What our volunteers say

Alison Gardner

78 years old, from British Colombia, Canada

1st time in VaughanTown

"My husband and I have known about Spain’s VaughanTown for over 20 years, and we have heard unqualified enthusiasm from friends and colleagues who have participated in the program during that time.

2019 was our year to jump in and give this six-day volunteer vacation a try ourselves, starting with a three-hour group bus ride from Madrid with our students!

Much of the time in between is spent in a rotation of one-on-one 50 minute sessions that go on each day as one Anglo and one Spaniard go for country walks together or share a coffee on the terrace or in the huge lounge overlooking a panorama of mountain scenery.

Other times are spent on planning group activities … all in English! … like costumed skits or presentations with plenty of laughs and encouragement all round."

Read the full article here

Shama Khan

40 years old, from London, United Kingdom

3 times in VaughanTown

"I’ve attended the VaughanTown program three times over the years. Each time, the program lasted one week and I got to meet so many great people from Spain and around the world. I always add a few extra days on each end so I have some time to enjoy the rest of Spain too.

The one-week program is an ‘immersive’ language course for a group of Spanish professionals who are learning and building fluency in English. As one of the English teachers, or ‘Anglos’, you don’t actually need any teaching experience. You just need to speak English the way you normally do, giving the students a taste of how people really speak in the real world, accents and all!

The program has been running for years, so as an Anglo everything runs smoothly. There is a pickup and introductory meeting arranged in Madrid where you get a chance to meet the other Anglos, before being whisked off to the program location. There are many perks to joining this program – you get to travel in Spain, volunteer, meet great people, while your food and accommodation is covered throughout the week. Another great perk… lots of great wine!"

Read the full article here

Chris Drumm

58 years old, from Tralee, Ireland

1st time in VaughanTown

"Around 10 years ago I read a newspaper article about taking a holiday volunteering to speak English in Spain, it sounded too good to be true, who on earth would gain any benefit from my English vocabulary, and more to the point, why would they give me free accommodation in a nice hotel, food and wine for a week to simply talk, I could do that until the cows come home, I am constantly being reminded I can "Talk for Ireland".

I registered on the Vaughan Town website but that was as far as it got.

I did what we all do, procrastinate. I thought about it from time to time, kept an eye on the website, looked at reviews, read testimonials, and all the usual stuff. Work, family life and an inability to create some "Me Time" meant 10 years passed before I bit the bullet.

I finally pressed the nuclear button on the VaughanTown website.

My God, Vaughan Town accepted me, were they mad?...

...The week passed all too quickly, it was a pleasure to witness the interaction between generations, nationalities, life experiences and real stories making it such a genuine and real experience, the people were all absolutely brilliant, there were email addresses and phone numbers exchanged, promised to meetups and reunions, as I am writing this a few of the Anglos and Spaniards have met up already for a night out in Madrid, all I can say is thank you Vaughan Town for such a fantastic experience..."


Read the full article here

Lyn Dobrin

77 years old, from Westbury, United States

1st time in VaughanTown

"While I love seeing famous sights when traveling, the best part of a trip is spending time with local people and getting to know them.

That opportunity came this summer when I participated in an English-immersion program for Spaniards called Vaughan Town, named for the founder Richard Vaughan. The town brings together Spaniards and native English speakers in an English-only environment for six days. We “Anglos” were there to provide conversation with the Spanish speakers, who already know some English. We paid for transportation, but our room and board were covered while we were in the program...

We were 10 Spanish and 14 Anglos. The Spanish came from all over the country and theAnglos from places such as New York, Florida, Chicago, Wales, England, Ireland, and Abu Dhabi.

The six days were a combination of numerous one-on-ones, group presentations, and lots of fun..."

Read the full article here


Ian Nightingale

61 years old, from Leicester, United Kingdom

9 times in VaughanTown, 1 time in VaughanTown FiftyFifty

"If you really want to understand the Spanish, then acting as a volunteer for Vaughan is a unique and rewarding way to do this. 

I started volunteering about 7 years ago and have done 7 programs. Initially, I thought it would be a good way to develop my  Spanish (but as speaking Spanish is forbidden that was never going to happen).
It has however allowed me to meet some amazing Spaniards, visit nice locations and get to know what makes the Spanish "tick". Don't expect it to be a "walk in the park" (Although you do get the opportunity to do lots of walking if you want)
It's hard to describe just how rewarding it is seeing the dramatic improvement not just in the participant's skill level but in their confidence to use English.
A word of warning though it can be addictive!"

Jenny Shaffeeullah

64 years old, from Whitby, Canada

20 times in VaughanTown

"I travel often around the world when I can. VT is a place I will always return to, as often as they would have me. In addition to giving to the eager Spaniards, it is always a humble opportunity for me to learn about each and everyone's life experiences in an interactive way. Toronto Canada is my home which I love dearly. It's where my roots are embedded, and it is where my family is. Spain has become my second home. In addition to participating in a VT program, I take the opportunity to travel to several locations across Spain to immerse myself in the different traditions, meet new people, and learn as much as I can about this wonderful country that was merely just a history lesson in high school, but now the theory has transformed into practice and I can feel, touch, and enjoy. "

Ross Tillbrook

52 years old, from Edinburgh, United Kingdom

9 times in VaughanTown

"For me, Vaughan Town is a wonderful way to meet new people from all over the world, enable the learners to gain confidence in English, and to have fun!"

