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A Guide to the Regions in Spain for Auxiliares de Conversación

regions in Spain

It’s that time of year again. The applications are about to open for the auxiliar de conversación teaching English in Spain program that I’ve done for the past two years. Let the mayhem commence!

With many many posts on here about being an auxiliar, from tips and tricks, to expat stories, to travel and tapas advice to problems with the program, I’ve written about it all. I get a lot of emails and messages about the auxiliar program, and now what many of you are asking about are the regions. There are 17 regions in Spain and it can be daunting to pick the one that will be home for you over the next year. Let me help!

With over 3 years experience living in Spain, I’ve traveled around most of the peninsula and always have an opinion. I decided it would just be a good idea to share here my opinions and thoughts about all the different regions (comunidades autónomas) in Spain to help you decide more when you pick your top 3 choices for the application.

Before you chose, you need to ask yourself some important questions about what kind of experience you want. Do you want to live  in a remote place or somewhere convenient to travel around Europe? Do you want a big city or would you be ok with a small village or commuting? Do you know any Spanish already-some regions are bilingual or have very heavy accents which makes learning Spanish trickier. I always used to laugh at people who would tell me they wanted to go to Spain to learn Spanish and then they go to Barcelona. And finally, the auxiliar program is notorious about paying us late, some regions are better about it than others. For example, Galicia usually always pays on time whereas in Murcia, you’re guaranteed to go months and months without seeing a penny. Do you have a lot of savings and are planning to work outside the schools in Spain? Some things to think about.

Here’s Spain’s take on the different regions, not too far off base.

regions in Spain

Here is my take for the different regions around Spain including my thoughts on the payment and language situation.

Make sure to check out my page with a budget breakdown for over 30 cities in Spain before you make the move to help plan expenses. Seriously, I spent over a month collecting all that data and building it up as a resource. Share the love.


regions in Spain

Auxiliar program: yes, with many spots

Notable cities: Seville, Granada, Córdoba, Málaga, Almería, Huelva, Jaén and Cádiz

Paid on time: Depends, Andalucía is a huge region with thousands of auxuliars, the payments depend on where the funding comes from, and some people will be paid on time, others not, and some schools will lend money while others can’t

Language: Spanish, though Andalucía is famous for it’s very thick accent, andalú, it can be challenging when you first arrive, even knowing Spanish. I lived in Spain for a year and spoke Spanish fluently and I struggled my first few months in Córdoba

Thoughts: Andalucía is a popular choice for the auxiliares because it’s seen as “traditional” Spain, with flamenco, bull fights, the ferias and Semana Santa. It is known for being more laid back than the rest of Spain but it is also seen as “lazy and poor” by others. At the risk of being called a racist blogger (again) Andalucía is rather known for it’s gypsy/Romano population. Many people love living there, it is very beautiful and there are many amazing cities and festivals to experience; seriously, they know how to party in the south. I have written a lot of posts about Andalucía and living in Córdoba though ultimately I preferred living in the north; it felt more modern, at least in my opinion. Córdoba, Sevilla and Málaga are all on the high-speed AVE train line which means you can get to Madrid in around 2 hours and there are airports in Málaga and Sevilla.

Read more: 5 Reasons to Go to Southern Spain

Castilla la Mancha

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: No, they cut it last year because of funding issues in 2012

Notable cities: Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Toledo

Language: Spanish, easy to understand

Thoughts: Castilla la Mancha is the land of windmills and Don Quijote, vast and sprawling, it is home to beautiful cities and is very historical. Toledo is one of my favorite places in Spain, and worth a trip there, no matter where you are living. It’s on the high-speed AVE train line that connects Madrid to the south coast.

Read more: Photo Friday: Castilla la Mancha


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes

Noble cities: Murcia

Paid on time: No, late every year, and very very late at that, totally inconsistent

Language: Spanish with a heavy accent typical of Andalucía and southern Spain, dropping “s”s and slurring words together.

Thoughts: I haven’t been to Murcia nor have I heard much about it. They seem to have many problems with the auxiliar program there and many people leave early, huge payment problems. I feel like it gets a bad reputation and I am sure there are many people who like it. It is very traditional with beautiful beaches and the ancient city of Cartagena is worth a visit and the people are very welcoming, something very typical in southern Spain and in less tourist-trafficked destinations. It is close to the airport in Alicante for travel and near Almería and the beautiful remote beaches of southeast Spain.

