• Spain edition
 
JobTalk Spain
Here's how Americans can teach in Spain
The Spanish Government's North American Language and Culture Assistants Programme is popular but far from perfect. Photo: Jorge Macri

Here's how Americans can teach in Spain

Published: 20 Jan 2014 16:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Jan 2014 16:54 GMT+01:00

It's not easy for people from the US or Canada to find work in Spain, but Spain's North American Language and Culture Assistants Program is one option available. 

The programme, which is run by Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, gives North American native English or French students the chance to assist a teacher in English or French programmes in Spain's elementary, secondary or language schools.

Teachers work 12 to 16 class periods a week — giving them enough time to get involved in other activities — and generally stay for a year or two, although priority is given to first-year applicants and some applicants even manage to wrangle a third year.

These language assistants receive a salary of €700 ($950) to €1,000 a month. They are provided with an orientation course and full medical insurance but have to pay for their own travel to and from Spain.

While the programme is mainly aimed at people aged 21 to 35, older applicants can also sign on. But take note: people aged over 35 can't work in Madrid. 

You also need to be in good health, have a university degree, or be in the process of completing one, and undergo a background check. Basic Spanish is also expected.

"I had a very positive experience of the programme," Catherine Gaa from the US told The Local.

"It's very difficult to work as a US citizen in Spain but the programme provided me a with a visa, a salary and basic health cover," she says.

"I was treated like another teacher and got to know my students and colleagues very well.

"I also wanted to get involved in curriculum development and the school where I was working let me do that."

But Cat warns that there are negative aspects to the programme — including the clunky bureaucracy of the  application process and the critical issue of payments. 

"It's important to be aware that your payments won't always won't come in time, or sometimes come in a single lump sum, which means there could be money management issues," she explains.

Other problems with the programme are mostly due to its booming popularity, which Cat puts down to the lack of jobs in the US since the economic crisis kicked in.

"Overall organization of the programme is pretty poor and I don't think the Spanish government has the resources to plan it.

"They also need some sort of job description, as the programme is growing so fast and there is no one single definition of what it entails," Cat says.

The huge popularity of the programme has another downside. When people apply, they can nominate which Spanish regions they would like to work in. With more and more people applying, however, many people are not getting their first choice.

"I think attitude has a great deal to do with how successful the programme is," says Cat. "I tell people to be prepared to not get their first choice and be open."

In terms of general advice, Cat says it's important to bring enough money with you, and to be prepared for things to be different.

"Come with an open mind. Spain is not the US and it's not always easy."     

The online application process for the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program for the 2014–2015 school year closes on April 9th.

For more information on the programme and how to apply see Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport website here. To read about one person's experience of the complicated experience of applying for the programme, see this post on Cat Gaa's blog, Sunshine & Siestas.             

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
EU's new green energy man flogs his oil shares
The total value of Cañete's oil shares stands at €320,000, an asset declaration report he presented in the Spanish Parliament suggests. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

EU's new green energy man flogs his oil shares

The EU's newly appointed Climate Action and Energy commissioner - Spain's controversial politician Miguel Arias Cañete - has decided to sell €320,000 ($414,000) worth in shares in two oil companies owned by his wife's family to avoid a 'conflict of interests'. READ  

Catalonia crisis
'We'll axe their autonomy but won't send in tanks'
Margallo also gave his opinion that a 'yes' vote in Thursday's Scottish independence referendum would lead to a "Balkanization" of Europe. Photo: ISHARA S.KODIKARA / AFP

'We'll axe their autonomy but won't send in tanks'

José Manuel García-Margallo, Spain's Foreign Minister, has said that his government would use "all means necessary" to stop the planned independence referendum in Catalonia, including stripping the region of its autonomous powers, but ruled out 'sending in the tanks' because it was 'not in the constitution'. READ  

VIDEO
Spanish bus driver busted texting at wheel
The driver reportedly ignored passenger complaints and only stopped texting when he saw that he was being filmed. Screen Grab: YouTube/El Periódico

