Mind you, as about 15 of them are on their second week here ("do their parents not like them?" you wonder) there´s quite a few who aren´t short of confidence.

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