We kindly ask participants to arrive in Madrid at the latest the evening before the program starts, Saturday, since the meeting time for bus departure is early Sunday morning. Return flights should be no earlier than Friday evening (depending on the venue you will be coming from, give or take 3 hours to get to the airport and be there in good time for your flight). You can find all scheduled departures and arrivals here.
Our week-long immersion programs – VaughanTown and FiftyFifty – take place at three picturesque venues – you can find descriptions of all of them here. However, we will always meet up in Madrid and travel together to the venues on the VaughanTown bus.
The single most important benefit without a doubt is the human and cultural experience that is gained during the week. You will meet around 15 Spaniards and a similar number of native English speakers to spend intensive 12-hour days of engaging conversation, dizzily funny skits, theatre, games and outdoor activities.
For many participants, VaughanTown and FiftyFifty are unique ways to get to know Spanish people and culture first-hand, which is often difficult when traveling the usual tourist trail on your own. Our founder Richard Vaughan has been featured in CNN, Frommer’s, Irish Times and dozens of international publications acclaiming the uniqueness of this holiday initiative. Vaughan Systems won the "Best Idea" award in 2003.
There is absolutely no catch at all. Our Spanish clients (think Microsoft, Mercedez-Benz, Volkswagen, Accenture, Pfizer..) pay to attend this unique program where we recruit volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds to volunteer six days of their time and simply converse with them. This is how our business works; you exchange dynamic conversation during the designated talking times for your stay and board during the week.
You will need to purchase your own flights/transport to and from Madrid plus any accommodation the day(s) you are here before and after the program.
Our company will cover all expenses as soon as the program officially starts on Sunday morning through to Friday afternoon when we return you to Madrid. Vaughan Systems provides you with accommodation and three meals a day at the hotels, return bus transfers between the venues and Madrid, and accident insurance during the course of the program.
Over 10,000 volunteers from all over the world have come to Spain to take part in this cultural holiday program: writers, doctors, social workers, backpackers, executives, musicians, students, etc… The variety is endless: participants from over 12 different countries, between ages 18-80, and a healthy mix of temperaments and personalities.
The majority are business professionals from a variety of companies and sectors with an intermediate level of English. Most have studied 'classroom English' for 10+ years, yet lack the practice that comes with living and working in a foreign country. Their use of English in the workplace is very limited, they find it difficult to understand native speakers and struggle to handle conversations with confidence and fluency. They come from all over Spain and generally range from ages 25-55yrs.
The VaughanTown and FiftyFifty programs were designed to offer the most intense variety of accents, personalities and conversation topics possible to create a rich, linguistic atmosphere for the Spanish participants. During the week, the Spaniards throw their grammar books out the window and gear themselves up for a real-life language situations that require listening and speaking.
Your job? Keep the conversation going through dedicated periods of talking, activities, games and meals. You will essentially be a friend to the Spaniards during the week and help them become confident, fluent speakers.
All programs are six days long and run from Sunday morning to Friday afternoon. Although structured, the week's schedule is very relaxed and allows participants to explore the countryside, nearby towns and enjoy the venue's amenities. Each day begins at 9 a.m. for breakfast, and one-to-one conversations run through to lunch at 2 p.m. After lunch, participants have free time until 5 p.m., where group activities and one-to-ones proceed until entertainment hour at 8 p.m.: theatre, comedy, cultural presentations, karaoke, and jokes. Dinner is at 9 p.m. after which most participants spend time after hours at the bar. To see the full schedule, click here.
You must be at least 24 years of age and a native Speaker of English. If you are however between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, we also have a Special Young Adult program. Please check the dates here. We look for enthusiastic, inquisitive individuals who enjoy sharing their culture and experience with others. You will be open, adventurous, a good listener, a generous conversationalist and a fun-loving personality. We seek variety of ages, nationalities and backgrounds to offer the Spaniards an intensity and richness found in no other English-speaking country on the planet.