Read more: Why I Hate the Auxiliar Program-there is a long comment in there about someone who lived in Murcia and the problems she had there. I have nothing nor know of any blog posts about Murcia. Anyone got any links to share?


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes

Notable cities: Badajoz, Cáceres, and Mérida

Paid on time: Late but sometimes the schools would advance payment, depending where you are placed.

Langauge: Spanish with a very heavy accent distinct to this region, known as extremeño.

Thoughts: One of the lesser known regions in Spain, it is very traditional and beautiful. It’s right next to Portugal and between Madrid, Castilla y León and Andalucía which means you are well situated to travel around Spain. It’s central and unknown, so if you are looking to blend in and have an authentic year abroad without lots of foreigners, Extremadura is the place for you.

Read more: 10 Reasons Why I Love Caceres from the infamous Will Peach


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: No, they cut it last year because of funding issues

Notable cities: Valencia and Alicante

Langauge: Spanish and Valencian. Spanish is spoken everywhere but they also speak a local dialect called Valencian, similar to Catalán.

Thoughts: Valencia is a very cool city and it was a very popular choice for the program before it was cut, mostly second-years were placed there. It even has a Starbucks (swoon)! Famous for its fire festival in the spring (Las Fallas) and its beaches in the summer along with its paella, Valencia is a beloved city in Spain. Unfortunately it is extremely corrupt and in huge debt problems along with Cataluña which is one reason why it was cut.

Read more: Check out Zach’s blog, Not Hemingway’s Spain, an expat living in Valencia for more info


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes, huge program, only region that requires 16 hr work weeks and offers 1000 euro monthly stipend, also starts Oct. 1 and ends June 30 instead of May 31.

Notable cities: Madrid and Alcalá de Henares. Madrid is both a city and a region, so you might have to commute

Paid on time: Yes for the most part. Some funding comes from different sources, so some people have been paid late, but for the most part, people are paid on time

Language: Spanish. The Spanish spoken in Madrid is easy to understand and some of the most “typical” Spanish you will hear around Spain.

Thoughts: the cost of living is higher in Madrid but you are paid more which evens it out. Barajas airport is there so you can fly all over Europe cheaply and easily. Madrid is a beautiful city with a lot to do and see, and there are lots of young people there now because of the job market and studying. It’s a great place to be located in Spain but there are also a lot of Americans and tourists there which can downsize your hopes for a truly “local” experience. It’s so big that you can find your niche.

Read more: Expat interviews with Lauren from Spanish Sabores and Casey from Gee, Cassandra

Castilla y León

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes, also starts Sept. 15 and ends June 15 instead of October 1-May 31.

Notable cities: Salamanca, Valladolid, Segovia, Burgos and León

Paid on time: Yes, this year they paid 3 months late.

Language: this is the region that is where modern Spanish was born, so it’s very easy and clear to understand everyone. It’s a great region to learn Spanish though it is known for having people who are “cold” whatever that means. Salamanca is a big university town, and I had the time of my life studying there from 2007-2008. It is close enough to commute to Madrid and also Portugal and the north and there are many beautiful cities and castles there. The famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage runs through northern Castilla y León. This is a great region to “go native.”

Read more: about Castilla y León here


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes with plenty of spots

Notable cities: Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, Orense and La Coruña

Paid on time: yes

Languages: Spanish and Gallego. The Spanish spoken here is very musical because of the Gallego and Portuguese influence. Gallego is one of the official languages in Spain and it’s a romance language which means it’s not too hard to pick up. There are bilingual schools.

Thoughts: Many people chose Galicia as their third choice or get placed there by as a last resort. I think it’s because Galicia is simply so far from the rest of Spain. It’s a pain in the ass to get there but it’s worth it. There are several airports, and you can even fly into Porto, Portugal just south of the border, which is a beautiful place. Galicia is known as the Ireland or UK of Spain because it’s very verdant and green. It rains a lot but the coast is beautiful and the food is great. It is also very cheap. I have heard nothing but good things about the auxiliar program in Galicia. Whoever is in charge knows what they are doing and it sounds like the best organized region of the bunch.

