Bienvenidos! My name is Valerie Jaimes and I am a first year Auxiliar de Conversacion at Colegio Público Miguel de Cervantes in Collado Villalba, Madrid, Spain. I have been enjoying every minute of this new experience and all the challenges and lessons that have come with it, and I am excited to share my experiences on this blog!
First I will start with a bit about myself. I am 21 years old and I was born and raised in Houston, Texas (shown in the location of the map above and in the picture to the left). In May of 2018, I graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in International Affairs with a concentration in Latin America and a minor in Fine Arts.
I am first generation American, as my parents were immigrants from Colombia. I grew up speaking Spanish and English at home with my family and I consider bilingualism and multiculturalism to be a large part of my identity. My passion for bilingualism is what drew me to the Auxiliar de Conversacion program. I wanted to channel this passion to assist students in their language objectives.
My main interests include the visual arts, music, and literature. I am a painter by trade - I run my own portrait painting business called Portraits by Val, in which I specialize in painting pets. Some examples can be seen below.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to use my passion for art to assist in the art classroom at my school here in Madrid. Upon arriving at my school at the beginning of the semester, I communicated my passion for the arts to my school's bilingual program coordinator and to the other teachers. They promptly accommodated my schedule so I could assist more in the art classrooms, and this is why I believe it is key to be yourself and show your personality at the job in order to maximize the experience for yourself and for your school. For this reason, I have chosen to center my final project on teaching English through the arts.
I did not know what to expect when the year began and I'm still learning every day, but enjoying every moment of the ride! To learn more about my professional and academic history, see my CV attached below.