Brittany is no newbie when it comes to teaching English. After two and a half years working in schools in Japan, she decided to trade out sushi for tapas and brush up on her Spanish. Last year Brittany was placed in the tiny mountain town of Priego de Córdoba but next year she’s headed to Granada capital.
Name: Brittany Hill
City and Comunidad: Priego de Cordoba, Cordoba, Andalucía
School: Camacho Melendo, an elementary school
Your living situation: I shared apartment with another auxiliar, 2.5 bed, 1.5 bath, kitchen, comedor/dining room.
How did you find your flat? My roommate found it by looking at flyers posted up around town.
Rent: 270€ split between two people, so 135€ each
What did you spend on utilities each month? 30€ to 40€ per person per month.
What cell phone company did you use and what plan did you have? I used Orange on their pay-as-you-go middle plan, which was 2.50€ per week for 100mb, and calls 0.01€/min and text/SMS at 0.01€/message. I also tried Jazztel but they never managed to get my plan correct and I canceled my service with them.
What did you pay for internet? Internet plus landline (fijo) for 40 to 45€ per month, so 20€-ish per person.
What did you spend on average a month on groceries? I didn’t pay much attention to my grocery bills, but not very much. I would guess something around 100 to 150€ per month.
Did you have any other sources of income? I had private classes that I taught for some of my students at 10€ an hour and I also worked at the local Hermanos Maristas school teaching afternoon classes for 15€-18€ an hour (since I have more experience). I started two classes for teachers and adults who wanted to improve their English in winter that ran until May, and they were 5€ an hour per class or 7€ for 1.5 hours of class. I couldn’t use the classrooms at my primary school to hold the class or I wouldn’t be able to charge for the classes and wouldn’t be able to invite teachers from other schools, so instead I rented a classroom from the Hermanos Maristos. It’s possible that other classrooms are available in the town, too, but it was too difficult to find them. After the normal school year ended at the end of May, I taught an English class for the customer service industry through a guy that offers local tutoring, and so I was able to use his classroom to hold that class.
Were you able to save any money? I probably saved about 250€ a month.
What was your favorite tapas bar and what did you usually order there? I didn’t go out that much, but the places I went to had free tapas – Cafe Paris, Miguelin and Postigo in Priego. It was about 1.50€ to 2€ for a drink, but if you wanted to buy croquetas at Postigo they were 4€ for a half or 8€ for a whole ration – expensive but worth every penny. Definitely the best croquetas I’ve eaten anywhere in Spain, including homemade croquetas.
Nightlife? I didn’t go out all that often to try and save money.
How did you get around? I walked. The town isn’t that big and I lived close to the center. I think the farthest any of the auxiliars here had to walk was 20 min to work/school.
What was your favorite thing about living in Priego de Córdoba? It’s in-between a bigger city and a small town and has the benefits of both, although definitely the single best thing about Priego is the people – they are incredibly welcoming and basically everyone I met made me feel comfortable. It actually has a lot of shops for its size and there weren’t many things that I couldn’t find here.
Anything you disliked? It’s a little bit difficult to travel to other cities besides Córdoba, even within Andalucía, although Granada wasn’t too bad (usually 3 buses per day). If you wanted to go to Málaga or Sevilla you needed to take more than one bus, with your first stop in Lucena or Cordoba. There is no train station in Priego.
How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Priego? There is an airport in Granada, but probably the easiest option is to catch the bus to Córdoba and then take the AVE (bullet train) to Madrid. From Madrid you have a lot more flight options. I haven’t tried traveling around Europe from Spain, and I’ve only gone to a few other places in Spain.
Any guilty pleasure purchases? I didn’t really, unless you count buying ingredients to try cooking with. I spent most of my time trying to learn Spanish cooking (salmorejo, ajo blanco, tortillas de patatas, lentejas) and making American dishes for Spaniards here. (peanut butter cookies, banana bread, chicken pot pie, etc.)
What are the top attractions in Priego? There are a lot of churches here and there is a castle, but other than that Priego is most famous for its processions during Semana Santa (Easter week). There is also the feria (city fair) in September. There was a medieval festival too where everyone dresses in period clothes from the middle ages and they sell food from that time, but I can’t remember when this happens – probably in summer since I didn’t get a chance to go.
Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain? Before I came to Spain, I asked about finding a host family that I could stay with who wanted to practice their English and possibly would accept English lessons in place of room and board or only as rent. Everyone that I asked told me that this type of thing wasn’t very common and that I wouldn’t be able to find anyone, but when I moved out of my apartment I was able to find two teachers in the same school who were willing to host me. I wished that instead of just telling me no, someone had asked around, or perhaps I needed to describe the situation in more detail, or post flyers to post up at the school. However, now that my school understands what is meant by host family they will pass on correct information to future auxiliares who ask.
Read Brittany’s blog Brittany Around the World for more tales of life in Priego de Córdoba or check out the archives for posts on her experience teaching English in Japan.
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