Welcome pack Language Assistants

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Welcome pack Language Assistants

  1. 1. WELCOME PACK for LANGUAGE ASSISTANTS “LA ARBOLEDA” HIGH SCHOOL, Lepe, HUELVA (SPAIN) Welcome to our school!! We have prepared a lot of useful information before you arrive here so that you know more about the place you are going to work and live in. Remember that the more you know about the school, the education system, etc., before you come, the better. From previous Language Assistants we know that anxiety is the mostcommon feeling for some people before their actual arrival. This level of anxiety can be loweredwith information so we hope you find here most answers to your questions. Nevertheless, once herewe will hand you a folder with more specific and updated information including maps, usefultelephones, tourist brochures, timetables, etc. If you think we skipped something important, let us know for futureupdating!OUR TOWN. Lepe (population over 24,000 inhabitants) is a large town in the province of Huelva (in the region ofAndalusia). It is a booming town in the last years thanks to agriculture and tourism, that is why there are so manynationalities and immigrants here (especially from South America, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe). It is located in thesouth-western part of Spain near the Portuguese border. The beaches are really good and there is a seaside resort called“Islantilla” in the same municipality. Want to know more about places to visit, restaurants, shopping, etc.? Locate Lepe on a map Lepes Town Halls official website, only Spanish version available!! Tourism in Islantilla Lepe from the a birds eye Lepe in pictures HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. The history of Lepe goes back to before the Roman times, but the origins of the later model of the town are from this period. During the Arabic domination, when the town was administratively dependent on the kingdom of Niebla, Lepe experienced a period of great development, becoming the center of the coastal zone. After the expulsion of the Arabs, the zone passed to the hands of the order of the temple. Once this dissolved, Lepe was acquired by the House of the Guzmanes, in whose jurisdiction it remained until the middle of the 15th century. Later, after a period of family disputes, Lepe was ceded by Don Juan Alonso de Guzmán to his daughter Doña Teresa de Guzmán upon her marriage to Don Pedro de Zúñiga. Thereby Lepe became part of the Marquisate of Ayamonte, with which it remained uniteduntil the first third of the 19th century. The importance of Lepe’s sailors in the discovery voyages of the African coasts, as well as in the voyages ofColumbus, must be emphasized. A man from Lepe, Rodrigo Pérez de Acevedo, better known as Rodrigo de Triana, wasthe first sailor to see American soil from the ship Santa María. Another important role in these expeditions was played byJuan Díaz de Solís, who discovered Río de la Plata. Among other important characters of Lepe is Álvaro Alonso Barba, the illustrious metalworker. His book “The Artof the Metals”, in which he wrote about the gold trade, silver for mercy, and the smelting, refining, and separating ofmetals, came to be considered central to the subjects of mining and metallurgy in the 17th century.OUR SCHOOL. School Website http://www.ieslaarboleda.net/ School Address Avda La Arboleda S/N,
  2. 2. 21440 Lepe, (Huelva) ESPAÑA Locate it on a map School Phone 00 34 958 489904 School Fax 00 34 959 384570 School Email ieslaarboleda.averroes@juntadeandalucia.es Bilingual project blog http://arboledapluri.weebly.com/ Language Assistant Coordinator José Antonio Alcalde josezubia@hotmail.com Follow this link for a Slideshare presentation on our school with basic information (also available in Spanish). Ifyou want to know more about the kind of International Activities we have been involved from the opening of our school,click here. Finally, here is a multimedia document, “Introducing La Arboleda”, to know more about our school. Our town, Lepe, has got several Primary Schools and two Secondary Schools and the third one is on its way.Ours is quite a big state Secondary School (in fact the biggest in the province) with over 1,000 students and around 90teachers. Here we have a wide range of studies (Compulsory Secondary Education – most of our students-, A levels,Professional Training Courses, Adult Education, Further Education, Teacher Training courses, etc). Apart from themorning lessons, some adult groups only come in the evening. Our school is also in the TIC program (Tecnologías de laInformación y Comunicación) so computers are present everywhere and teachers and students work with them. Lessons start at 8:15 and finish at 14:45. Each period is 60 minutes and there is a break of 30 minutes after thethird period. The school year is divided into three terms: • First term is from September 15th to Christmas holidays (around December 22nd) • Second term is from January 7th to Easter • Third term is from Easter to the end of June (around the 22nd) Apart from traditional holidays (Christmas, Easter, summertime, etc.) there are some days off scattered alongthe year with national, regional and local festivities. We highlight: • October 12th “Día de la Hispanidad” • November 1st “Día de todos los santos” • December 6th “Día de la Constitución” • December 8th “Día de la Inmaculada” • February 28th “Día de Andalucía” • May 1st “Día del trabajador” THE BILINGUAL PROGRAMME. This is the reason why you are coming to our school. It is a relatively new program both in State Primary and Secondary schools in Andalusia. These are the very first years and we will have to work longer to see the early results. The idea is to teach