Options for Teaching English in…Spain!

I know, I know.  You are probably surprised to see Spain here.  But remember, I have a travel goal to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  What is a better way to go other than to get paid to do it.  And, these are mostly programs I looked at last year when planning.  I am most definitely a better candidate now that I have my TEFL Certificate (yay!) and teaching experience, and you know, enough Spanish for emergency trips to the Pharmacy (story coming soon!).

So, here is the information.  Do you know of any other options?  I guess a Fulbright for Teaching English is always a much more competitive option.  Or getting a master’s degree, which might be incredibly expensive and complicated (except for option 5 below, its free).

Teaching English in Spain

Spain, has a serious need of better English programs in its schools and has been filling that need from native English speakers from around the world. There are many programs that offer stipends for assisting English teachers in their classrooms throughout Spain.  The programs offer a chance for language and cultural exchange.  Minimal Spanish is required, though will help, and TEFL certificates are normally recommended but not required. And they pay, in Euros.

In general, you start working somewhere in September or October and the School year ends in May or June.  You get a student visa and must apply for a national ID card when you arrive in Spain.  Housing is not included and each program has a different level of assisting you with finding housing and applying for your Visa and ID card.  You need enough money to get you by until your first pay check, which can be a long time with some programs because of payment problems.  Some people take private students to help them get by.

One of the first sites you probably want to check out is the forum Expatriate  Cafe.  This forum branch is really for the most popular program in Spain, North American Language and Culture Assistant Program.  However, because there are limited spots, not to mention pay problems and a limit of 2 years, in this program, other options are discussed also.   You can get information on application procedures, links to statistics for previous years, participating Cities and areas, and advice from people from the previous years and applicants for the current year (and their blogs!).  Maybe even find a roommate for when you want to save all your pennies for wine and tapas in Spain!


1. North American Language and Culture Assistant Program

This program is actually sponsored by the Ministry of Education in Spain.  The pay is 700 Euros for everywhere outside of Madrid, and 1,000 Euros for Madrid.  I think you are mostly working with public schools You work in a school helping with English or other classes as an auxiliary to their class, so you are not necessarily the same thing as a teacher assistant here in the US. Because it is funded by the government, there have  been pay problems recently, with some people not getting paid until around January.

Required Documents for Application:

Apparently the most important aspect of this application is getting it done as soon as you can.  You are given a number once you finish the online submission portion (not the extra documentation, that can be done later) called an inscrita.  Applicants are given positions based on their number, not qualifications.  The system opens up January 8, and more information should be posted December 15, including a guidebook for this years application.  You can find last years guidebook here.

  • The application form is through an online system apparently called Profex, which is apparently complex
  • Copy of your transcripts or diploma (you should have graduated or be in your last year of school I think)
  • Letter of intent (300 words I think)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Letter of recommendation


  • 700 or 1,000 Euros per month (take away pay)
  • Health Insurance (you still might need travel insurance and money for prescriptions)
  • Sponsorship for a Student Visa
  • Living in Spain!
  • Lots of free time to spend traveling

Not included:

  • Housing
  • Travel costs
  • Visa costs
  • Help getting your ID card or bank/utilities/apartment set up etc. (some schools help more than other but the program itself does not provide assistance)
  • Possibly money for your first few months because of governmental problems

2. Bilingual English Development and Assessment (BEDA) Program

This program is very similar to the Ministry program, except it is in private Catholic schools, mostly in or near Madrid. You can work anywhere from 16-24 hours. The more hours you work, the more you make.  However, you make less per hour in this program than the Ministry program if you are in Madrid.  You can make the same amount if you work all 24 hours.

Required Documents for Application:

This application is done by email, the application is here.  Applicants are given positions based on their number also I think, but you also have to qualify more, including an interview.  The system is already open and closes January 31.  You can find the guidebook here.

  • CV
  • Cover Letter
  • Photo
  • Application Form


  • 700 to 1,000 +/- Euros per month (take away pay) based on hours worked
  • Health Insurance (you still might need travel insurance and money for prescriptions)
  • Sponsorship for a Student Visa
  • Living in Spain!
  • Lots of free time to spend traveling
  • You know where you will be, not a guessing game of luck
  • Private school funding – if the government tanks, you still get paid.

Not included:

  • Housing
  • Travel costs
  • Visa costs
  • I am not sure if they help you more or less with the application processes for your ID card or housing.  I do not think they do though.

3.  CIEE Teach in Spain

Honestly, I know less about this program as it costs money and I am not looking to spend thousands (yes thousands) of dollars on a program to work for money.  Especially when it seems easy enough not to.  I think, in the past at least, this program was tied to the Ministry’s program.  They got so many spots from the Ministries program in the Andalusia region.  They have four programs this year.  One is included for working in an office environment.  I am not sure if they help any with the payment situation or not.  I am actually not sure how they are participating this year. Their application fee is $50 through an online application system.


