Why I hate telling people I’ve been accepted in Spain’s language assistant program in Madrid

Why haven’t I told people yet I have been accepted for a second year in Spain’s language assistant program?

Because people instantly become arseholes when they hear the word ‘Madrid.’

There are three types of people who I haven’t told yet:

  1. Other language assistant people
  2. People in my pueblo (town) Sanlucar de Barrameda in Cadiz and Andalusians in general
  3. Parent-type people (who are not arseholes)

The reason why I haven’t yet told parent-type people is because I know if I continue another year here in Spain they will be sad I’m not coming home. Let’s face it, life without me blows.

But the reason is fairly similar for type 1 and type 2 people:

Because upon hearing I have been accepted (after applying) for the province of Madrid, people act as if I have just told them I am going to cover myself in dog shit then slam a hammer into my face.

Type 1 people, the language assistants are all, “MADRID? Why? But that’s not real Spain!

And type 2 people (Andalusia people) are all, “MADRID? Why? The weather is cold! The people aren’t open/friendly! The city is too big! (But at least you’ll be able to understand their Spanish).

My answer to all of those responses are:

FUCK YOU. (except to being able to understand their Spanish).

I have looked at many maps of Spain, and according to all of them, MADRID IS IN SPAIN. In fact, it’s the capital. In fact, it’s smack in the middle of Spain! So, I believe it is real Spain. No culture? Depends on your definition. There may be many English speakers there, but there are also many Spanish speakers. Live in Basque Country/Galicia/Valencia? Guess what, there are other languages there too. Andalusia? Well, it’s called Spanish but it sounds more like thhhhhsihfsldkvnsthhhhkdjneubfklsf.

It seems to be the smaller the town the language assistant is placed in, the bigger the ‘holier-than-thou’ ego:

“My town is authentic, it only has 16 people! They only speak Spanish! We ride bulls to school and shower in olive oil and worship cojones!”

I don’t care! I’ve already done a year in a town, and I’m looking for another experience. Everyone has a different reason to participate in the program.

Weather too cold? The language assistant program runs through winter – I should hope it’s cold. And it has been fucking cold and wet here in Andalusia, and guess what? THEY DON’T HAVE PROPER HEATING. I spent new year’s in Iceland and I felt warmer there than I did in Andalusia this winter. The houses in the south of Spain are built to block out the heat. I have been living in a giant fridge.

The people aren’t open/friendly – I know there may be some truth to this, but there’s good friendly people and not so friendly people in every city, town and country. I am sure I will get through it. Besides, one of my favourite Spanish friends is from Madrid, and she’s pretty frickin ‘open’ and friendly. And I’m from Melbourne which is a big city – so thank you, I know what the definition of a ‘big city’ is. I’m a city girl and I like cities, I don’t  see anything wrong with that. City.

So the next time you judge someone for choosing culturaless, cold, big, unhappy Madrid, please picture me walking through one of Madrid’s many art galleries with my friendly madrileño friends as we say, screw you, cara de culo.

And just to note, I have loved living in Andalusia and am proud of my slight thhhdsfuhiekj Andalusian accent. Andalusia will probably be one of my favourite parts of Spain to live in. But how will I ever know that if I don’t give somewhere else a go?



  1. I like the cut of your jib. I’ve requested Madrid too, will hopefully get there. I’ve met tons of Spaniards here in SF and they only have good things to say about the culture/music/art there. So the naysayers can suck it.

    • i reckon your chances are good, since of course there are so many schools in the province. i just hope we’re not tooooo far from the centre.

      Glad to hear there are some Spaniards who stick up for the capital. really, i have loved Andalucia, but I’m ready to be back in the city (missing live music, good bars etc)

      Hope to hear soon that you’ll be in Madrid.. we can go gallerying 🙂

  2. I’m not from a particularly large city to begin with in the US, but I requested Andalucia. I went back and forth between whether I’d select Madrid or Andalucia for my first choice and ultimately chose the latter. I figured I could always do what you are doing and switch to Madrid after one year if I decided to.While I haven’t been offered a placement yet, I’m mostly annoyed with the parent-type because I should stay at my safe, secure, and stable job….can you say boring?

