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When an experience is very special, it’s hard to summarize the feelings, emotions and memories into words. It seems a bit impossible actually. These are the feelings that I have regarding my time at the Diverbo Global Pueblo Ingles program [or Diverbo] in Spain. What is the Diverbo program? It’s a language exchange program between native Spanish professionals and English professionals. For one week, I was socializing, interacting, laughing and building relationships with a fantastic group of individuals from Spain and around the world. What did I take from the experience? I took a heightened positive view of the world and lasting relationships.

I found the program in a humorous and silly way. If you’ve been interacting on the blog, you know that I’ve been searching for a more meaningful travel experience. I wasn’t quite sure what I was searching for, but after this program, I know. My search for meaning travel translated nicely into the set up at Diverbo. I made meaningful connections with people. I was no longer a tourist, and I saw a part of Spain that an American would normally not. That was pretty special in itself.

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The program was pretty inclusive. It was 10 days in a beautiful town in north, west Spain called La Alberca. It’s a town of about 3,000 yearly residences, so there was by no means a Walmart superstore around the corner. It was quiet adorable, and offered a unique perspective on the Spanish lifestyle. It was also a very historic town, being a stop on the El Camino and a major stop dating back to the Crusades. That was an interesting piece of historical information. It deserves a google search, because I can by no means explain the historical significance of this little town in one blog post.

What did we do? We talked, talked and talked more. I never stoped talking. The program was all inclusive, meaning our food and boarding was paid for. The only thing that was not included was the plane ticket. Since I had preplanned to come to Europe, it worked out very nicely making a detour to Spain for a week. The program started at 9:00am and ended after 10:00pm. Can we say LONG day? The mornings consisted of breakfast with the native Spanish speakers, encouraging them to speak and have small talk. Practice, practice, practice. Then we broke out into small one-on-one interactions. For about three hours, we spent 50 minutes with each student talking about funky english idioms, sayings and just talking. Have you ever tried to explain a common phrase you use every day? Like for example: “that was a piece of cake” or “the cat is out of the bag.” It sounds crazy, but those were the phrases that we had to explain to our native Spanish speakers. The more I explained these phrases, the more I wandered why we actually use these silly sayings. We’d have lunch Spanish time around 2:00pm. Let’s just say the food was amazing. I have never had such delicious three course meals in one week. It was everything from pasta, to duck, fish and chicken. It was just amazing, and this cheap college student was eating like an elephant. I’m still living on those calories. Lunch ended and we had about two/three hours of free time. The free time always seemed to disappear too quickly, and I usually made my way back to my room and fell asleep. The rooms were also cozy, clean and superb. The evening brought music performances, skits, plays and presentations. It was a blast to see such support by all of us for our students. Every time, a student had a loud applause. We constantly supported and positively praised people.

I can talk all day about how wonderful the students and fellow teachers were. They were superb, and I enjoyed getting to know each one of them. They each had an interesting story and life experience that I enjoyed listening and soaking into my soul. I can’t forget the program leaders, because they honestly made the whole program happen. They never seemed to sleep, but their constant positivity and hard work was seen and reflected through out the program week.

I believe I received just as much of a positive experience from this program as my students. Each of my students were incredible insightful, intelligent and caring. I had students helping me with my relationship problems, telling me that I had plenty of time to find someone. I had one student helping me prepare a Spanish song to perform on my flute. I had a student help me brainstorm ideas for a career in management. It was amazing the amount of life experience, professional experience, support and positive influence these individuals had for me. I’ll never forget their kind words, their support and listening ears. Yes, they helped me just as much as I helped them. I can’t wait to have another fantastic experience in a future program.

The program is constantly looking for native english speakers from all backgrounds and walks of life. I encourage you to apply, and I hope you have just as positive of a experience as I did. I’d get a good night sleep the night before, because you take off running. However, it will be a wonderful experience that you will never forget. Have you completed a similar program?

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