  • 700 Euros per month (take away pay) based on hours worked
  • Health Insurance (you still might need travel insurance and money for prescriptions)
  • Sponsorship for a Student Visa
  • Living in Spain!
  • Lots of free time to spend traveling
  • No guessing or luck into what region you will be in, school is still up in the air
  • How much they assist you in Spain depends on what plan you purchase, for example, this is the most expensive program ($2,300)
    • Pre-departure school placement at a public school in a pueblo, town, or city in Andalusia
    • Support of CIEE professional staff before you depart for Spain
    • Teaching and program guides to help you plan and prepare
    • Pre-departure online orientation training
    • Upgrade – Pre-departure TEFL certification
    • Airport transfer on designated arrival date
    • Orientation in Seville
      • Workshops on teaching methodology, cross-cultural training, finding housing, health and safety, visa registration, and more
      • Cultural and networking opportunities
      • Four nights of accommodations and all meals
    • Five nights of accommodation in your school location
    • Expert advice and assistance in converting an entry visa to the necessary work permit post-arrival
    • A monthly stipend of €700 to cover living expenses and new adventures, paid holidays too!
    • International medical insurance and 24 hour worldwide assistance provided through the CIEE iNext travel card
    • 24 hour in-country emergency support services via the CIEE office in Seville
    • Visa papers acquisition and visa application advice (apply in person at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate)
    • Scholarships available – note: February 1 application deadline
    • A Lonely Planet guidebook to plan your travels

Not included:

  • Housing
  • Travel costs
  • Visa costs


This program has the least information available that I can find.  The program is through a private bilingual school cooperative. I have emailed the program coordinator for more information and can update this when I have more.

Required Documents for Application:

The application is sent to you, but the website lists the requirements for the application.  The application is not complete until all of your information is in. The application period closes in the end of February.  You can get on the application mailing list by emailing Alana (email address on the website).  You work 17-25 hours per week.  The website does not list much more than that. The applications open the end of January/ beginning of February.

  • Bilingual Program UCETAM 2013-2014 Application
  • Questions for New Native Assistants
  • One (1) letter of recommendation – sent directly to Alana by the recommender NOT by the applicant!
  • Curriculum Vitae – can be in English or Spanish and does not have to be in any particular format.
  • If you advance to the next level, a Skype interview.


I am not sure exactly what is or is not included, it is not listed on the site.  I think you get more information emailed to you when the application documents come out.

  • Live in Spain!
  • They help all first years get their ID card in a group setting
  • Placement is in Madrid, no guessing game
  • Although their website is lacking in specifics of what you get and need to do with the program, they have a lot of information on applying for an ID card, renewing your ID card (for people already in Spain or in their second year of the program) and getting a Visa.  This information could be helpful to people applying to all programs.
  • They give you other options other than their program for after your time with them (maximum 2 years) is over.  This includes number 5 below.

5. Teach and Learn in Spain Program

This program is for earning a Masters in one of three program areas while being a teaching assistant in Spanish Schools.  The costs are covered for tuition and insurance and you still get a stipend for your student teaching.  In the end your credits are EU transferable credits (I actually do not know what that means).  It is not the same level of a Masters in Education in the USA but you can use a lot of the credits towards a masters course.  You need to submit a thesis.  As I do not have a lot of information about this program or know anyone who has done it, I am not sure of the quality.  The application is a college application and more detailed than I can provide in this blog post.

Program Areas:


  • Health Insurance (you still might need travel insurance and money for prescriptions)
  • Sponsorship for a Student Visa
  • Living in Spain!
  • A free Masters (might need more time in school for equivalent in the USA)
  • You can use all facilities at Universidad de Alcalá

Not included:

  • Housing
  • Travel costs
  • Visa costs
  • Help getting your ID card or bank/utilities/apartment set up etc.
  • A masters that can be used in the education system of the US (I am not saying that it might not help you as a qualification to get more money or help towards half of a Masters in Education in US)

Updates? Where are the updates?

We’ve Got Problems Kids

(My mom always says that to her troupe of four dogs before coming or going or when dad gets home.  It incites a doggy riot.)

I have written several posts and still not submitted them to Elephant Journal or here or anywhere.  I still have not been able to upload pictures.  I still have not even re-sized them and put a watermark on them from my other computer.  I have not done a lot other than try to figure out Peace Corps application things.  I could not get my finger prints done here.  I had to go to Grand Rapids and then go to two different places there to find someone who still did the cards.  Sigh…living in the boondocks of a state that cannot get its budget together.

