4/21/2014 8:10:00 AM

Siena Grads Begin Careers in Spain

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

By Jim Eaton

Claire Frank ’13 and Madeline Campbell ’13 took their bachelor’s degrees and the experience they gained while at Siena College across the Atlantic Ocean to teach in Spain.

“Being an American English teacher over here makes you feel like a local celebrity in your school,” Frank said. “I’m greeted with daily hugs and kids chanting my name whenever I enter a classroom. The kids are eager to learn English and ask me a lot of questions about where I come from, my family and the U.S. culture.“

The Spanish majors credit their alma mater for helping them find employment and success in a foreign country.

“So much of what we learned at Siena consisted of how to be a great teacher no matter what you are teaching,” Frank, who also minored in psychology and women’s studies, said. She credits her faculty mentors and the Office of International Programs with helping her discover the CIEE Teach Abroad program in Spain.

Madeline Campbell works for Conversation Auxiliaries, a government program that hires native English speakers to teach in support of Spain’s movement to make schools bilingual. These schools must teach two subjects completely in English.

“I work as a consultant teacher in two bilingual elementary schools,” Campbell said. “Thanks to my education, I never struggle to express myself or understand the language.”

Campbell honed her skills at Siena during her student teaching program and obtained a degree in French as well. She also fulfilled a maternity leave position before she graduated. The aspiring educator then followed her heart and passion to Spain.

“Looking at where I am now, I know it would not have been possible without all of the people at Siena who helped me, especially my mentor, Dr. Marcela Garcés,” Campbell said.

Campbell lives in a small town on the Mediterranean coast, called San Javier. She has quickly immersed herself into the culture by joining the local library and gym, attending concerts, Spanish lunches and rugby games. Frank has enrolled in flamenco classes, tries new food often and goes out with friends regularly.

“I have been extremely lucky to find people that I know will be my friends for life,” Campbell said.

The cultural knowledge they are gaining is invaluable. Campbell has taken time to travel throughout Europe. So far, she has visited Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Frank has visited England, France, Belgium, and Italy.

"As much as I am teaching my students about our language and culture, I am learning so much more about theirs just by being here and experiencing it,” Frank said.

Still, no matter where they go, the skills Campbell and Frank honed and the relationships they developed at Siena will always travel with them.


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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