part of the curriculum in a foreign language (English in our case). The subjects involved (depending on the school) offer 30%-50% of their teaching in English. There is also a second foreign language offered (French at our school). This methodology is best-known as CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). If you want to know more about it click here. Youwill help in the English lessons and in other subjects’ lessons taught partly in English. So far we have been workingbilingually in Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, etc. Along with this teaching in the classroom, bilingual groups arealways involved in international exchanges or trips. We ran a blog (“La Arboleda Bilingüe”) for three years with all the information and on-going development of theprogram. Follow the link to know more about it. And since 2011 we moved to a website “La Arboleda Plurilingüe”. Seewhat it is about.Here is a link to the Guide for Bilingual Schools in Andalucía (only in Spanish)THE EDUCATION SYSTEM. Today there seems to be international agreementregarding years and basic contents in education but if you feel like knowing more about this,here are some relevant links for you to discover:
  3. 3. • Education system in Andalucía (Slideshare presentation) • Spanish Ministry of Education • Education Department in Andalucía YOUR JOB. Language assistants are of great importance in raising students curiosity and motivation towards English. As a native speaker, you are a role model in communicative contexts and represent a fresh and direct vision of your country and language. Language assistants belong to the English Department and fall under the responsibility of the Bilingual Program Coordinator. The roles of a language assistant are as varied as the people who fill them. There is no set way to be anassistant, which can be frustrating for some participants, especially as most assistants are recent college graduates whonow have to make the sudden change from student to teacher. The important thing is to form clear expectations with yourcoordinator right from the beginning so that everyone is on the same page about your responsibilities. In addition, neverhesitate to talk with your coordinator and other teachers you work with if you have any doubts about their expectations ofyou. A general tip is to take initiative and be proactive towards your duties: keep yourself organized and plan ahead. Wereally appreciate your suggestions, comments, ideas, etc. Your coworkers are there to guide you, but seeking out theirhelp rather than expecting them to tell you what to do is a nice show of responsibility and professionalism. Your position begins on October 1st and finishes on May 31st. You will have the same holidays as ordinaryteachers. As a language assistant, your working hours will be just 12 a week. Every year we agree on a flexible timetablethat can please both you and us as much as possible. The making and control of your schedule is responsibility of theprincipal and the coordinator. As with any job, it is important to notify us of any foreseeable absences as soon as possible.When you meet your coordinator, he will also inform you on the procedure for calling in sick. We recommend you to contact the coordinator as soon as you find out about your placement. Feel free to askhim any questions that will help you plan for your stay here. This way you can start to get an idea of the subjects, groups,and ages you will be helping to teach, your probable timetable, levels of English, facilities and equipment, etc. It’s also anice gesture to ask if there are any materials you could bring from your country that might be hard to find here. Here is a list of the BASIC FUNCTIONS you will carry out: • Development of oral skills (listening and speaking) with the bilingual groups of students. You’ll find that most of the times you’ll be asked to prepare oral activities versus written activities, as the oral component is where it’s especially helpful to have a native speaker! • Decoration of the bilingual classroom and bulletin board (this is where it might be handy to bring maps, brochures, posters, etc. from your home area) • Creation of materials and activities for bilingual lessons in various subjects • Improvement of teachers’ competence in spoken English • Preparation of activities and materials (especially PowerPoint presentations) related to society and culture in your country • Participation in out-of-school activities like field trips, multicultural week, trivia competition, school exchanges, etc. There are a couple of powerpoint presentations that can give more insight into this topic: 1) Click here 2) Click here There are plenty of materials available to work with. You will have access to the Internet, printers, andphotocopying, laminating, etc. Bilingual classrooms are multimedia classrooms equipped with a projector and interactivewhiteboard. We also have portable CD players that you are welcome to use. There are activity books, books in English ondifferent subjects and other texts available related to English grammar and vocabulary. Teachers will generally be able totell you what you can prepare for their classes if you consult with them a few days in advance. A good thing is to plan amonth’s ahead so you have time to prepare materials and teachers don’t have to tell you every week what to do. It is alsoadvisable to ask teachers to give you the aims, minimum contents, the course book etc., they have set for specificgroups. When May comes it will be time for evaluation. You will self-evaluate your work and the school and likewise, theschool will evaluate your contribution. Remember that if the experience was fruitful, and you want to apply for a secondyear, it is possible to do so.