Spanish bus driver busted texting at wheel

The driver of a shuttle bus service between Barcelona's airport and city centre is facing disciplinary action after a passenger videoed him sending WhatsApp messages on his mobile phone while steering through traffic. READ  

'Drunk' tamer ties bear to lamp post in hail storm
Village authorities had paid the man to make the bear walk with a music band and pretend to play the trumpet. Photo: FAADA

'Drunk' tamer ties bear to lamp post in hail storm

A Spanish animal rights group is suing a circus worker who left a bear tied to a lamp post in the middle of a hail storm while he went to a bar to have a drink. READ  

Madrid unveils Margaret Thatcher square
The square is in the wealthy Salamanca district and was previously un-named. Photo: GERRY PENNY / AFP / Google Street View

Madrid unveils Margaret Thatcher square

The Spanish capital became the first city in the world to name a square after Margaret Thatcher, the controversial former British Prime Minister whose political legacy still divides opinion. READ  

Business
Orange buys up Spanish rival for €3.4 billion
If the acquisition goes ahead, Orange expects synergies worth €1.3 billion from the deal. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Orange buys up Spanish rival for €3.4 billion

French telecom giant Orange on Monday made a €3.4-billion offer ($4.4 billion) to acquire Spanish fixed-line operator Jazztel. READ  

Spain's prehistoric cave art open to lucky few
Experts weren't sure the paintings could withstand the breath and germs of visitors. Handout photo: Museo Arqueológico Nacional de España

Spain's prehistoric cave art open to lucky few

A cave in Spain containing some of the world's most precious prehistoric art will stay open for trial visits after decades closed for conservation reasons. READ  

Catalan leader's son denies graft allegations
Jordi Pujol Ferrusola is suspected of collecting millions of euros by winning bids on government contracts and hiding the money in foreign bank accounts. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Catalan leader's son denies graft allegations

The son of a former president of Catalonia denied tax fraud and money-laundering allegations in court on Monday in a probe that has tarnished the region's campaign for independence from Spain. READ  

Dutchman in Spanish jail waits for DNA justice
The case has remained tied up in legal red tape despite DNA evidence linking a convicted British killer and rapist to the crime. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Maggie Bartlett, NHGRI

Dutchman in Spanish jail waits for DNA justice

A Dutchman convicted of sexually assaulting three women in Spain has been in prison for the last 11 years despite DNA results 7 years ago suggesting he wasn't the culprit. READ  

Catalonia crisis
'What weapon to punish separatist Catalan boss?'
The tweet, which has since been deleted, shows a photo of the Catalan leader surrounded by different weapons, including a handgun, a grenade, a broken glass bottle and a grenade. Photo: Twitter/PP Mas

'What weapon to punish separatist Catalan boss?'

Popular Party representatives in a village in Catalonia sent out a photo tweet on Saturday suggesting various weapons which could be used against the region’s president Artur Mas if he continues to push for a referendum on independence. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Gravedigger suspended for corpse photo gaffe
Society
Named: the best city to live in Spain
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Catalonia's 'Diada': 5 things you need to know
Travel
Top ten amazing activities in Tenerife
National
Spain opens door to ban on burqas
Travel
Top ten: best bike rides in Spain
Travel
Spain to reopen 'world's most dangerous walk': The Camino del Rey
National
'Catalonia could be the shock Spain needs'
National
Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions
Sport
Think you know Spanish football? Try these amazing facts
International
Australia set to welcome young Spanish workers
Opinion
Is tourism destroying Barcelona?
Society
Fashion fail: Zara pulls plug on 'Holocaust shirt' for kids
National
Man hurt as friend swaps ice bucket for plane
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Politics
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
International
Spanish police mistake Morocco's king for people smuggler
What's On
What's on in Spain: September
Society
Miss Spain comes out of closet on Instagram
Travel
Top ten: Spain's best natural swimming pools
Property
'Dying' town flogs off land for €200 to woo new blood
National
Gays to blame for Spain's trillion euro debt: senator
Society
Spain's anti-rape guidelines: 1) Close your curtains
National
Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,648
jobs available