I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is! I can say that because I have done the free volunteer trip to Spain myself.
The organization, Vaughan Town seeks native English speaking volunteers from around the world to come to Spain and teach English to the Anglos. Vaughan Town enrolls Spaniards (mostly business men and women, professionals and corporate employees) in English learning courses. They pair up the students with volunteer English speakers for a week long one-on-one intensive program.
What skills must you have?
Well, if you are able to read this and speak fluent English, you are already qualified. Got an accent? No problem! In fact, they want people with diverse accents so that the students can get used to listening and understanding all kinds of nationalities when dealing with global businesses. You can be a citizen of anywhere, as long as you are willing and able to come to Spain.
What’s in for you?
The program requires that the Anglos (English speakers) and Spaniards (students) live together for 5-7 days. Vaughan Town will provide you a free hotel room in a remote part of Spain. They have a few locations to choose from which you can select when you apply for the program. Now, these are pretty beautiful resorts and 4-star hotels located in countryside of Spain. I went to the program in Segovia, one of the most quaint cities in Spain (probably a must see even if you are there just as a tourist). The hotel I stayed at, El Rancho, also had an infinity pool overlooking the mountains, an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, 2 restaurants, bar, conference center and gardens. It was a luxurious accommodation provided to us at no cost. No need for tipping either.
You also get 3 very scrumptious Spanish meals a day (generally 3-4 courses each) with unlimited wine. I literally gained weight by the end of the week!
Perhaps the biggest attraction for someone who does the program is the cultural insights. Because you will get to spend so much time with the locals, you will learn a lot about Spanish ways. Your so-called lessons are basically conversations that can be anything about work, family, history, politics or anything that interests you or the other person. During my interactions with the Spaniards, I got to know about their lifestyle, financial conditions, social norms, food, fashion, religious practices and their opinions about American culture. Our talks were real and intimate. Many of these things I wouldn’t have come to know, if it had not been for my conversations with the locals.
What will your schedule be like?
You will be speaking in English with different students throughout the day, generally from 9am-10pm. You will need to have all your meals with them, have one-on-one conversations with them, and spend entertainment hours doing various activities together. The lesson times are scheduled for you but you can decide what you talk about and where you go during that time. Meaning, you are never in a classroom, instead you can walk around the town, grab a beer or coffee in the neighborhood restaurant, visit the grocery store or art shop, sit in the garden and TALK IN ENGLISH.
It is also mandatory to attend all the cultural programs in the evenings, where skits, dances, music and stand up comedy is organized by Vaughan but all the students and instructors participate. This is probably the most hilarious part of the day, as you further get to realize cultural and language taboos.
Whats the catch?
The only catch is you need to buy your own plane ticket to fly to Madrid. You also might have to pay for a hotel room for a night before and after the program, depending on your flight schedule. Once the program starts, Vaughan provides free transportation from Madrid to the city where you will be going to and brings you back to Madrid. Your lodging and meals are taken care of. If you decide to do any sightseeing during the days, shopping or drinking/eating between meals, that will be on your own dime too.
If you are looking for a free vacation where you can read, sleep and relax all day, this is not the trip for you. But if you like to meet people, learn about cultures, take a break in the countryside and give back to the community, consider volunteer vacationing in Spain for free!