Also, I need to buy a ticket to Florida for the unemployment people.  Fun.  And my Peace Corps application materials got in late since Kathy had to overnight the package from Florida and we were both on road trips when it came.  So even though I got it all done the day after I got the package, I cannot get an interview until after they reset the new system August 15, which is coincidentally the day I leave to South America.  So what type of health insurance should I get because I need to do a medical kit if I get a nomination.  Then it turns out that I do not have to worry about that so much because now they do not give out the full medical kit until after you get an invitation, since it is country specific now (well after August 15) and it is also all electronic I think.

But instead of getting my insurance I still have not done it.  Or booked something to show proof of onward travel from Colombia.  Where should I leave Colombia from?

So it should be interesting depending on where I am in the world if I get an invitation.

Also, a package I sent to Helen including 20 dollars and all the gifts from my road trip got “lost” from an “open” package.  I read that as someone tore the envelope open and stole the money.  I wish I had written the serial code down to get whatever postal worker took it.  No wonder I use UPS or FedEx.  Oh minus the post card from Mammoth Cave, she got that.  Not the bracelet or stickers or anything :(.

Peace Corps

So, you are probably thinking: “What?  Say that again?  Did you say Peace Corps?  What about finding yourself?”  Well I have to admit it took me until the last minute to submit my application.  I had everything filled out.  I sat and watched it.  I logged in every day and looked at the submit button.  Kathy chastised me, since I chastised her for a late recommendation.  If I didn’t want to do it I could decide later.


Then I got an email saying if I did not submit it I would not be available for leaving until 2014.  And even then I still waited until the last day when I realized the terror I felt if I did NOT get in.  I realized this was part of me that had never changed. I had always wanted to do this.  I could not do it in college because I tore my ACL and MCL my senior year and had student loans.  I got all the way through a nomination to the medical process.  Somewhere in the Caribbean for water/wastewater work.  But could not go.  I cried for days.

Since then I have tried Engineers Without Borders but you have to pay all of your way and help fund the project and that just was not an option for me.  Then I started saving money.  Before I lost my job I was trying to figure out how much money I would need for two years even though I only had one year of travel plans.  Why is that?  That is what I would need for the Peace Corps.

So.  I have applied. Sent in my fingerprints and security paper work.  Paperwork about my loans and money I get from my ESOP is in (in 2014 even though my company policy is for one year after date of service?  I am hoping it is the extra year so i can consider to be working for five years and then I am vested for the entire amount).

So Where Am I Going?

I said I want to go to South America.  Of course that does not mean anything.  My three options so far are math, science, or English teaching with math or science being the most likely.  Really this should be taken with a grain of salt because PC changes details like this up to, and sometimes even after, your invitation.  He also said if I go it would likely but not guaranteed to be in July 2012.  Again, can change, no guarantee.  In fact likely to change.  But if that does happen here are the countries that have math teacher programs that I got from the Peace Corps Wiki Calculator:

And these are the ones with science teacher programs:

Those that left in July in 2011 and 2012?

  • Tanzania
  • Malawi
  • The Gambia
  • China
  • Burkina Faso
  • Ghana
  • Cameroon
  • Liberia
  • Sierra Leone

So…it does not look like if I get in that I am going to South America with the PC with the current options, which of course could change at any time.  I was really nervous at the thought of Africa.  It is so unknown, so far from home, and so expensive to get to from.  Plus I just see pictures in my head of people living in mud huts with no water and no electric and no English speaking people for miles.  It is hard to get around, but after actually researching blogs of people who are actually there, it does not seem so scary.

Why Didn’t I Tell You Sooner??

Oh. Sorry.  I really want this.  This is part of me that has not changed.  The me that wants the challenge of expanding my perspective of needs and wants and who wants to try and do some good.  It is so jading to work in water and wastewater consulting because you cannot do good most of the time.  People just want to pay to keep the status quo with their water and sanitation.  They are willing to pollute their water instead of living well and paying taxes to fix the problem.  And these people are some of the richest in the world.  They would like to not put money into infrastructure until it is broken.

Because I want this so much, if I do not get in I am going to feel bad and be embarrassed.  However, if I do not write about what I am doing then I just do not write and I do not want to let this blog thing go.  I am worried that because I saw a therapist and because of little things I might not pass med test or get deferred.  I am worried because I do not have a lot of teaching or volunteer experience since college.  And I am worried because I have to wait so long for an interview.  Spots are being filled now!  I saw blogs of people going to Africa for science teaching in July!

I really need to stop obsessing and worrying and just buy my insurance and get out into the world and travel and see things and people before I leave to South America.  I need to exercise and do yoga which I have not done since I got to Michigan.

My Thoughts are not Others Thoughts

So I should not have to say this but I see all the other Peace Corps Blogs, which I have been reading somewhat obsessively, saying this.  If I get in I will add a disclaimer on the page, but these thoughts only represent my thoughts and no way involve the thoughts of the Peace Corps or US Government.