For all of you wanderlusters out there who are trying to find a way to legally live and work in a different part of the world, without marrying a foreigner for a “Green Card” (
that’s illegal btw), I definitely recommend finding a program that allows you to teach English abroad. If you’re thinking about Spain, here is a breakdown of different programs that are connected with this country.
- Auxiliares de Conversación (Ministerio de Educación, Cultura, y Deporte)
I would say that this is the most popular program for native English, French, or German speakers to live and work in Spain. The program is through the Spanish government, who assigns auxiliars to public schools all over the country; to help bilingual and non-bilingual schools facilitate the second language. This is actually the program that I am working for.In this program, I came into Spain on a student visa, and am allowed to stay and work here from September to the end of May. I am paid a monthly stipend of 700€ a month. I work 12 hours a week, from Monday to Thursday. In Madrid, auxiliars are paid about 1,000€ euros a month, and work 16 hours a week. Overall, the work hours are very minimal, which means if you’re looking to travel, you’ll definitely have enough time to do it!If you are looking to apply, the requirements are very minimal. The main one, is that you MUST be a native English speaker and U.S. citizen (also allowed: Canada, Australia, Ireland, UK, and New Zealand), and provide a valid passport, letter of recommendation, and a statement of intent. There are no requirements for Spanish skill level (although it’s highly recommended), and no requirements for a teaching background (although, after being in this program, it definitely helps). Overall, if you’re looking for a way to live abroad in Europe, I definitely recommend this program! It opens doors for amazing travel opportunities and the chance to live abroad and completely immerse yourself in a different culture and language.
After moving to Spain, I started realizing that there are many programs that allow foreigners to live and work in Spain as an English Language Assistant. Another program that offered this position, is BEDA (Bilingual English Development & Assessment). The BEDA program works in private Catholic schools around the Madrid area. While working in Toledo, last year, I met two auxiliars who were working in the private school with the BEDA program. I met another blogger, Lorena, from Sunshine and Lorena, who blogs about her experiences through BEDA. Through the this program, you work a bit more hours, are paid more, and are required to take specific classes in Madrid.From what I’ve seen and talked about with my friends in the BEDA program, they give you more of a support system while you are in the country. This program costs money to apply to, unlike the Ministerio, and helps you with your paperwork, residency card, bank accounts, etc. Also, the BEDA program is known for paying their auxiliars on time at the end of the month. This is something that’s a bit uncertain with auxiliars who are in the Ministerio.
CIEE, also known as Council on International Educational Exchange, is a U.S. based company that offers over 100 study, work, or volunteer abroad opportunities. For the most part, this company is very similar with the above mentioned companies, but costs about $2,000! There is a $50 application process, and after accepting your position a $1,500 program fee. Personally, I think going with the Ministerio position is much easier and cheaper.
From what I have read on other travel blogs, CIEE offers continual support to expats through out the entire year. This program is more for expats who have never been abroad, don’t speak the native language, or are a bit nervous about the big move. The website is a “one stop shop” of information that expats need to know about the programs, culture, language, etc. I would recommend this company to travelers who may have some worries, anxieties, or are unsure of how to settle themselves in to their new host country.
- TEFL Certification
TEFL Certification is being certified as an actual teacher, to Teach English as a Foreign Language. The TEFL certification is more geared towards people who wish to turn teaching English as a “full-time” career. With this certification, you are more than able to find jobs not only in Spain, but in all parts of the world. During the process of certification, you are basically taught how to teach English effectively. They teach people how to lesson plan, teaching English grammar, and working with different activities for implementing the practice of English in the classroom.I do not have my TEFL Certification, but I had been thinking about pursuing it. The fee for the certification varies, and with some teaching abroad opportunities in programs, you can find some that include TEFL certification in their training and prep. As a TEFL Certified teacher, you are able to be the main teacher in the classroom, have more control, and are generally required to work more hours and are paid more.
I’m sure there are many more programs that offer Native English speakers the chance to live and work abroad, these are the four that I am the most familiar with. I’ve met most people who are either auxiliars with the Ministerio, BEDA, CIEE, or are TEFL certified and working as full-time teachers. If you’re interested in taking the plunge and moving abroad, I definitely recommend doing a bit more research, googling more programs, and finding the one that is best fit for you and your needs!
Working with the ministerio is difficult at times, but not having to pay any program fees was definitely one of the bigger factors as to why I applied. There are a lot of groups on Facebook that help auxiliars in all of Spain, the specific region they are placed in, and even groups for their city. The internet has a plethora of information, all you need to do is dig a little deeper! Also, if you are interested in applying for the position that I am in, don’t hesitate to contact me! (: I am more than happy to answer any of y’alls questions, concerns, or give you my first hand experience.