  4. 4. Finally, here is another link to the Ministry of Education website that includes all the information, FAQs,experiences of past participants, how to get your visa and more.NEW IN TEACHING? We suggest that you spend the first week watching what is going onaround here (types of learning, potential difficulties, classroom management, types of activitiescarried out, dynamics of each group, etc.) In short, see the class from the teachers point of view.You could even use a checklist with some items we can provide you with to keep an eye on.This way you get used to some routines and doings that may help you later. Although you willalways be with another teacher in the classroom, it is advisable that you brush up your teachingtechniques. However, if this is your first time in teaching, we can suggest a few sites to pave theway: • Working with teachers (Spanish and English) • Working with students (Spanish and English) • Presentation on different ideas to teach languages • The British Council’s language assistant website has teaching tips, ideas for classroom activities, and links to excellent online materials • This website from Scholastic contains resources, tools, and tips specifically for new teachers You will be required to work as a team with the teachers and we expect you to show willingness to collaborate. You’llfind that even within the bilingual project there are widely different teaching styles, so it’s important to be open and flexible.Nevertheless, you may come across some teachers who are insecure about their own English competence when talkingwith a native speaker. Try to be understanding and encouraging—we’re all hoping to learn from you, both teachers andstudents! Take also into account that, as this is a secondary school, some of your students will only be several yearsyounger than you. Remember that you are not a “mate” in the eyes of the students, but a teacher. At the beginning of your stay there will be a regional orientation meeting with other language assistants toinform you on different issues. It is a good moment to get in touch with other people that may be working in nearby towns.The content of this meeting may vary from year to year and we are trying to make it useful and not just once but two orthree times along the year. There is a recent website for Language Assistants in Andalucía which tries to bring together all theinformation, events, activities that may interest you. If you feel like knowing more about it, click “Auxiliares deConversación en Andalucía”. YOUR SPANISH. Probably one of the main reasons you chose to come to Spain was to improve your level in the Spanish language. Remember that in Andalucía we speak a dialect of Spanish with some peculiarities. If you are really into languages, take a look at this Wikipedia article which contains some basic hints about the kind of Spanish you are going to hear down here. Anyway, don’t feel stressed about the Andalusian dialect—you will find plenty of peoplehere who will be thrilled (and proud!) to explain it to you and help you adjust.For those of you who would like to start or continue your Spanish education, or for those who would just like to brush upon some grammar and vocabulary here are a few sites that you can work on before coming here: • Links to improve your Spanish on the Internet • Spanish Language & Culture -- great exercises to review grammar • The BBCs interactive site for students of Spanish • StudySpanish.com -- vocabulary and grammar lessons and exercises • Dictionary of the Real Academia EspañolaOnce you are here, you can consider these options for improving your Spanish skills: • Take an official class in Spanish as a foreign language o Universidad de Huelva -- Servicio de Lenguas Modernas o Universidad de Sevilla -- Instituto de Idiomas o Search for Spanish courses in Spain o Information about DELE, the official Spanish language diploma
  5. 5. • Go to classes offered here in the vicinity. • Find a textbook either from home or from our school or local library. • Set up a few hours a week for an exchange with someone (older students, teachers, etc.) who wants to learn English. That way you can both help out each other and benefit without ever have to pay a thing! • Watch TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers and magazines (also available at school) • Use the local library in Lepe. The library card is free—all you need to do is go to the library and talk with the person working at the reception desk. The librarian will give you an application that you need to fill out and return with a photo (size carnet) and a copy of your passport. • Browse the school library. We have newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs, etc. • Listen and talk to local people. Although their speech may be hard to understand at the beginning, they are nice to foreigners and will help you a lot.LIVING IN SPAIN. Living in a different country is a great opportunity to prove yourselfmany things. However, it can be challenging at first and you may experience mood swingsalong your stay. That is why you need time to adjust yourself to a new context with differentpeople, customs, habits, etc. We strongly recommend reading “Culture Shock! Spain: ASurvival Guide to Custom and Etiquette” by Marie Louise Graff, especially if this is your firsttime ever in Spain. For some information it can be a bit old-fashioned. This settlement process will take its time but remember that there is no hurry as youwill be with us for eight months. If for some reason you need to contact your embassy, clickhere to find the nearest one. STUDYING HERE. As your language assistant position is only 12 hours a week, you’ll want to find ways to occupy the rest of your time. Doing some more training could be good for your CV and prices are usually cheaper as you will notice. In addition to