ONIF Student Spotlight

Sophia Venables '21
Sophia Venables '21
Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

April 1, 2022

Name: Sophia Venables

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Degree: BA Psychology

Graduation Date: May 2021

Fellowship Award: North American Language and Culture Assistants Program (NALCAP). A public diplomacy program that places native English speakers in primary and secondary schools in Spain, to work as language assistants under the supervision of a main teacher.

What are your current or future career plans? After the completion of my grant, I will be moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer.

What have you enjoyed most about the program? I think the most rewarding part of this program has been building a relationship with my students. In my first grade classes, every time I enter the classroom they all run up to give me a hug! I also really enjoy having the opportunity to travel all over Europe. I work Monday through Thursday, so almost every weekend I go explore somewhere new!

What has been the most challenging aspect of the program? For me, the most challenging aspects of this program have been the very slow pace of Spanish life, as well as the cultural differences in classroom expectations of students.

How has Covid-19 impacted your experience? My school’s COVID policy requires that all students and teachers wear masks to stay safe. It’s kind of funny to think that after six months, my students and I have not actually seen each other’s faces!

What advice do you have for future applicants? I would not recommend applying to this program unless:

  1. You are prepared to live in a rural town in a foreign country, without any larger institutional support.
  2. You speak at least a C1 level of Spanish.
  3. You have substantial savings.
  4. You are looking for a program to facilitate moving to Europe permanently, as an ESL teacher.

What would people be surprised to know about you? After all this traveling, I’m really good at reading maps!


For more information about NALCAP, visit https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/eeuu/convocatorias-programas/convocatorias-eeuu/nalcap.html or contact ONIF.