Read more: About Alisa’s experience as an expat in Galicia


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes, small amount admitted, competitive. Most people here are 2nd years

Notable cities: Oviedo and Gijón

Paid on time: Yes as far as I know

Langauge: Spanish

Thoughts: I would live in Asturias if I had the chance and I haven’t even been there! It’s supposed to be an amazing little region, very green and mountainous with the famous Picos de Europa mountain chain on it’s south side and then a rugged, beautiful coastline. The only downside is just how far it is from everything else, it’s very isolated. For the most part, the best food in Spain can be found in the north (in my humble opinion) and Asturias is well-known for their food and their hard cider. Also, Vicky Christina Barcelona, anyone?

Read more: Jessica from Hola Yessica’s take on Oviedo and Gijón


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes

Notable cities: Santander

Paid on time: as far as I know, yes

Language: Spanish

Thoughts: Beaches and cows, that’s what I think of when I think of Cantabria. It’s a small region that is also overlooked but I’ve driven along the coast there, and it’s beautiful. There are green forests, mountains and beautiful seaside towns. it’s also smack in the middle of many other beautiful cities like Oviedo, Bilbao and Burgos. It also has an airport.

Read more: Erik’s an expat in Cantabria, check out his blog for more info

Pais Vasco

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes

Notable cities: Bilbao and San Sebastián

Paid on time: Paid in three month stints, once in the beginning of December, in March and in May.

Thoughts: I LOVE the Basque Country! Great food, interesting culture and history, nice people and a beautiful landscape. Seriously, it’s one of the most beautiful regions in Spain with lots to see and do. It’s more expensive than other regions but it’s manageable and you make more money giving private English lessons. San Sebastián is one of my favorite cities in Spain, and it’s right next to France so you can easily travel around the north. Bilbao has a major airport and is a fun city on its own. The Basque country is industrialized and modern.

Check out my friend Liz’s guide of why you should chose to live here.

Language: Spanish and Basque (Euskera). There are two official languages in the Basque Country, so all signs, many schools, ect are bilingual. Basque is unrelated to any other language in the world which means it’s very difficult to learn, read and pronounce but it’s very interesting and very cool to learn about. Everyone speaks Spanish, only in the remote villages will be Basque be spoken predominantly, so you don’t really have to be concerned about learning it since everyone speaks Spanish

La Rioja

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes

Notable cities: Logroño

Paid on time: No, but most of the time the schools advanced the money to the auxiliars

Language: Spanish, easy to learn, the “typical” Spanish is spoken here

Thoughts: I love La Rioja, end of story. A tiny region smack in the middle of northern Spain, it’s sandwiched between many of the great northern cities, Pamplona, Bilbao, San Seb, Zaragoza. It’s very beautiful here with all the vineyards and mountains and it’s very cheap to live there. The downside is it’s a 4 hour bus ride to Madrid and the trains up there aren’t all that great. There are lots of buses that are cheap and easy to get around. Logroño was named the gastronomic capital of Spain last year so the food there will blow your mind. I can’t say enough good things about La Rioja.

Read more: My Rioja posts are here and many articles I’ve written about it here


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: No, they have their own auxiliar program geared mostly towards Brits.

Notable cities: Pamplona

Languages: Spanish and Basque, schools are bilingual, has the most advanced language learning programs in Spain and Europe, most schools teach 4 languages, highly educated kids here

Thoughts: I love Navarra, it’s one of my favorite regions. Most people only go to Pamplona during San Fermín in the summer, which is a very fun and debauched festival, but there are many other lovely places to visit in this region too. It’s very diverse because of the Basque influence and the landscape is awesome because it’s at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. It’s near a lot of great northern cities but far from Madrid and Barcelona.

Read more: Here are all my Navarra posts


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes, small amount admitted, competitive

Notable cities: Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel

Paid on time: Yes, as far as I know

Language: Spanish, clear no heavy accent

Thoughts: I’ve been to Aragón half a dozen times and I really love. Zaragoza is a big city in Spain and completely overlooked by tourists. It’s a great modern region to be based, with big cities and you can fit right in with the locals without huge crowds of tourists. Zaragoza has an airport and it’s on the high speed AVE train line between Madrid and Barcelona so you can get around Spain quick. Zaragoza and Aragón are a great place to have a very integrated, “Spanish” year abroad.