the opportunities listed under “Your Spanish” section, here are some options you might like to consider although some language assistants expressed their intention to have a quiet year in Spain : • Classes at the Universidad de Huelva: This web page in English explains the options available for international students who would like to take classes at this university (30 kms from Lepe). • Master’s Degree at the Universidad de Huelva: This university offers over 25 master’s degrees covering a variety of disciplines. The cost is very low compared to American schools, and the degree can be completed during your months as a language assistant. If you’re interested in this option, be sure to start the process early; registration for foreigners is from mid-May to mid-June. • Servicio de Lenguas Modernas at the Universidad de Huelva: In addition to Spanish, the Servicio de Lenguas Modernas also offers classes in German, French, Portuguese, and Russian. NIE (Número de Identificación para Extranjeros). Once you are here, be ready to spend the first few days doing some paperwork. First of all, you will need your NIE card which is like an ID for foreigners living in Spain. You will not be able to obtain the actual card right away, but you will be given an I.D. number on a stamped and signed piece of paper. It is advisable to keep this paper or acopy of it in your wallet. Banks and companies will ask for it when you need any service (telephone, bank account, etc.).To get your NIE you have to go to Huelva, more precisely:Oficina de Extranjeros en Huelva14, Fernando el Católico St. 21071 - HUELVATelephones: 959 759 068 / 099 / 091 / 092 Fax: 959 251 924Opening times: from 9,00 to 14,00 Monday to Friday. It is best to get to the office as soon as it opens or even earlier.As for the necessary documents...1. Letters: You will need to bring with you the letters that you will receive at orientation meeting and the letter that youreceived in the mail in your country that told you which school you would be placed in here in Spain. You should make twophotocopies of each of these letters.
  6. 6. 2. Passport Pictures: You will need two passport size pictures. I suggest that you get them done here in Spain at justabout any photo store. For about 5 € you can get a sheet of twelve pictures. Don’t worry they’ll probably come in handysometime later.3. Application: You need to fill out an application for the N.I.E., it will be given to you at orientation meeting. It’s notcomplicated at all and actually you only have to fill out half of it. It really only asks for some really basic information likewhere you live, passport information, etc.4. Miscellaneous Photocopies: You will need to make at least two photocopies of the front page of your passport, thepage containing your visa and the page that was stamped when you landed in Spain. This last one is the most difficult, sowhen you land ask to make sure that they stamp it well and when you go and make copies be sure to circle the stamp onthe photocopy.5. Bank Information: Once you finally get to sit down and talk with the person behind the desk, the person will fill out aform with three copies of it (blue, yellow and green). You have to take this to the nearest bank and pay ten euros and havethem stamp each copy. The nearest bank is CajaSol , they’ll tell you how to get there. The bank keeps one of the copies,you keep another and you return the third one of the copies to Oficina de Extranjeros.6. Miscellaneous Useful Information • The appointment that you’re given at the orientation meeting isn’t necessarily important. You can go and get your number before the date as long as you have everything with you (the letters, passport, application, money, pictures and copies of the aforementioned passport pages). • It is absolutely worth it to bring just about all the letters/information/anything official that you’re given about this process with you. You should bring about two copies of everything and the original copy. When you have to hand over anything, give them the copy, it’s much better for you to keep the original if you need it later for something else. • BRING YOUR PATIENCE!!!!! If you’re an American reading this, the best way that this can be described is that this place is the DMV that’s located in Satan’s rear-end. Everything seems to lack order, there doesn’t seem to be any line and people are going to cut in front of you. This information was updated on May 17th 2009 ACCOMMODATION. Most language assistants opt for living in Lepe, just few of them choose Huelva (the capital and biggest town around and 30 kms from Lepe or 30 min. ride). If you choose Huelva, be prepared for daily bus rides or you can ask teachers coming from Huelva for a lift. Living in Huelva has its advantages too as there are many more free time activities than in Lepe. If you prefer Lepe, there are a number of apartments available around at any given moment. Most run from about 400 euros per month; some include utilities and others don’t. If you arrive here without having an accommodation already set up, you can walk into any “Inmobiliaria” (a real estate agency) and they will be happy to set you up. You will be asked for a security deposit (usually a months rent).Every year we have plenty of information at school for apartments to rent. So this will not be a problem. Here are somereal state agencies but, as Lepe is such a small town in the corner of Spain, there may not be many listings: . • Idealista • Piso compartido • Segunda mano • Loquo • Easy piso There is a third option. As you will stay from October to May, this is low season at the seaside (La Antilla andIslantilla) and prices are quite low for really beautiful places but you need a car (the beach is about 5 Km from the townand buses are very rare in low season, just one a day) and the place is really quiet.
