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John and Inés founded El Casal 15 years ago.


TEACHING AND MENTORING American high-schoolers and gap year students has kept me young at heart. It’s always been a two-way street: Whatever I have been able to impart to young adults –knowledge, motivation, guidance– has been re-paid many times over by their enthusiasm for learning, their contagious energy and their constantly-evolving understanding of our world. I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me.

MY TEACHING CAREER began in independent boarding and day schools in the US. At Milton Academy in Massachusetts, where I spent eleven years, I wore “four hats”, as they say: Spanish teacher, Head of the Modern Language Department, soccer coach and dormitory house parent. Later, I had a unique opportunity to serve for six years as Resident Director of School Year Abroad, a full-year academic and homestay program for American high school juniors and seniors here Spain. In 2003, I decided to take what I had learned and put it to work at El Casal, which I founded with Inés Trías.


A BARCELONA NATIVE, Inés earned her BA in Art History as well as a BA in Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Universitat de Barcelona. She recently became certified in ELE (Spanish as a Foreign Language). Inés engages with her students both in the classroom and as they explore the most fascinating corners of Barcelona on walking tours. An enthusiastic traveler herself, she transmits her love of travel to her students and has accompanied them to Madrid, Andalusia, in the Pyrenees mountains and along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

INÉS BEGAN TEACHING at School Year Abroad in Barcelona and Zaragoza over 20 years ago and she continues to teach Spanish culture in their summer program in Zaragoza.

IN ADDITION TO TEACHING and organizing educational travel, Inés also advises students, oversees their adaptation in their host families and supervises capstone projects. As part of an international family with roots in the United States, Ecuador and other parts of the globe Inés is able to offer a truly global perspective.

ALONG WITH HER HUSBAND, John, Inés founded El Casal, the first-of-its-kind program in Barcelona. She brings all her life experience to bear on ensuring a truly immersive gap year experience and fomenting what she hopes will be a lifelong love of Spain and its culture.

IN HER FREE TIME, Inés enjoys swimming in the Mediterranean, biking, reading and organizing events such as El Casal’s Thanksgiving celebration, family events, language exchange groups and other enriching activities for her students.

Barcelona at our feet
A stop along the Camino de Santiago, Galicia
From the rooftop of the Cathedral, Barcelona
Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. The end of the road!
The view from the Miró Foundation
Our trip to Andalucía
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