Read more: I wrote about Zaragoza here


regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: No, they cut it last year because of funding issues

Notable cities: Barcelona, Girona Lérida, and Tarragona

Langauge: Spanish and Catalán, Catalán is one of the official languages in Spain. Unlike the other bilingual regions, people here speak Catalán for the most part and some people can be rather haughty about it and not want to speak Spanish to you.

Thoughts: I’m not the biggest fan of Barcelona but I love Cataluña. It is a very magical region that’s very different from the rest of Spain, hence the strong separatist movement. There are lots of little towns and the Costa Brava will blow your mind it’s so pretty. Ultimately it doesn’t feel like the rest of Spain which can be both positive and negative, depending on what you are looking for.

Read more: I stayed in Girona for the TBEX travel blogging conference in September and fell in love with this smaller city. I also stayed in Besalú for a few days at the BlogHouse. Read about Barcelona here and here.

Las Islas Baleares 

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Yes, small amount admitted

Notable cities: Palma de Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza

Paid on time: Yes as far as I know

Langauges: Spanish and Catalán

Thoughts: I spent a weekend in Mallorca 5 years ago and I can’t wait to go back one day. Crowded mostly during the summer months, the Balearic Islands are equally as beautiful in winter. Lots of foreigners living on these islands but they have their own unique culture and language thanks to the Catalán influence. There are regular flights to the peninsula and around Europe, and the cost of living is only a little higher than the rest of Spain.

Read more: Casey has spent some time in Mallorca, see what she’s got to say about it on her blog Gee, Cassandra

Las Islas Canarias

regions in Spain

Auxiliar Program: Not for Americans, only British Council teachers are placed in the Canary Islands

Notable cities: Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma

Languages: Spanish, though it’s such a big destination and beach capital, most people speak English along with German and many other European languages because of the tourists and expats there.

Thoughts: The Canary Islands are a very popular beach destination in Spain, warm all year round, though living there all year round might be more challenging to some. It’s a solid 3 hours flight from Madrid, which is hefty if you want to travel a lot, though many of those flights are on budget airlines. I’m not a beach destination traveler, but I totally fell in love with Lanzarote when I went for a long weekend last February. Definitely a great weekend getaway from Europe, especially in winter.

Read more: I spent a long weekend in Lanzarote, read about it here.

*Images for Valencia, Extremadura, Asturias, and Murcia came from my Wander Pinterest board

*Funny Spain may source

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120 Responses to A Guide to the Regions in Spain for Auxiliares de Conversación

  1. Claudia January 10, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    Yea, I don’t know why Galicia is usually a third choice. Pulpo, Magosto, Licor Cafe, Ribeira Sacra, so many delicious food fairs, and free hot spings! Such a great region!! We did have issues getting paid (in 2010/2011 year), but only in the beginning. We got our first payment, no later than mid November, and always on the first after that.

    Another thing: In some schools, Gallego is the main language. Personally, I didn’t have any issues with this, but I know my roommate, and another close friend, heard nothing but Gallego all day long at their schools. It made it a little more difficult for them to adjust, but eventually they got over it. All in all, Galicia is a wonderful region, my experience was great, and I miss it a lot. Especially the fresh pulpo stand right across from my apartment, that would come every sunday 🙂

    • Trevor Huxham January 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      I just applied to renew the program for a second year, moving from Andalucía to Galicia, and this comment encourages me a lot. I felt a little uneasy selecting such a remote region, but like you and many, many others have said, Galicia is a really beautiful place with a language that’s easy to pick up and a fascinating culture. I also preferenced Galicia because I’ve consistently heard (you being the most recent instance) that they have their act together when it comes to paying people on time. I got lucky this year in Andalucía since I believe my school is paying me directly, but people in my same province didn’t get paid till mid-December! I’d rather not take that risk again next year.

      • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

        I’m sure you’ll love Galicia, I have heard nothing but good things about it. I passed through in September and it looked amazing!

        • Taylor January 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

          I am living in Galicia now. The people are great and we get paid on-time every time. All the comments listed above are accurate. You do have to contend with the Gallego here…its definitely different. But it is extremely cheap to live here! However, you need to consider the weather. I haven’t seen the sun in weeks…and it can really start to wear on you after a while. I am hoping for a nice spring!

