Tyler Haynes

E.O.I. Estepona – A Home Away from Home

After spending a semester studying in Barcelona, Spain, I knew I had caught the travel bug and would undoubtedly return to Spain within the near future. Although it was extremely difficult and nerve racking to leave everything back in the US, I knew it was something I would regret if I didn’t take advantage of. It has been the best experience I’ve yet to embark on and I’d encourage anyone to take the risk and enjoy the best time of your life in E.O.I. Estepona.

Estepona is by no means a city; anything it lacks in size however is easily made up for by the beautiful location and the amazing people. When I learned of my destination, I naturally wanted to find out as much as possible about my new home. This proved to be more of a difficult task than I had imagined, and when I finally arrived in Estepona, I was left with four days to basically get settled before school started. This was definitely the most stressful point in my stay in Spain. However, I soon realized how friendly and helpful the people in Estepona really were, beginning to offer me leads on apartments and one employee at the hotel even brought me up to the school because I was completely baffled by its location, which was within a high school. The warm welcome by all of the teachers was incredible and I immediately knew this was the right place for me. Within a day after going to the school, I had an apartment and was settled into my new home.

The idea of being in charge of a classroom where it is almost guaranteed that everyone is older than you is somewhat daunting at first, but I adjusted quickly and realized everyone was there because they wanted to be; they wanted to learn English, and about myself and my culture. Day in and day out, I was excited to make the walk up to the school, and truly looked forward to going to class; there wasn’t a single day where I wouldn’t spend the majority of the time smiling and laughing with all the students

Estepona is an amazing town, and it’s no wonder so many tourists flock there every day to experience all there is to offer. There is always something new around every corner and an adventure waiting for you. However, as amazing as Estepona is, none of this would have been possible without the kindness and sincerity of all of the teachers and students alike. The teachers were always there whenever I needed anything, even if it was the most miniscule problem. I was invited to every event (including meals, ferias, festivals) and encouraged to interact, to practice Spanish, was brought to various cultural events. The students were equally as important; meeting with a group every Saturday for coffee and drinks, watching the Barcelona v. Madrid games, and always offering to bring me wherever I wanted to go. My experience would’ve been incomplete without the remarkable people I’ve had the honor of getting to know over the past year.

The only regret I have is not repeating another year in E.O.I. Estepona. I wish the best for anyone who has been lucky enough to be placed in Estepona, you will undeniably be in for an extraordinary experience. Estepona was my home for the year, and will always remain a home away from home; I thank all those for making it such a memorable experience.

~Tyler Haynes