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Why you probably shouldn’t buy an inflatable pool for your home in Spain

As temperatures rise across Spain during the sweltering summer months, the idea of buying a small inflatable pool for your terrace or balcony might seem like a good one, but the evidence suggests it could be a costly decision.

Why you probably shouldn't buy an inflatable pool for your home in Spain
Photo: AFP

If you’re one of the two thirds of people in Spain who live in a flat or an apartment – the highest rate in the EU – buying an inflatable pool to cool down in during the summer months isn’t recommendable. 

In fact, if you live in a house with a garden or a rooftop terrace, it isn’t advisable either.

Proof of this is the 2019 case of a family in Elda near Alicante who got the scare of their lives at 6.30 in the morning when the ceiling of their house collapsed due to the pressure exerted by an inflatable pool on the rooftop, filled to the brim with 8,000 litres.

Granted, that is an enormously heavy amount of water, but Spanish architects have warned that it takes much less for accidents to happen.

Add to this the fact that sales of inflatable and mobile pools as well as jacuzzies shot up by up to 350 percent during the lockdown in Spain and the need for awareness becomes even greater.

Only 20 centimetres of water can act as the equivalent of 200 kilograms of pressure per square metre.

“We’re talking about new buildings, because old ones don’t stand a chance of withstanding a swimming pool, they’d just collapse,” Francisco Hernández of Santa Cruz de Tenerife’s College of Property Administrators told online daily Las Provincias.

According to Hernández, it’s forbidden to surpass that threshold of 200kg/sqm in either a private or shared area, and it’s always essential to check with an architect or surveyor even if the pool’s dimensions don’t suggest this limit will be exceeded.

Every movement of bathers in these small mobile pools can shift the weight and create cracks in beams under the surface that can eventually lead to a beam breaking and worse still the surface collapsing.

Even inflatable pools in gardens or outdoor spaces should be set up several metres away from any building, as the pressure can lead to support walls to collapse.

So are all inflatable pools illegal in Spanish flats and other homes?

No, as long as they don’t surpass 200 kilograms of pressure per square metre mark they are technically allowed.

This means that only tiny, inflatable paddling pools meant for small children are the safest option, but even then, Spanish consumer group OCU still doesn’t recommend them on terraces and balconies.

In all cases, the resident’s association should be contacted and provided with a technical report with written proof by an architect of the pool’s safety standards, an essential requirement if the pool is in a communal space.

OCU’s recommendations for setting up a mobile or inflatable pool are:

– Find a flat, firm and resistant place that’s not on an incline.

– Make sure that the pool is away from other dangers such as objects that could fall in it.

– Avoid placing it under electrical wiring or where underground pipes pass.

– Place the pool where there is enough space around it to move comfortably.

– Choose a sunny area if possible, as well as one that’s protected from the wind and without trees nearby so that the water does not get dirty.

– Install the pool near a drain if possible, since it will have to be emptied or may even have a leak or break.

– Don’t place it on a layer of sand or wood . Vinyl flooring performs better but the best thing is surface is a concrete surface. 

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SPAIN AND THE US

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

The governments of Spain and the United States have agreed to recruit more English and Spanish-language assistants from each other’s countries as a means of bolstering bilingual education in the two nations.

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

Spain’s Education Minister Pilar Alegría and US ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso met on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding which will reinforce educational cooperation between the two countries. 

The agreement had been previously signed by Miguel Cardona, the United States Secretary of Education, who tweeted: “This week, alongside [Spanish] Ambassador [Santiago] Cabañas, I signed a memorandum supporting the study of Spanish language & culture in the US, and the study of English in Spain”.

It is in fact a renewal of a memorandum between the United States and Spain which has facilitated mobility of both conversation assistants and students between the two countries in recent years.

The aim of this newest memorandum of understanding is to further strengthen student and teacher exchange programmes and promote bilingual and multicultural teaching in both educational systems.

No exact details have yet been given about how many extra language assistants will be given grants to join the programme. 

Several teacher recruitment sources suggest the current number of North American language assistants (including Canadians) heading to Spain every year is between 2,000 and 2,500. 

The Spanish government has stated that in 2023, this figure will be around 4,500, which represents a considerable increase in the number of US and Canadian citizens who can apply through the NALCAP programme, which stands for North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain. 

According to Spain’s Foreign Ministry, the following requirements must be met by US candidates in order to participate in the programme:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and have a valid passport
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled as a sophomore, junior or a senior in a bachelor’s programme. Applicants may also have an associate degree or be a community college student in their last semester.
  • Have a native-like level of English
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have a clean background check
  • Be aged 18 – 60.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of Spanish (recommended)

NALCAP recipients receive a monthly stipend of €700 to €1,000 as well as Spanish medical insurance.

Application dates for 2023 are usually announced in late November. See more information on the NALPAC programme for US nationals here

According to The Fulbright Program, one of several US cultural exchange programmes that organises the recruitment of US nationals for Spain: “English Teaching Assistants assist teaching staff at the early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, vocational and/or university level for up to 16 hours per week, with an additional two hours for planning & coordination meetings. Responsibilities include assistant-teaching, in English, subjects such as social studies, science and technology, art, physical education, and English language.”

READ MORE: The pros and cons of being an English language assistant in Spain

There are also currently more than 1,000 Spanish teachers working as visiting teachers in the United States, Spain’s Moncloa government has said, without adding yet how many more will be recruited in 2023.

Additionally, more than 1,000 North American students now take part in the Spanish Language and Culture Groups managed by the Spanish Education Ministry’s Overseas Education Action (or Acción Educativa Exterior, AEE).  

Canadian applicants can find out more about working as language assistants in Spain by visiting the NALCAP Canada website.

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