life in sanlúcar :: part one

while i started this blog about two weeks ago, i am yet to write a post about my life here in sanlúcar! here’s a brief recap of the past month.

i began teaching at I.E.S. San Lucas on October 1–i absolutely love it. the teachers welcomed me with open arms and made starting this adventure far easier than i anticipated. the school is called a “bilingual center,” meaning that it gives students the option of taking all of their classes in English. a little more than one third of each grade decides to take advantage of the bilingual track, so i assist around 120 of the school’s 300 students.

i work primarily in English classes, but also assist science and p.e. [yes, you read that correctly] courses, too. in my English classes, the teacher [usually Rosario, Lola or Pilar] has me take about half of the students into another room to work with them on whatever they’re studying; it usually works out to be a ratio of about one to fifteen.

at first, this was pretty daunting. as you all know, before i started at San Lucas, i had no experience teaching, and a room full of hyperactive twelve year olds whose first language was not the same as mine seemed just a little bit outside of my comfort zone. but surprisingly, it went and continues to go quite well. my students, even in primero, are fantastic. they’re actually pretty cute. whenever i walk into their classroom, i’m greeted with a chorus of “HI!” “HI, LAUREN!” it always makes me smile & feel warm and fuzzy inside. [more on the students later.]

during my first week at San Lucas, the teachers all got together and had a party at Juande’s [p.e. teacher] house. despite the fact that i had only known them for two days, they invited me to come, and Juande even gave me a ride. [when i say the teachers at my school are fabulous, i mean they are 100 percent, without-a-doubt fabulous.] i have intercambios with two of them [Pilar and Carmen], and assist a larger group of the teachers with English conversation.

i don’t want to overwhelm you with too many updates at once, so i’ll use another post to continue this story.

un abrazo,


key words:

primero: 11-12 year olds

segundo: 12-13 year olds

tercero: 13-14 year olds

cuarto: 14-15 year olds

intercambio: an hour where a native Spanish speaker and i spend half the time speaking in Spanish and half in English


monday song of the day

in spain, the first day of the week is monday, instead of the u.s.’s sunday. with this in mind, i’ve decided to post a different song each monday, all intended to start your week off on a good note [pun intended]. this particular song has been at the top of the charts in spain for months, and i hear it everywhere. walking to school, in bars, in restaurants, on the radio, etc. despite the fact that it was written and produced as the theme song for a cartoon. it’s that good.

it’s very catchy and destined to get stuck in your head for the next three years. disfruta!

my adventure book…

i know this post is a little late, but better late than never, right? 😉 to catch everyone up, about two months ago, i decided to completely change the trajectory of my life [well, at least temporarily] by accepting a language assistant position in Spain. this, therefore, meant leaving everything and everyone in my hometown of Portland, Ore. [and other U.S. cities] behind, along with my fantastic job in PR.

while this sounded [and sounds] crazy to some, i couldn’t have been more certain about my path forward. i knew i had to take advantage of this rare opportunity. that i wanted [and needed] to explore the world outside of the U.S. again. that i needed to quench my thirst for adventure.

now, i’ve been in the town where i’m teaching English for three weeks, and i’ll be living here until June. it’s a lovely little town [pop: ~70,000] named Sanlúcar de Barrameda. so far, i really, really like it.

moving forward, i’ll be using this blog to document my European adventures [with photos, of course], and really anything else that i feel like writing about. i have a lot of free time here [i only work 12 hours per week], so i plan [but do not promise] to update fairly often.

thank you for following my adventure. i think we’re both in for a fantastic year. until next post, i’m leaving you with a clip from the film that inspired the new name of my blog, “Up.”


Reflections: Life since graduation

During my final term of college—April to June 2010—upon the christening of this blog, I wrote the following bio:

Hi there! My name is Lauren Switzer, and I recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism: Public Relations and a minor in Communication Studies. I am currently pursuing a career in public relations and communications.

From July 2009 through November 2009, I had the amazing privilege of studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia. While there, I also had the opportunity to intern at the Melbourne office of Edelman Worldwide. This experience made me very passionate about international public relations; a passion I hope to convert to a career in the near future.

Aside from public relations, my passions include traveling, history, dancing, reading and attending the occasional movie. I am a social media junkie and am absolutely fascinated by new technology.

In an ideal world, my future holds at least one of the following: an agency job in public relations, a return to Australia, a backpacking trip through Europe with my best friends from my study abroad experience or a trip to the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida.

If you would like to seek me out in other social media, you can find me on TwitterFacebook,  LinkedIn,  PROpenMic and VisualCV.

Little did I know, I was outlining my future. I now posses a job at a public relations agency; this past summer I went to Europe for four weeks and visited numerous study abroad friends; in May, I went to the Harry Potter theme park; and in less than three months, I will be returning to Australia.

I began drafting this post in July of this past year. It’s quite ironic that I find it now, as I’m currently reading Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley. Thoughts, dreams and wishes really do become things.  

Brave new world

As with every season of life, things change. For some, it’s cities, jobs, hobbies, interests, diet, etc. But, for me and my blog, the changing element is topic. This blog has sought to analyze social media and public relations thus far; its focus now will be on things unrelated to my current career — films, fashion, books and music, primarily.

With this in mind, I will leave readers with a quote from one of my favorite films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it—I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

Until next post,