My name is Janelle, I am from Iowa in the United States. I grew up on a dairy farm and have 6 siblings. My first trip abroad was to Singapore and Vietnam 8 years ago and that is where my travel bug started. Through life I enjoy meeting new people, chasing dreams, and experiencing other cultures. You can follow me on Instagram at @nellen30.

Living in another country is a wild and exciting adventure. Thanks to the opportunity through Global Work & Travel, my dream of living in another place for a year is being lived out right now.

Truly this has been on my bucket list for at least 5 years. I completed the TEFL Iberia course, a world recognized certification, where I can teach English to non-native speakers. I took the course in Barcelona, Spain where I got to walk past Antonio Gaudi’s beautiful architecture daily.

With my certification, I now get the freedom to search for jobs at the many available language schools or academies here in BCN. One major personal goal for choosing Spain as my location for taking this course, was to learn and be fluent in Spanish. With living right in a Spanish speaking country, I have many chances to practice my language skills.

One morning I stopped at a new favorite cafe, El Fornet, to grab coffee and chocolate dipped croissant and work on course assignments. I wanted to practice my Spanish and decided to spark up a conversation with girls sitting next to me who were about the same age as me. I had a wedding coming up and needed to find a dress, perfect conversation starter I thought.

As I started speaking in Spanish the girl stopped me quickly and kindly said in English, “I speak Italian”. I stuttered as I tried to figure out what to say next, the conversation definitely didn't go as I had planned in my head. So I asked where they were from and they were all visiting from Italy. After talking, I wished them a nice day. I sat in embarrassment for a moment, but then let confidence settle in as I realized I stretched out of my comfort zone. This is exactly what I came here to do and it’s going to be uncomfortable at times and challenging, but all worth it in the end. I assumed the girls were from Spain and that they spoke Spanish, those assumptions were wrong.


I learned a great lesson that day. While in Barcelona, a tourist city, I should never assume where people are from or what language they speak. That is the beautiful thing about Barcelona, so many different languages are spoken on the street. It was a laughable moment for myself as I continue the fun journey of putting myself out there and sparking conversations.

One day soon I will be fluent in Spanish. Cheers to traveling and all the lessons learned and memories made along the way!

The most embarrassing moments make for the best stories! Want to put yourself out there just like Janelle? You know what you need to do. 😉

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