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      I feel like Galicia is so underrated! It’s so beautiful but I think people are deterred by how far it is from the rest of Spain and the other language.

    • a. January 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Word! Galicia is the best, and I’m so glad to see you giving it some love, Liz 🙂 It may not have flamenco or bullfights, but Galicia is such a hidden gem. It’s got a fantastic mix of more cosmopolitan culture in the big(ger) cities like Santiago and A Coruña, but then there are these endless green mountains, full of trails and little towns to explore. Plus it’s almost comically cheap. I cannot think of a better place in Spain to be living on 700E a month.

      I also love the accent here, because it’s so musical and distinct…but at the same time crystal-clear and extremely easy to understand. You definitely don’t need to speak gallego to get by, but it’s super-prevalent everywhere you go, especially in the schools. At the same time, it’s pretty easy to pick up, at least to the point where you can follow conversations, if not actually speak it.

      And you’ve also gotta love the Xunta. They, as Liz said, know what’s up, are super-organized, and pay us on time. I also think the regional government really values the program–the president of Galicia spoke at our orientation–which I think says good things about continued funding and governmental support.

      In conclusion, hooray Galicia.

      • Claudia January 13, 2013 at 3:25 am #

        I definitely learned some key phrases! And had lots of friends who wanted to teach me. Yay Galicia!!

  2. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas January 10, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    If I could do it all over again, I’d probably still pick Andalucía (and thank for the mention, meanie!!). I was looking to get out of the snow and cold of Seville and wanted to be in a city that wasn’t too big or too small. I dreamed of Granada, and was placed in Seville. I’m convinced my life would have a much different course if it weren’t for that little stroke of fate.

    My second choice was Madrid, then where I stuied, Castilla y León. I had zero payment problems in Andalucía, got to actually teach in my school and was treated as an equal. I cried when my rejection letter came! And, really, the auxiliar program is only 12-16 hours a week. My life in Spain has ALWAYS been about what happens after work, and my attitude against all of the ups and downs of living abroad. If I did the program again, I would write Andalucía, Madrid, Galicia as my top choices (you could just choose al azar when I worked as an assistant, no first, second, third columns).

    A list of posts related to my experiences from 2007-10 as an auxiliar in the Sevilla province:

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      Hey Cat, the only outside posts I’ve linked are ones about topics I have no content on here about, like Valencia or Asturias. I have lots of posts on here about my time as a auxiliar in Andalusia.

  3. Lauren January 10, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I’m definitely happy that I chose to do the program in a smaller city (Seville) and if I was to choose again I would have done one year in Seville and another in Galicia or Asturias. After learning Spanish and getting into the culture of the smaller cities, moving to Madrid was great. But I think if I’d started in Madrid my Spanish would be a lot worse, I wouldn’t have had half as much fun, and I also wouldn’t have had the chance to observe a lot of small town/city culture (Seville’s Fería and Semana Santa are two “big” examples).

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more Lauren!

  4. Trevor Huxham January 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Liz, you forgot the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla! How could you?! 😀 hahaha just kidding. But in all seriousness, do you know if anyone has ever worked there? I feel like I’ve heard of maybe one person who got placed in Ceuta last year. So strange that Spain still lists them as an option on Profex.

    Confession: I’m totally bookending my Semana Santa trip to Morocco with stops in Ceuta and Melilla. My excuse is that they’re ferry ports, but in reality I’m just the world’s biggest hipster and completionist (gotta visit all the communities!!!).

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Haha that’s hilarious! I didn’t even know they placed auxiliares there!

  5. Cassandra January 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Wow, chica, you really did your homework! I thought this was such a thorough post; there was plenty of info I didn’t know about the way the program worked in other autonomias. I didn’t know, for example, that British Council auxiliares could be placed in Las Canarias.

    I had a terrific experience in Madrid with this program and agree that the city has a lot to offer. (International jet-setting, nightlife, museums, and intercambios, anyone?) If I had to choose another region, it’d def be in the north–Basque Country, Galicia, Asturias etc.

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks chiki! I have been offering advice about this for ages so I figured why not share it all on here 🙂

  6. Sophie January 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Wow, I find you chart incredibly insulting, and what’s worse, you seem to genuinely find it an accurate or humorous representation of Spain.

