Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #16: Patty Sanchez (An international teacher currently working at American School of Barcelona)

September 4, 2012

Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Patty Sanchez:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I come from California and moved to Barcelona 10 years ago with the sole intention of exposing myself to a new culture.  I landed my first job as a teacher two weeks after arriving in August 2001. I got really lucky to have found a job so soon after coming here without any contacts. It was an intense two years working at a private Catholic school while adapting to a culture I had read about in my college history classes.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

After my second year I returned to California and taught ninth grade English. It was one my happiest years of teaching. I married my Catalan husband and returned to Spain and decided I would work in an international setting.

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

I currently work at The American School of Barcelona. It’s a great place to work because the school environment is friendly and many of the teachers become an extension of your family. The school is progressive in its plan to prepare students with a well rounded academic experience with social issues and with an academic future. It’s a school where students feel safe and capable to accomplish their future success as students. We have really great teachers leading students with the tools they need to reason and investigate information surrounding everyday issues.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

At El Prat Airport in Barcelona immigration agents talked away while looking briefly at my passport and stamped it without saying anything to me. The agent just waved her hand gesturing I could pass to baggage claims. This would never happen in America. Agents in the U.S. quiz you about your city of birth, your middle name, your whereabouts, etc., until you start squirming and wonder if you indeed are American.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

If I had to look for a job in a new country, I would take into account salary and the location of the school. Is it in a safe area? Can I have a normal life outside of school? How much is the cost of living? Can I afford to live on my own on the salary I would be earning? Can I afford to travel after rent and utility bills? These would be the questions to take into account if you are looking to live abroad.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Make the best of it.

Thanks Patty! Also, check out her blog about her travels and life living abroad as an expat here.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to teach at an international school in Spain like Patty?  Currently, we have 25 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community.  Many of the international schools there have had comments and information submitted about them on our website:

American School of Barcelona (79 Comments)
Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (13 Comments)
American School Valencia (7 Comments)
Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)
British School of Alicante (3 Comments)
El Plantio International School Valencia (4 Comments)
King’s College – The British School of Madrid (3 Comments)