Lo que bien empieza, bien acaba (“good beginnings lead to happy endings”, more or less) is one of the expressions we teach to our students with a high level of Spanish. And today we had to say goodbye to Isabel Jimeno, a student on the Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education who undertook her placement in our department: it started well because from the very beginning her desire to work hard won us over, and it ended well because we were really happy with all her work. Thanks a lot for everything, Isabel!

Isabel came from Teruel to Valencia to study for a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education at our University. Beforehand, she had also completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education with a specialization in English at the University of Zaragoza, but she told us that she decided to undertake her postgraduate studies at CEU “because it is one of the few Master’s Degrees that offers the double specialization in English and Spanish as foreign languages”.

“I’ve always wanted to study something related to bilingualism”, which is why she chose the Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education: “it will qualify me to teach Spanish as a foreign language and will provide me with the methodology and the skills I need.” Isabel has also spent six months in Dublin and has worked as a Spanish teacher in various schools in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

As for her experience at our University, Isabel tells us that it has all been positive, both with regard to her Master’s Degree and her placement at the Languages Service , where she participated in the creation of teaching materials and the Spanish classes offered to the international students. “Working with students of different levels: A1, A2 and B1”, she adds.

When we asked her for more details of her experience with the students, she told us that the international students at CEU “have some difficulties knowing when to use the verbs ser and estar, to conjugate and use the irregular verbs, some pronouns, but, mostly, to remember the gender of the words!” For students to improve their Spanish, Isabel gets straight to the point: “They can study the grammar however they want, but they have to be in contact with Spanish people: go out with them, party with them, interact with them!” This is, of course, something we also recommend to our students from Spain: they need to stop being afraid of grammar, of making mistakes and start to speak English. They should travel, spend time abroad and, most of all, students should get to know the local people to improve their language skills.

Asked about her experience as a Spanish teacher, Isabel told us that the key to success is to tailor one’s teaching to the profile of the student: “in the end, you learn what really touches your heart”. That’s why, during her placement with us, she has tried to focus her classes on themes of interest for the students because, “if you want to be a nurse, why would you study football vocabulary?”

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