    • Liz January 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Hi Sophie, I don’t remember saying that I “genuinely find it an accurate or humorous representation of spain”

      It’s also not my chart, but go ahead with your self-perceived notions of my stereotyping the various autonomous communities of Spain.

      Did you find the rest of my 3000+ word article insulting as well?

      I hope not because I worked forever on it hoping to provide future auxiliars a glimpse into the different communities to help them chose.

      Ultimately I hope people find this article helpful 🙂

      • Shannon January 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

        people really have no sense of humor these days.

  7. Shannon January 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Well done, Liz! Love this so much.

    I reapplied yesterday (inscrita 5, woo) but chickened out and put Andalucia as my first preference again 😛 I had some thoughts about heading up north but I just love the south so much. I’m dreaming of being placed in my beloved Granada again.

    I plan on visiting the north a lot though! I think I will do less international traveling this time around and try to see more of Spain. I need to see the Basque Country and joder, I have lived in Spain twice now and have never been to Castilla y León! For shame!

    PS I put La Rioja as my second choice, thanks to this blog 😛

    • Liz January 11, 2013 at 1:33 am #

      If you love Andalucia, stick around! I loved it but I was dreaming about the north the whole time I was in Cordoba. Definitely check out the north, it’s really amazing!

      OMG you picked La Rioja as a choice because of my blog??!?!! that made my day 😀

  8. Olivia January 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    Hey Liz,

    First of all, I want to say thank you for taking the time to compile such an extensive and well-researched piece about all of the different regions! Even though I think I have my mind made up about my picks, your photos are inspiring me to get to some new regions before my first year ends!

    Anyway, I am writing to ask you a question that you may or may not have the answer to — but am hoping that you can help me out:

    So, here’s the situation: I am a current auxiliar and am stressing out a bit about my renovación. Surprise, surprise, my school director is taking forever to get my recommendation form back to me despite having asked for it right when we got back from break. I was hoping to have it ready to go by the time the application period opened, but alas, I must wait a bit longer it seems.

    I am wondering if you know about how many auxiliares sign up to renew their contracts each year? I am eager to get a good number (as I was able to last year — and get my first choice region) and am getting nervous that my chances are dwindling to successfully change to my new first pick as other auxiliares are renewing ahead of me.

    Have you heard from other second years about their renovaciones and how often they ended up getting their first pick if they were trying to switch into to a new region? Do you think that it will help that I’m not applying for the most popular ones?

    Well, thanks in advance and keep up the good work with the auxiliares posts. I only wish I could have seen your site sooner when I was applying for the first time last year — confused by nearly everything about the process! Although, I did see when I was googling “auxiliares de conversación” today — truly the only way I ever find the right link to Profex — that Young Adventuress comes up within the top few hits! Way to go, hopefully other prospective auxiliares are getting linked to your blog before they decide to commit to this somewhat arduous and complex application process!

    Best, Olivia

    • Liz January 11, 2013 at 1:40 am #

      Hi Olivia, thanks for comment!

      Don’t stress out, 2nd years get priority so you are almost guaranteed to get your first pick. They place all of the second years before they place any first years or third year renewals. Also I think you can fill out everything online and submit the papers later, right? I can’t remember. Pressure on your coordinator but don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get your first choice. Just make sure it’s not one of the regions that was cut last year.

      Hope this helps and feel free to email me with questions, dudas, o preguntas —

    • Samantha January 11, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Olivia!

      I just wanted to comment that there is no need to stress! I completed my application to reapply VERY late last year (I don’t think my school even forwarded it to me until a month after the application period opened, this year it was sent to me directly). The portion that the director had to fill out was pretty minimal, so check and make sure s/he knows what to do if they’re taking a long time!

      In spite of applying late, I was still assigned a region and given my preference at the end of May, at the same time as all the other auxiliares that I knew. (My preferences were 1.Cataluñia, 2.Valencia, 3.País Vasco, so actually after having been initially assigned Cataluñia, I was switched to País Vasco when they closed the program in the other regions, but they clearly made the effort to give me my choice.)