  7. 7. All in all, we recommend renting in Huelva if you like bigger cities or better sharing an apartment with otherlanguage assistants (every bilingual school has got one of them). Try to get in contact with other language assistants assoon as possible so you can try to coordinate these plans and share an apartment to try to keep rent and other costsdown. If you get to share with Spanish natives, it will do wonders to your Spanish competence!! Some local teachers mayalso share accommodation to improve their English at the same time you improve your Spanish. Also, most teachers fromthe school will be willing to help you if you just ask! But really, the key is trying to find these things out before you get here.MONEY. “Money makes the world go round” goes the saying. Bear in mind a few thingsregarding money to make your life here easier. Since this is a new program, the Junta deAndalucía still has some bugs to work out with the transferring of money to the schools. There canbe some delay with the first payment so it is advisable to bring some money for the very first weeksand the first and most expensive buys. How this works is the Junta de Andalucía transfers all of the money for the year at once tothe school and the school will pay you your monthly wages at the start of the following month. But if the money doesn’tcome for the first few months, the will try hard to front you the money and then deduct that amount from the money when itcomes from the Junta de Andalucía. Your monthly pay (700€ in 2008-09) will be transferred to your local bank account oralternatively the school can give you a cheque but never in cash. Then it is a good idea to open a bank account in a localbank as soon as possible. There is a caveat here though; most banks won’t let you open an account until you have your NIE card or at leastthe number. So, you have about two options. The first is to attempt to get your card as soon as you receive your letters atthe orientation meeting. This way you have the option of choosing any bank that you want. The only other option is toopen an account at CajaSol; they generally don’t require your NIE card. There is a branch in the center of Lepe and thepeople there are generally quite helpful. Once you enter, go to the desks on the left and wait in that line. Don’t wait in linewhere the majority of the people are waiting for their number to be called. These people are waiting to do daily bank tasks;you open accounts at the desks to the left. This may take a few attempts. Some major Spanish bank branches areincluded below!: • Cajasol • BBVA • Caja Rural • Banco Popular • Banesto At the same time a credit card with the same bank is also advisable as you can use it virtually anywhere. This isvery convenient if you plan to do some traveling around the country. Check their commission rates. ATMs are veryfrequent also to withdraw money. SHOPPING. For everyday shopping you can go to local supermarkets like “El Jamón” virtually everywhere and Mercadona. Also in Lepe there are some hard discount stores like Día, Aldi, Lidl. If you need something else, try hypermarkets like Eroski and Carrefour Express. Then there are in Huelva and other cities department stores like El Corte Inglés. Big sales come twice a year (in January and August). Second-hand shops are not very popular in Spain. For extremely cheap buys go to “Tiendas de 1 euro”, “Tiendas de chinos”, etc. They sell import products although the quality isn’t very high.HEALTH CARE. Spain has an excellent healthcare system. At orientation you will receivesome information regarding your insurance and a temporary piece of paper should you need to goto the doctor before your insurance card arrives. As you probably know E-111 is the European health card for EU citizens’ members livingtemporarily in Spain (except if you are Belgian or American as your stay here is covered by aprivate insurance company so you do not have to worry about this). In case of a minor health problem, there is a goodclinic called “Urgencias San Roque Lepe” located on Calle Mayor 96. There is normally little to no line and you’revirtually in and out (we can help with the translation if necessary). If it is something more serious, then there are someclinics and hospitals in Huelva.