Fill in the form in the application section of the website here and tell us about yourself, your travels, interests and personal/professional background. Our Madrid office will process your application based on your preferences of selected dates/venues and how your profile fits in with the rest of the group.
Depending on which dates you apply for, it may take up to a month for us to get back to you. If the date or location is not available, we may suggest an alternative for you. We run programs all year long, you can find our current schedule here.
Please keep an eye on your email junk folder in case any of our communications happen to find their way there! Saving our email address to your contacts list usually helps to prevent this.
Not at all! We aim to expose our clients to real-life language situations - which is where you come in. You won't need to do any teaching at VaughanTown or on a FiftyFifty. However, if you are interested in a career in English teaching and would like to move to Spain, Vaughan Systems is the largest in-company English language training firm in the country with offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Santander, Vigo and Valladolid to name a few. We constantly hire native speakers to join our large team of teachers. No teaching certificate or qualifications are required: we are far more interested in your personal qualities and potential. Please visit www.vaughanenglishteachers.com to find out more.
Email us to request feedback from a past participant; we’ll see if we can find someone living in your country willing to provide their contact to pass onto you. You may also check the testimonial page to read up on what people are saying about us or the video page to view clips of volunteers on location.
Another option would be to write on our Facebook page as one of our veteran participants will be sure to answer! These days you can also find additional visual info via other social media sites like Instagram, etc. Travel blogs are also a great way of reading up on previous volunteer experiences.
You will be doing a lot of walking outdoors so bring comfortable shoes. Most participants come in casual, travel clothing and make sure to bring a sweater even during the hottest months of summer, as temperatures may drop a little at night.
Most of our venues have pools or even spas, so we recommend bringing swimming attire as well (swim suit, flip flops and bathing cap).
No, you cannot bring pets to the program because the towns we stay in do not allow it. For all the animal-lovers out there, we apologize and hope for your understanding.
Do you have a hidden talent that no one knows about? Do you play the djembe drums? The guitar? Are you an expert poker player? These are all good things to remember when you think about what to bring. Bring that deck of cards! Bring that guitar/drum set/stamp collection that you want to share with everyone! Remember to bring a camera, some postcards from home or your travels, or any pictures you would like to share.
There are several ways, Taxi, Airport shuttle and the easiest would be to use the Underground (Metro). Click here for a full explanation of the different ways to get to the area of our Meeting Point.
The departure/return point for our bus transport is in a central location of Madrid. The closest metro stations are Cuzco (line 10) and Tetuan (line 1) - click here (page 5) for a map of the local area.
Many participants choose to book accommodation based in this area to be within walking distance of our meeting point, but others prefer to stay somewhere even more central if sticking around for additional days before/after the program.
If you are not an EU, USA or Canadian citizen, please contact your embassy to inform yourself. We can send you a letter of invitation if one is required.
You will be covered by an accident insurance during the duration of the program. This coverage takes effect from the moment you step on our bus to when we return you to Madrid on the Friday afternoon.
Spanish law prevents us from including participants that are over 70yrs of age under our insurance policy, so please be sure to acquire your own if this applies to you.
Adolfo Suarez - Madrid Barajas Airport (IATA code MAD)
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed/indoor spaces, including the bedrooms. Smoking must be done in outdoor areas/designated areas.
This may also apply to vapers/users of electronic cigarettes, but please ask the hotel staff to be sure as they are private establishments and we must follow their indications.
Madrid is a very safe city but just like anywhere else in the world, please be attentive of your surroundings and take care of your possessions during your travels.
Expect a great time! The linguistic journey our Spanish students embark on at the beginning of the program quickly turns into a more personal one and you will see many changed faces by the end of the week (for the better!). They will begin to open up, become less timid and shred any fear of speaking English. They will gain more confidence in themselves and in their ability to communicate.
Above all, new friendships will be made and new bonds created. You will soon discover that you'll be able to travel the world and find a VaughanTown friend in many places!