I’m well aware that a good portion of this blog is dedicated to bragging about how awesome my life is. No apologies. I just speak the truth. However, I’m not completely heartless. So I’ll let you all in on how exactly I got to be here. Want to teach English in Spain? Here’s how.
Option 1: My first year here I came with CIEE, a non-profit organization that arranges the teaching job. They charge a program fee, which varies depending on which of a few programs you choose, and in return they act as a middle man throughout the application process, provide visa assistance and an orientation to help you get your life set up in Spain. They provide tips on everything from cell phones to setting up internet to apartment hunting to lesson planning. You also have the option of adding on Spanish classes and staying with a Spanish family before you start the job. CIEE places only in Andalucía. See their website for full details.
Option 2: This year I applied directly through the Ministerio de Educación, as the vast majority of people do because it’s free.
To be eligible for either you must have either a US or Canadian passport, be a native English speaker, have a BA or BS, and have at least an intermediate Spanish level (this one can be fudged a little bit with CIEE´s classes).
Both of these options lead to the exact same job: an English teaching assistant, or auxiliar, in a primary school, secondary school, or official language school for the academic school year. You work 12 hours a week and earn 700€/month (Madrid is a bit different, more hours and higher pay. I’m not sure but I’d imagine Barcelona is similar). So what’s the difference?
Pros: Andalucía only and ability to request cities, informative orientation if you need the help, streamlined CIEE application
Pros: Free, all of Spain available
Cons: Only can select preferred regions, not cities, complicated Profex application
I chose to do CIEE mostly because of the Spanish classes offered. Looking back, I could have survived without them; my Spanish was better than I gave myself credit for. However, I´m still glad I did it because of the fantastic experience in my homestay, and for the friends I made during that time who were friends all over Andalucía for the year.
Which ever option you choose, get started now. The application for the 2012-13 Ministerio program opens today (November 7). Complete and submit the online portion of the application in Profex as soon as you can. You´ll get a number that indicates the order in which placements are given out. Last year I submitted within two or three days of the application being open and I was number 104. Don´t worry about mailing in the other documents right now (personal statement, letter of rec, etc), just get them in by the deadline, which I believe is in February.
The timeline: apply now, get placed in your region in February/March, find out your specific school as early as May, start the fun visa process, and be in Spain to start work in Septmeber/October. If you apply with CIEE you´ll probably get your placement information a little sooner, but not by much.
If you have any questions check out the websites for more details, or feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can share my experience. Just remember, I´m not an employee or spokesperson for either program, just a current/past participant.
Get started on that application and good luck!
Side note: There are loads of auxiliares here from the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, but I don´t know anything about their application process. Sorry!