  8. 8. SECURITY. This is a matter of probability rather than a true science. Lepe is a quiet town and violent episodes arevery infrequent. There is a local police service in case of need. Basic advice on common sense to prevent crime are alsouseful here. Click here for police information.TRANSPORT & TRAVELLING. We assume that you will get the most of public transportas renting a car will lead you straight to bankruptcy. First of all, airports. The nearest one is actuallynot in Spain but in Portugal. Faro airport is really convenient as there are a lot of low-costcompanies that fly there. Once in Faro there is a bus service to Huelva twice a day (except onSundays and Holidays when it doesnt run) or alternatively you can take a taxi (the ride is about 80€). Then in Spain wehave Seville airport which is less popular but it is OK if you want to move around Spain. For local transport you will haveto rely on DAMAS S.A., the bus company that runs from Lepe to Huelva, the whole province, Seville, etc. Trains are notreally good in this corner of Spain (until the High Speed one arrives in the future) but there is a train station in Huelva thathas a good connection with Madrid (check the website). Finally, in our school we have teachers from many differentplaces that will take you almost anywhere by car given the chance. SPORT. Although Lepe is quite a small town, it does have quite a bit to offer in the way of sports. Most of the activities are centered around and practiced in the Pabellón Municipal de Deportes located almost on the edge of the town. Here you can practice a number of sports and activities such as: basketball, handball, soccer, tennis, paddle (a version of tennis), aerobics, step classes and a number of other activities. Prices vary according to the activity, but fees are too steep. Besides, the running track is free of charge. There are also three different gyms throughout the town. Two of them areprivately owned and one is run by the town. The private gyms are a bit more expensive than the city owned one. You’d bepaying more, but the equipment is newer and the facilities are a bit nicer. Check out the sports section of Lepe’swebpage. It seems that some of the activities listed here are a little outdated, but you should be able to find somethinghere that interests you!TELEPHONE: Getting a landline isn’t really suggested, but the option is there if you want to.A landline (it usually comes with the Internet service) is however a good idea as you can call anynational land telephone free (which is really useful for booking hostels, checking prices,timetables, etc.) Nevertheless, you will most definitely need a mobile phone while here. Forget aboutyour own one, the bill will be longer than the river Nile. Mobile companies are global here too, soOrange and Vodafone are an option along with the national Movistar. Almost every company has at least two options forcell phone service. The first is “prepago” where you put prepaid credit on your phone and the credit diminishes as you talkor send texts. You can top up this credit at any point of sale of your cell phone company or at a number of stores (likesupermarkets, cybercafés, etc.) This option is recommended unless you are someone who’s always on the cell phone.The other option is setting up a “contrato” where you use your phone as much as you want, and they send the bill at theend of the month. Make sure to ask if there are any special rates for calling internationally. The best international callingrates can be attained by using a phone card from any Tobacco shop (estanco) or alternatively calling from a landline. Another option, if you have Internet, is to sign up on Skype. There is normally a delay when you talk, andsometimes the call is dropped, but if you already have internet service, using Skype is FREE! This is also better if bothparties have a webcam. If your internet is too slow for Skype, Jajah is an international calling service that uses an Internetconnection to call your phone and once you pick up. INTERNET. We find that many language assistants feel real “castaways” without their Internet connection. Despite always having access at school, it is not really expensive to have the service at home with one of the different companies that supply it. Thus, it is a good idea to bring your laptop with you. The best bet for internet is Telefónica (the formerly state-run). They offer a number of different types of service. You will have to buy a small USB modem (about 60 euros) and monthlyservice starts at about 30 euros per month. Ask about any start up deals, sometimes they offer a 50% discount on theservice for the first four months. Even though Telefónica is the best bet for internet service, you might want to shop around at the other majortelecommunications providers like Vodafone and Orange. They will offer similar service options and prices to Telefónica,but most people use Telefónica because their speed and service is normally better.
