As some of you may know, I am currently living in the beautiful town of Granada, Spain. I’ll be working as an English teacher assistant at a local high school outside the city between October and May. Why am I here? Thanks to the Auxiliar Program offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education! During my senior year spring semester at FIU, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go to law school. However, at this time it was too late to take the LSAT and apply for law school for the upcoming fall. So, I decided to do the program to have time to study for the LSAT and to decide where to apply to school. In addition, I hoped to improve my Spanish fluency and travel around Europe before returning back to school!
My specific program is called the Spanish Auxiliary program. It’s sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Education and offers more than 4,000 positions across the country for native english speakers. Our job is to “assist foreign language teachers in a variety of schools in Spain and to learn about Spanish culture and society and also about its education system.” Essentially, we are English assistants in classes that require the use of english. We help by reading out loud in English, correcting pronunciations, and preparing presentations for classes.
There are several other similar programs such as BEDA and Meddeas, each with their own benefits and shortcomings. It’s best to learn about each program to determine what’s the best fit for you. For a more in-depth FAQ document concerning the Spanish Auxiliary Program, press here.
The application period is open between January and March. However, it’s best to apply as soon as possible because you’ll find out your placement sooner. You’ll also have a higher chance of being placed in a region of your choice. While you don’t necessarily get to decide what city/town to be in, the application gives you an option of listing your top three regional choices.
What do I need?
Fortunately, the application is pretty simple and you don’t need a TEFL. The application consists of a general application online, a recommendation, a transcript, and a short essay. Also, for those that have dual EU citizenship (like me!), don’t need to apply for a visa. However, a medical certificate needs to be included with the application. People who will need a visa won’t need to submit the medical certificate, but it’s important to know that the visa process can take around 2-months. While the entire application is in Spanish (eeeek), there’s a PDF file on the official page that tells you in English how to go about the online application and what you need to fill out.
The program pays you 700 euros for 12 class hours (with the exception of Madrid, which pays 1,000 euros for 16 class hour a week and runs from October to June). This give you plenty of time to explore and take on tutoring classes in your spare time (most auxiliaries do this to make additional income). Depending on where you are in Spain, you can charge anywhere from 10 – 20 euros per class (In Granada the general charge is 12 – 15 euros per class). Most schools offer Mondays or Fridays off, allowing you to plan weekend trips to travel. Also, the program provides you public health insurance.
*Regions have the ability to change the pay/the hours required to work. So it’s best to check the official website to see if any regions offer more attractive pay.
When do I find out?
There are essentially three levels of responses 1) an e-mail confirming that your application has been accepted and assigning you a nombramiento 2) an e-mail of your regional placement, and 3) an e-mail stating the assignment of your town and school.
Your “Carta de Nombramiento” is directly correlated to when you submitted your application. If you are the first one to submit your application, your nombramiento will be ‘1’. The lower your number, the earlier you receive your placement. Personally, my number was in the low 4,000’s (maybe 4,040 – somewhere around there).
Responses are sent out on a rolling basis, starting around the end of May. People in the Program and are applying for their second year, have priority. They will most likely get their first choice and hear back first. There’s a Facebook group created every year for those who apply for the program. In the group, there’s a useful Excel sheet where people share their nombramiento, their top choices, and when they receive a response.
So I got my placement, now what?
After you get your school it’s best to reach out and introduce yourself. Your director is good source for information about getting settled in Spain and will let you know your schedule. Personally, I booked an Airbnb for 10 days to give myself enough time to get a feel of Granada and to find a place to live.
Once in Spain, the next important bureaucratic things are getting the Spanish residency card (NIE/TIE) and setting up a Spanish bank account so that you can get paid. Depending on the region, some regions require that you give them your bank account information by a specific date to get paid on time. For example, Andalusia held a general orientation for auxiliaries on October 7th (our program officially started the beginning of October). They didn’t expect us to handle the NIE and bank account prior to the orientation. Personally, I preferred getting my NIE and bank account set up the week before classes when I still had time to run errands during the day.
(Important thing to realize: bureaucratic offices and banks are usually ONLY open during the day. Most banks are only open from 8/9AM till 2PM and once a week they have afternoon hours. If you’re working, it can be quite complicated to go get things done).
I’m two months in, and while I’ve experienced a lot, there’s still so much to learn! I hope you found this post helpful. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Spain, my adventures, and my experiences as an english assistant in Granada!