• Spain's news in English
 

Here's how Americans can teach in Spain

Published: 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
Row threatens Spain's first nuclear graveyard
One of Spain's nuclear power stations Photo: Jesús Pérez Pacheco / Flickr

Row threatens Spain's first nuclear graveyard

Spain's conservative government and the central region of Castilla-La Mancha locked horns Thursday over plans to build the nation's first-ever temporary storage facility for highly radioactive waste. READ  

Parents lock child in hot car to hit Marbella shops
The girl was left with windows closed and door locked while her parents went shopping. Hallyn / Flickr

Parents lock child in hot car to hit Marbella shops

Police have arrested a couple who left their 12-year-old daughter locked in a car in the midday sun outside a Marbella shopping centre. READ  

Footballer sparks row by wearing Franco T-shirt
Portuguese footballer Nuno Silva has caused a stir by wearing a Franco T-shirt during his first press conference for a Spanish team. Screen shot: ElDiaDespues12Plus/YouTube

Footballer sparks row by wearing Franco T-shirt

The latest signing to Real Jaén FC wore a T-shirt printed with the face of the fascist dictator and after causing a stir claimed not to have a clue who the man was. READ  

Fastest economic growth in Spain since crisis
Spain recorded the eighth consectutive quarter of economic growth. Photo: AFP

Fastest economic growth in Spain since crisis

Spain’s economy is powering ahead at the fasted pace since the start of the global financial crisis in 2007. READ  

Madrid's traditional art scene goes high fashion
Vogue Like a Painting merges high fashion with high art. Photo: Sara Houlison

Madrid's traditional art scene goes high fashion

Madrid’s museums are moving away from the traditional to embrace new artistic forms and the latest brings a touch of haute couture to the capital's celebrated art scene. READ  

Finally! Spain's heatwave to end with fierce storms
A couple stand on a beach in Spain during a storm. Archive photo: Josep Lago / AFP

Finally! Spain's heatwave to end with fierce storms

One of the hottest July's on record will come to a close amid stormy weather and a drop in temperature of up to six degrees, Spain's weather agency has announced. READ  

PM backs 'xenophobic' candidate in Catalan vote
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (l) has backed controversial candidate Xavier Garcia Albiol in the upcoming Catalan elections. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

PM backs 'xenophobic' candidate in Catalan vote

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday backed a former mayor whose comments have been called xenophobic as his party's top candidate for regional elections in independence-minded Catalonia. READ  

Olympic Games
Tokyo 2020 logo sparks copycat calls from Spain
The new logos of Tokyo 2020 have been unveiled. Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP

Tokyo 2020 logo sparks copycat calls from Spain

Tokyo's 2020 Olympic emblem has triggered astonishment in Europe due to its resemblance to the logo of a Belgian theatre and a separate Spanish design. READ  

Eight great commuter flats to rent in Madrid
Madrid living is much cheaper than London. Photo: Shutterstock

Eight great commuter flats to rent in Madrid

A British politician has said it is cheaper to commute to London from Madrid than pay for a flat in the UK capital. So for all those thinking of doing just that, here are ten great commuter flats in Madrid. READ  

Best place to commute to London? It's Madrid
Living in Madrid and commuting would save you at least £400 a month. Photo: Shutterstock

Best place to commute to London? It's Madrid

Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, Tessa Jowell has suggested that Londoners might be better off commuting to the city from Madrid rather than living in the UK capital itself. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Gazpacho: Spaniards are going crazy for cold soup
Travel
Seven silly TripAdvisor comments about Spain
Politics
Hot or not? Politicans in Spain are rated on looks
National
Spanish town gives pets equal rights as citizens
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
National
Night drone mystery at Spanish royal palace
National
Spanish town brings in compulsory siesta law
National
Hero cops save newborn baby dumped in trash
National
Top 10 Spanish treats to keep you cool in summer
Travel
What's on in Spain: July 2015
National
Catholic group calls for sex-segregated beaches
National
Spanish chef dumps Trump over racist slurs
National
Madrid mayor to rid city of dictator Franco
National
The survivor's guide to running with the bulls
National
The ten most repressive points of Spain's gag law
National
Spain celebrates ten years of gay marriage
Travel
Top ten tricks to survive the Spanish summer
National
Woof! The top ten dog-friendly beaches in Spain
National
Driver fined €80 for biting fingernails at the wheel
National
Castle for sale, one-time pad of mad queen, €15 million
National
And the most beautiful plaza in Spain is...?
Politics
Spanish mayor's rogue little toes go viral
Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
National
Diphtheria is 'Russian roulette with real bullets'
Politics
French PM takes flak for taking his kids on state jet to footy final
National
Spain's little 'prince' shamed for racist rant
National
Spain world's second best for work-life balance
Travel
Barcelona most bike-friendly city on the Med
National
British expat fury over EU referendum snub
Politics
Madrid goes mad for radical mayor Manuela
10 super Spanish drinks everyone should try
National
Are these Spain's ten most powerful women?
National
Horse deaths reveal dark side of Rocio pilgrimage
Travel
Six of the best gourmet burger joints in Madrid
Travel
The ten best places for foodies in Barcelona
Education
7 reasons for Spain's newfound love of English
Features
7 reasons why Spain's the best place on earth
National
The perks and quirks of having a baby in Spain
National
Iceland revokes order to 'kill Basques on sight'
National
Five reasons why it’s good to be gay in Spain
National
Job creation? The truth behind Spain's figures
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

3,279
jobs available