  9. 9. ELECTRICITY. Be aware of different plugs and tension. In Spain we have 220volts so you may need an adaptator. WEATHER. Temperatures are usually very mild in Lepe, just in the summer time it can be really hot. Rain is quite frequent in autumn and winter but dont expect snowfalls. En general, sunny days are predominant. Check this website for a weekly weather forecast in all the province and click on Lepe for more detail:GASTRONOMY. Spanish cuisine may be quite different to what you’ve been used to. Here weeat a lot of seafood since the coast is just so nearby. Traditionally they stick to the “MediterraneanDiet”, but modernization and fast food seek to change that. Nonetheless, in Lepe you can still eatvery well. Something that you should definitely try is the tapas (very small dishes ranging frommeat to seafood to vegetables and are served at most bars). Arguably the best tapas in Lepe arefound at Bar Cachito in the “Los Cruces” neighbourhood. Also in “Los Cruces” you can find twoexcellent pizza places. One is called Fuente Vieja La Trattoria which makes “artisan” pizza. Eventhe basic cheese pizza has more flavor than what you’d expect! Just a few feet away is Pizza D’La Plaza which servespizza but also has a quite large selection of other Italian and some Spanish food. All of this comes at a very reasonableprice and both restaurants provide an excellent dining atmosphere inside. Most other restaurants in Lepe have “Menú delDía” which is basically a traditional Spanish meal at a value meal price. However, in order to finish all of it you will need toadapt to the Spanish way of eating lunch; that is to not expect to just eat and leave, the meal may take up to two or morehours! But some bars can just serve you the entrée for a lower price. Highly recommended is the paella (saffron flavoredrice mixed with vegetables, seafood, meat and/or fish). Though it may be a bit more expensive, you should definitely tryJamón (acorn fed Iberian Ham) wherever you can find it. There is a sort of delicatessen straight down from the church inLepe that serves nothing but ham and cheese. You should certainly be able to find this or any other type of ham you couldwant. Be sure to sample some of Spain’s finest wine as well. Some of the best wine in Spain comes from a northernregion called La Rioja which is said to rival that of the Bordeaux region of France. La Rioja produces mostly red wines, butwhite and rosé types are available as well. Another type of wine that is quite popular here in Andalusia is called“Manzanilla” which is a type of sherry. Look for a large black barrel labeled Solear in a bar to find this type of wine. LEISURE AND FREE TIME. Working "so little” at school means you will have plenty of time for leisure activities. If you like long sandy beaches, there is no better place to be. If you like monumets, Seville, Córdoba or Jerez are a must. If you like history, this area is packed with references to Christopher Columbus and his voyages to America. If you like nature, Doñana National Park and Aracena Natural Park will amaze you. If you like “country-hopping”, Portugal is just across the river Guadiana and is a great place to visit. If you like sport, outdooractivities are guaranteed by excellent weather most of the year. If you like good food, here are some delicacies such as“jamón” and “gambas” and a wide range of “tapas”. If you like night life, well... maybe this is not the best place for it butthere is always something for everybody. In Lepe we have a multiscreen cinema (with movies always dubbed in Spanish),nightclubs, a theatre, etc. We recommend you travel around at the weekends as the sorroundings are really amazing. When looking forcheap accommodation, try “hostales, pensiones, albergue juveniles”, they can be a good choice. If you are flying in or out of the Madrid airport, there are several transport options. There is a bus that runsfrequently between Sevilla and Madrid during daytime hours. The ride is not too expensive but takes 6-7 hours anddeparts from the Estación de Autobuses de Plaza de Armas in Seville. This bus also runs overnight but less frequentlyand it is advisable to make reservations for the overnight bus because it fills up quickly. You can also take the AVE, thefast train, from Estación Santa Justa in Sevilla. Finally here are some useful sites: • Get to know Spain • Huelva newsletter created by one of our Language Assistants • New website with different links to cultural agenda, places to visit, etc. • Official site of Doñana National Park, English version available • This web, also in English, will introduce you to the province of Huelva • Official website with information on Seville
  10. 10. • Tourist information on Andalusía• Youth Hostel Network in Andalusia, English version availableFinally, here are some interesting websites with information on Algarve (Portugal):• Information in English about different events in the Algarve• More information on things to do in the Algarve SPECIAL THANKS to our former Language Assistants: Joanne (Wales), Frederik (Belgium), Liliana (Portugal), Brian (USA), Elizabeth (USA) and Karly (Scotland)

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