My name is Dani. I’m a brown-haired, brown-eyed, average-height twenty-something year old—which means I can pass without contest as a Spanish student, but I’m actually an American just like you! Still, I have lived in Spain for approximately four years, so I enjoy considering myself un poco granadina!
My Spanish journey officially began in 2011 with my study abroad semester in Alicante, but you could argue that I’ve been preparing for it since the seventh grade when my mom talked me into taking Spanish classes. Since it was the only foreign language offered at my junior high, I obliged her (despite my stubborn declaration to switch to French once I got to high school—in order to follow in the footsteps of my then-idol Mary-Kate Olsen, claro!). A few years later, after realizing that I actually enjoyed and seemed to have a bit of a knack for Spanish, I decided the switch wasn’t necessary and the rest has been history.
Little by little, my life became more and more centered around Spanish. I took a class every year throughout high school and college. I had enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan University as an English Major-hopeful but soon discovered Sociology and fell in love with the field that I had previously known nothing about but which matched my interests perfectly. I didn’t want to lose my Spanish completely and, it turned out, adding a second major in Hispanic Studies was reasonably easy and would keep me motivated to maintain that goal. Besides, 75% of students at my university studied abroad and I wanted to be among them, making a foreign language study an invaluable thing.
It’s funny to admit it now, but I once thought about studying abroad as a cool thing to write down on my resume and a nice little escape to try out traveling and check it off my list. As many had warned me, however, the ‘travel bug’ bit me hard and living abroad is now my real life. After 5 months in Alicante, in which I fell for Spain’s no pasa nada lifestyle, I returned to the States with one question in mind—How would I eventually get myself back to Spain?
With that in mind, I applied for a number of teach-in-Spain programs for the year after my graduation and finally accepted an offer as an auxiliar de conversación y cultura in Granada. I spent a year working as an assistant in the bilingual classes at an elementary school in a pueblo outside of Granada, giving private lessons, and exploring España in my free time. Since then, I have come to consider Granada my home. I have wandered down nearly every winding road and taste-tested in as many tapas bar as I can. I have laid out in the sun at Parque Garcia Lorca and taken my diary to write in the inspirational surroundings of the Alhambra. I have also spent introvert weekends at home, catching up with my friends and family in the States and not worrying about “missing out” on life outside my piso walls.
In the years since that first teaching experience in Granada, I have tried out living and teaching in another Spanish-speaking country—Costa Rica—and started teaching as a full-time online English teacher. My job connects me with amazing students from around the world, but my heart remained in Granada so I moved back and have been here ever since.
Living in Spain, I’ve learned what balancing what matters most to me means and now I’m so excited to share that wisdom with you. I hope you will find all the answers and advice you need here at Sincerely, Spain and I look forward to hearing more about you and your experience. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with whatever questions you may have!