Penny Zibula

68 years old, from New Bern, United States

2 times in VaughanTown

"... What comes to mind when you hear the words, “volunteering abroad?” Do you conjure up images of building bridges, working on clean water projects or training teachers in Africa?

Now imagine a volunteer opportunity in a historic Spanish village, where you stay in a four-star hotel, enjoy three sumptuous meals a day, interact with some of the most interesting and lovable people on the planet. And all you have to do is speak English for six days. Too good to be true? Well, yes and no. Yes, you experience all of the above and more. And no, this is not a vacation...

... What we’ve learned from our experience is that no matter the diversity of the volunteers and the level of English spoken by the students on the first day, by the time we left, we were family. It didn’t matter whether someone was Spanish or Anglo, if someone needed help, an entire support network magically appeared. The bonds that were formed are strong enough to last a lifetime. All these people are priceless treasures we don’t want to lose..."

Read the full article here 

Our Team

Carmen Villa

Program Director

Our local program director and a childhood friend of Richard Vaughan. She speaks English as well as any anglo! Born in Sevilla, she lived in Chile for 25 years. She has been involved with Vaughan since September 2006. She might be small, but she is feisty! She will be your greatest ally if you keep yourself on her good side!

Lucía Fraile

Lucía Fraile

Program Director

Lucía grew up between Madrid and Texas, learning to describe “nice” things as ‘fetén’ and to address a group of two or more people as “y’all”. She has been a part of Vaughan Systems since 2009 and has worked in almost all its programs – she’s taught In-Company, kids and adults in Particulares and on the Humanities program. She’s also worked for an extended period of time developing materials with the R&D department and has been an on-air teacher on Vaughan Radio.

Lucía Fraile

Giovanna Mabelini

Program Director

A Brazilian girl with an Italian name who has lived all over the world and is now teaching English in Spain – talk about being a global citizen! After traveling for a full year and visiting over 40 countries she got a job at Vaughan and moved to Madrid in the summer of 2015. Her first experience with VaughanTown was that very same summer as a volunteer and she fell in love with the program. One year later she joined the team as a PD. As laid back as they come, Giovanna is chill about almost anything but knows when to not take any nonsense!

Daryl Tan

Diana Balsells

Program Director

A Guatemalan transplant in Spain, she only joined Vaughan Systems in the summer of 2015 but before that, she lived in such exotic and diverse places as the Bayou parishes of Louisiana, Normandy, France, or Thailand. She will strike you as polite and ever-smiling but don’t let the sugarcoating fool you: she can be tough when she needs to be! She is a traveler, nature and animal lover who also holds advanced degrees in the field of Biology. So if you’ve never really understood photosynthesis, when you meet her is a good time to ask about it!

Pete Brown

Pete Brown

Master of Ceremonies

From Leicester, England, he lived to travel until he got to Spain in Sept 2008 where he was seduced by the heat and Spanish tortilla. To keep himself out of trouble and off the streets, he came to Vaughan a year later. During his travels, he challenged a Mexican in a chilli eating contest, he lost. And word on the street is, he can play a didgeridoo!

Carlota Romero

Master of Ceremonies

Born and raised in Madrid, she joined us in summer of 2012 having heard about Vaughan from Pete. She has lived in different countries like Canada, England and France.
Despite her rocky start in Vaughan arriving late to the meeting point in her first program, it has been smooth sailing since! We also heard that the alarm has been thrown away and is being kicked around under a bridge somewhere in Madrid.

Alba Rosa Hernández

Master of Ceremonies

Alba was born in Melilla, a small city in the north of Africa. She´s an all singing, dancing, story- telling, bundle of energy kinda gal. As a child, she loved talking with anybody in any language at any time. Her mum realized very early on that she was not shy. At age 15, she was sent off to Finland to present a Comenius Project then afterwards, she travelled to Cambridge and studied at the Kings College.
Yes! That’s why her English is great! To top it all off, she studied drama in the Royal School of Drama in Madrid. You ask yourself, what was her next step, obviously Vaughan. The perfect job and a dream come true.

Julián Azcárate

Master of Ceremonies

Born in NYC “the city that never sleeps”. raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he becomes a “Maestro” in BBQ´s and making “Chimichurri Sauce”, In 1999 he travels to Madrid only to stay for 6 months... 16 years later you can still find him here... Trained and experienced actor, Teacher, Woodworker, Surfer and UFO enthusiast joined our immersion programs in the summer of 2015 to meet other “aliens” such as himself, no luck yet.

Your Program Director and Master of Ceremonies will be your confidants and trouble-shooters during the week. You will work together to make the most of the program. 

Do you want
to be a volunteer?

So, you have a passion for experiencing new cultures and would like to share it with us? Join us and become a volunteers for Vaughan.

Our Programs


Six days program


One Intensive Day

VaughanTown FiftyFifty

50% conversation and 50% classes

VaughanTown Videos

VaughanTown is a cultural and linguistic exchange between native English volunteers and Spanish students of English. On the weekly program English speakers exchange conversation for room and board and Spanish speakers get to practice their linguistic skills in English. Native English speakers from all around the world are welcome to join in this volunteer program in the heart of the Spanish countryside. It's an opportunity to meet new people and share your knowledge and culture whilst learning about the Spanish ways of life too!


Be a Volunteer

The opportunity to live a wonderful experience