Do you desire an extraordinary life? Do you dream of adventures? Do you wish to travel to far-away lands?
You are not alone. Many of us wish for all these things and more. Real-life, though, has a habit of getting in the way. We have responsibilities, careers and families to think about. Leaving everything behind to set sail on an adventure is never as easy as you would think.
For Teresa, one of our students here at the Lewis School, this is exactly what happened.
As a child, Teresa dreamed of learning languages, travelling abroad and experiencing new cultures but, until now, she never had the chance.
Teresa has spent her whole life working as a nurse in her homeland of Spain. Between her demanding job and her marriage, she had a busy and fulfilling life but somehow, something was still missing. She never truly forgot her childhood dreams and once she retired, she decided that it was time to take destiny into her own two hands.
Read on to discover Teresa’s fascinating story, which took her from Spain to India, to Nepal, to the UK, and, if her English studies go well, will take her back to India again.
My first question for Teresa, ‘where did you grow up?’, turned out to be a very complicated one. Teresa’s family are from the city of Sergovia in central Spain but her father’s job as a naval engineer meant that the family moved around Spain a lot.
Later on, Teresa studied in Madrid and then moved to Andalucía to work. She currently lives in the seaside city of Marbella on the south coast.
As the second of eight children, Teresa never had the chance to travel when she was younger. She watched enviously as her oldest brother went to England, France and even Japan. Teresa explains that although she too would have liked to travel and learn English, this was simply not normal back then, especially for a young woman.
Teresa set her sights instead on different goals. Teresa qualified as a nurse, worked in various hospitals and got married. All the while, she had the feeling that life had put her “in a different place”.
Teresa’s new life began when she retired in 2015. She decided to use her newfound freedom to visit two Indian children who she had been sponsoring through a charity. The charity, the Rural Development Trust, works to improve the living conditions in some of India’s poorest rural areas.
Teresa’s eyes light up as she describes the joy of meeting the two children for the first time and describes the experience as “wonderful, just wonderful’. She stayed with the charity for a short while and found that she had a great affinity and passion for the work of the trust. The charity has an extensive range of projects in areas such as women’s empowerment, ecology and community health. To her delight, Teresa discovered that the Trust even runs several hospitals, which sometimes take on volunteer nurses.
After her stay with the Rural Development Trust, Teresa went on to volunteer with another project in India for six months helping disabled children. She finds it almost impossible to explain the depth of her feelings towards the volunteer work, as she says it is something that you have to do to truly understand. She says that, although it was challenging and sometimes sad, there was so much joy and life there. Teresa took great satisfaction from the feeling that she was doing something truly unique and worthwhile.
Having loved the experience of travelling and volunteering, Teresa booked another trip, this time to Nepal, where she volunteered for another charity. She enjoyed the work with the charity but her time spent with the Rural Foundation Trust had made a big impression on Teresa and she decided that she wanted nothing more than to return to India to work for the charity.
The Lewis School
This is where the Lewis School of English comes in, as to work as a nurse in India, Teresa needs to have excellent language skills. Teresa was with us for 3 months last year but, back then, she wasn’t sure if it would be possible to work as a nurse for the hospital. More recently, however, they posted up vacancies for nurses on their website and Teresa has returned determined to get her English up to the required level.
This time around, Teresa is planning on staying with us for 7 months, from the beginning of November to the end of May. A few weeks ago, Teresa wrote her C.V in English and has had it checked over by a teacher before sending it to the Trust. At the time of writing, she hasn’t got long to wait for a reply. Teresa seems excited and nervous. She admits that even if she gets the place it will be hard as volunteer nurses work 6 days a week and don’t have a set timetable.
It is rare to meet someone as fascinating and inspirational as Teresa. Her passion and determination to achieve her goals are truly remarkable. She is a true testament to the fact that it is never too late to change your life and to follow your dreams.
➛to retire – to leave your job and stop working, especially because you have reached a particular age or because you are ill; to tell somebody they must stop doing their job
➛affinity – a strong feeling that you understand somebody/something and like them or it
➛disabled – unable to use a part of your body completely or easily because of a physical condition, an illness, an injury, etc.; unable to learn easily
➛vacancy – a job that is available for somebody to do
➛CV: a written record of your education and the jobs you have done, that you send when you are applying for a job (the abbreviation for ‘curriculum vitae’)