    • i think Andalucia is a great choice, and i think this year has just been one of the wettest/coldest (or so they say). my parent people were the same, but I think after sending them lots of photos theyve changed their mind. although I think they’re still somewhat worried about what I’ll do when I go home, but something always seems to come up… Now is a better time than later to travel and really experience living in another country 🙂

  3. Enjoy yourself in Madrid. Yes, everyone likes to give their 2 cents but ya know, who cares what they think.
    So you’re giving the capital a try and there’s a lot of fun in trying something new.
    WHen I told Andalucians I was going to Basque Country, they said 2 things
    1. They’re cold and closed off. They’re not open like us
    2. be careful of the terrorists

    Got to love the bias ideas and black and white ways of thinking. Sometimes each region of Spain seems more like a little country rather than the same place. Everyone has their own opinions and unfortunately (just like it can be in the USA), untrue and incorrect information…
    I miss Andalucia but have been so grateful to experience another place, another “culture” in Basque COuntry, which has a lot of similarties but plenty of differences too, including their own language!

    • Yep, when I said I’d put Basque Country down as my 2nd choice I got the same response! (I’m curious to hear what the people over there have to say about the Andalusians?)
      I agree, I think the regions identify themselves firstly to their province and then to their country. Or at least in Andalusia, Catalonia and Basque Country it seems they do.
      Hope you’ve been able to pick up a teeny bit of Basque! I’ve heard it’s completely different…

      • you know I’ll have to ask… Basques don’t seem to rattle of stereotypes of Andalucians the same way the Andalucians do of the Basques… except the way they speak (comen las palabras). I’ll have to ask.
        I’ve learned a handful of words but it is entirely different. This morning I overhead a conversation in Euskera and have to say may have been the first time I’ve really heard it. It’s spoken here but not as much as other areas! And not every Basque person speaks Basque!

  4. HAHAHAA I’m officially in love with your blog!

    “My town is authentic, it only has 16 people! They only speak Spanish! We ride bulls to school and shower in olive oil and worship cojones!”

    Madrid is in my top 3 favorite cities in Spain, people always are quick to blabber about things they don’t even know a thing about!

    all the best to you in Madrrrrrrrrid =]

  5. Haha, I second what conquistadoracareese said! I’m in Seville and it’s great, but I fell in love with Madrid a bit when I went earlier this year. There is so much going on – way more culture than here I reckon!! By that I mean different types of culture from around the world, and also just different things to do. Plus I’m vegetarian (was vegan before coming to Andalucia…didn’t fancy starving while living here though) and my God I was salivating at every turn in Madrid, so much choice in food! Have a brilliant time in Madrid, it’s great there!! Though I do agree that it’s cold…have fun anyway and also thanks for the likes on my blog!

  6. You will LOVE Madrid. I’m currently doing the Language Assistant programme in Madrid. It’s beautiful and I’d have to disagree with the suggestion that Madrileños are unfriendly; then again I’m British and we’re all hostile.

  7. Yep, I understand this 100%! I did the small town thing in Andalucía last year and I’m in Madrid right now. I’ve also lived and taught in China, if you can believe it, the snobs are even worse there. It’s always the same competition, I have a more authentic life than you! In the Chinese context, you hear, oh you don’t speak fluent Chinese or eat fear factor food everyday? Psh, thought so!

    • Gosh, I imagine the whole “authentic” thing is even more hardcore in China. So is living in Madrid big thumbs up? I am pretty set on going, it’s just so hard to know whether I’d like it there!

      • Madrid is great, although if I’m honest, I had a bit of trouble with the transition at first. I did find that everyone at my school was much colder than before. Additionally, it is a bit of a shock to hear English everywhere. However, you’ll find your scene and once you move to Madrid, it’s hard to live anywhere else!

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