• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'indignant' party closing in on PSOE: poll
Some 21.2 percent of voters would vote for the nine-month-old Podemos party headed up by Pablo Iglesias, the Sigma Dos poll shows. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Spain's 'indignant' party closing in on PSOE: poll

Spain's new left-wing Podemos party is hot on the heels of the country's main opposition socialist PSOE party with a new poll showing that more than one in five voters would vote for the party in general elections. READ  

Magaluf police chief charged over corruption
the claimants presented proof of extortion by policemen and Calvià Town Hall civil servants at Mallorca’s public prosecutor’s office on Friday. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Magaluf police chief charged over corruption

The head of Calvià police on the holiday island of Majorca has been arrested following corruption claims filed by businessmen and bar owners in the notorious binge drinking hotspot of Magaluf. READ  

Ashya King
Parents of brain tumour boy face Madrid court
Spanish policemen stand guard as a police van carrying the parents of Ashya King arrives at the courthouse in Madrid on Monday. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Parents of brain tumour boy face Madrid court

UPDATED: The parents of British boy Ashya King, who was taken out of hospital in Britain without medical consent, have seen their period of detention extended after appearing before a Spanish judge on Monday for an extradition hearing. READ  

Brain drain
Spain's brain drain 'worst in Western Europe'

Spain's brain drain 'worst in Western Europe'

Spain is among the European countries hardest hit by the so-called 'brain drain' effect with thousands of professionals including nurses and teachers taking steps to leave the country in recent years, new figures from the European Union show. READ  

Lamp post electrocutes urinating teenager
The victim collapsed from the shock and hit his head on the groundPhoto of lammpost and wiring: Shutterstock

Lamp post electrocutes urinating teenager

An 18-year-old man from the Spanish island of Majorca received a fatal electric shock on Saturday when he leaned against a lamp post while urinating. READ  

JobTalk Spain
Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions
Are you enchufado (plugged in) at your workplace? Photo of rich man: Shutterstock

Office slang: Top ten Spanish expressions

With the summer holidays now over for most people in Spain, The Local has put together some of the most common and useful slang expressions used in Spanish workplaces to help ease the pain of the return to work. READ  

Man kills 'mother-in-law' while on prison leave
When police arrived at the victims’ address in the Madrid municipality of Arganda del Rey, the attacker was still there. Photo: Manuel M V/Flickr

Man kills 'mother-in-law' while on prison leave

A Madrid man stabbed his girlfriend's mother to death and seriously injured his partner while on a four-day prison leave on Saturday. READ  

EU politics
Economy minister faces long wait over EU job
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos attends a G5 ministers meeting press conference about fraud and tax evasion at the French Economy Ministry in Paris in April. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Economy minister faces long wait over EU job

Spain's economy minister Luis de Guindos, widely tipped by many to become the next leader of the Eurogroup forum of eurozone finance ministers, may have to wait for up to a year before he finds out if he has landed the role. READ  

Ashya King
'We only wanted best treatment for our son'
The hospital in Malaga where five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour, Ashya King, was placed after Spanish police located and arrested his parents late on Saturday. Photo: Marcos Moreno/AFP

'We only wanted best treatment for our son'

The arrested parents of a five-year-old British boy with a brain tumour who was taken from hospital without medical consent and found in Spain say they were simply looking for a proton therapy not offered by the UK health system. READ  

CaixaBank buys Barclays Spain for €800 million
Photo: Andrew Cowie/AFP

CaixaBank buys Barclays Spain for €800 million

Spain's third-biggest bank by capitalization CaixaBank is to buy Barclays' Spanish operations for €800 million ($1.1 billion) as the British bank undergoes major restructuring, Barclays said on Sunday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Ten things you need to know about Spain's La Liga
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
Health
'Spain's hospitals aren't ready for Ebola'
Travel
Twelve things tourists do that annoy Spaniards
National
Swiss sex tourists slapped with seatbelt fine
Features
Top ten 'English' words made in Spain: Part 2
International
'I hate the black man in the White House'
Travel
Top 10: Spanish tourist traps you should avoid
National
127 kg of cocaine found on navy training ship
National
Spain's 14-year-old jihadist girl locked up
International
Fox News names Penelope Cruz 'idiot of the week'
International
Spain pulls plug on weapons sales to Israel
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

1,619
jobs available