What if I told you that you can actually go to Spain and stay at a Four Star Luxury resort for 6 days for free? Unreal right? Well I did it a week ago and spend literally $0 for a 5 night/6 day stay at a beautiful property in Avila, Spain. Read on and I’ll tell you how you can too.
I first heard about Vaughantown when I attended the New York Times Travel Show in 2010. On one segment of the program, Pauline Frommer was talking about budget travel and volunteering in a beautiful countryside in Spain for no fee at all. I was curious about it since a lot of volunteering programs charge a minimal fee. It sounded too good to be true that I wanted to try it myself. After two years, I finally made it to Spain.
the luxurious hotel in the Spanish countryside of Barca de Avila
How Vaughantown Volunteering Works
Vaughantown is a one-of-a-kind volunteering. The aim of the program is to help Spaniards with their conversational English. The program isolates the Spaniards to a very conducive environment for English speaking set on different beautiful countryside locations without leaving their home country. For 6 days straight, the Spaniards are required not to speak any Spanish and only to talk and listen for 16 hours with native English speakers. You as a volunteer are required to talk to Spaniards, teach them some phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions and help them improve their accents and conversational English. Conversation basically starts during breakfast, then about three sets of hourly one-on-ones, lunch, group activities in the afternoon and more one-on-ones, group activities at night and lastly dinner. This is still in Spain so everything is late, lunch starts at 2 pm and dinner at 9 pm.
During one-on-one’s, you are paired with one Spaniard and you two can go for a walk and simply talk just like speaking to a good friend or another interesting traveler.
this is where we held some of our conversations in the countryside
and we also get to see the little villages from afar
and a few of our neighbors in Barca de Avila
The place is literally out in the middle of nowhere which makes it even more conducive to Spaniards because they don’t hear any Spanish at all. You’ll enjoy it if you’re a big nature junkie as well.
The conversations during meals are fun especially because we were served with amazing Spanish gourmet cuisine and Spanish red wine. Here are some samples of what we ate at Vaughantown. Take note that they didn’t repeat any of the dishes or desserts for six days. Everything was delicious especially the wine!
And if you get really lucky and it’s a nice day, you’ll get to see the most beautiful sunset during dinner.
Or not and you get really unlucky and the Spaniards had a hard time with you, they will put you in a suitcase to ship you back to your home country.
My Experience in Vaughantown
I absolutely loved my experience in Vaughantown! It was too good and it was true. Not only did I get to experience luxury travel and amazing dishes but most of all I also got to interact with Spaniards and learned more about Spain, which is by far my most favorite country from all the countries that I have traveled to for the past 14 months. It’s the best place to learn more about their culture and the Spaniards are so eager to tell you about their country, their culture and their food. But the best part of this whole experience is just hearing them improve their English from day and making new friends. It was very fulfilling as a volunteer and a wonderful wonderful experience.
the amazing Gredos Group #359
How You Can Volunteer with Vaughantown
There is an application process that you have to go through to volunteer. Don’t worry because it’s so simple and they respond right away. I got accepted in less than 24 hours of applying. There are also five different properties and a lot of dates you can choose from. Once accepted, all you have to do is buy a plane ticket to Madrid. That’s it.
Here are the links:
This is my first time with Vaughantown and it definitely won’t be my last. I think it’s the only program out there where you can combine budget + luxury + amazing food+ cultural travel. It’s like hitting four birds with one stone, I’d say and that you are crazy if you won’t try it! Good luck!
To awesome volunteering,
*Disclaimer: Everything in this post is completely my own opinion and my trip wasn’t sponsored by Vaughantown.