  9. Sarita January 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    I am also one of La Rioja’s biggest fans, I used to work there managing walking holidays. Driving around the gorgeous red-earthed countryside with vineyards around almost every bend, and then taking a stroll around a lovely historic town before a fabulous dinner accompanied by some of the world’s best red wine will always remain in my memory. My favourite place on Earth is the Monastery of Valvanera, up in the mountains, an incredibly special place (and I’m not religious).

    • Liz January 11, 2013 at 1:37 am #

      Wahooo that makes me smile! What a cool job! How can I work doing that? The Rioja landscape is magical, I love it. And el monasterio de Valvanera is so lovely, way up in the mountains. I’ve been there a couple of times.

  10. Micaela January 11, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    Liz, I love your post about all the regions! I still find it fascinating how culturally different every region is even though Spain isn’t that much bigger than some states in the US!

    I was a little bummed though…as an auxiliar in Murcia I hoped we’d have more to offer than just our payment issues! Don’t get me wrong, the issues are EXTREME and we only just got paid for the first time this past week (yup…in January!). Nevertheless, it’s a region that still has a lot of pride in its culture and traditions. It has a lot of farming communities, so there is an emphasis on the simple life, family, and there are still strong ties to Catholic traditions.

    Language: Spanish…but with a definitive accent. S’s are optional, and slurring of words together all while at break neck speeds is strongly encouraged there! Also, home of the word ‘Acho!’ which I’ve decided means ‘Dude, what the hell are you doing?!?’

    It has fantastic climate, quite a few beaches (La Manga), wine (Jumilla), and is near Alicante airport so not unconnected for travel.

    In terms of tourism, Cartagena is worth a visit as its history goes back to the Romans & Carthaginians and it has a beautiful port and some assorted ruins.

    Murcia is definitely not glamorous, and I wouldn’t recommend opening a bank account there, but I’ve found the people to be the most hospitable and welcoming in Spain!

    • Liz January 11, 2013 at 1:31 am #

      Micaela, thank you so much for writing that! I literally had nothing, zip nada to go on for Murcia, the only thing I have ever heard about it was the payment problems. I have already updated it based on your tips! I felt so bad because Murcia gets a bad rep with the program. Murcia is one of the only regions I haven’t been to.

      I agree 100%, it’s the main reason I love Spain so much, it’s so diverse, linguistically, culturally, even the landscapes. You can travel 2 hours and be somewhere totally different, it’s really neat!


  11. Meredith January 11, 2013 at 3:31 am #

    Hello, thank you so much for this post! I am very interested in Aragon, but since I cannot choose the exact city, I am worried about being placed closer to Cataluna and having the Catalan influence over the language. Do you know anything about parts of that region that might have the language difference?

    • Liz January 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      That shouldn’t be a problem at all, and as far as I know, almost everyone is placed in Zaragoza. I don’t think there is much Catalan used there, I’ve been all over Aragon and I’ve only heard spanish

    • Lisa January 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      Catalan is only spoken in small strip of western Aragon, known as “La Franja de Ponent” in Catalan. I wouldn’t worry about it.

      • Lisa January 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

        Oops, I obviously meant eastern Aragon.

  12. Samantha January 11, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Liz, thanks for this post!

    I have always thought something like this was needed for googling auxiliares.

    One other thing that I think is worth mentioning is that the program itself varies by region. Everyone I know who works/worked in Madrid did so at a colegio, here in the Basque Country you will be either placed at an Instituto or at an Escuela de Idiomas, and when I lived in Galicia you could be at all three.

    Also, I can’t speak enough as to how well the program was organized in Galicia! There was actually a BOOK given to us at orientation that outlined the program, and schools seemed to be well instructed on how to use their auxiliares. The teachers are instructed to try to give you a schedule with one day off, preferably Monday or Friday. Everyone I knew who had to commute traveled with other teachers. Teachers told me (in advance, for the most part) what I should teach in class, and I could look for supplemental material but it was not always necessary. Sometimes I would be asked to do presentations on cultural topics (Holidays, etc.), or create activities just for fun, or to simply help out when students were working on projects. Most importantly, in my experience and for the other auxiliares that I spoke with, the schools seem to view the program as an EXCHANGE, and not just an opportunity to have a cheap intern. I think that all of these things are important factors to having a good experience with the program, as you have written on a few occasions!

    • Liz January 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      That is definitely true, I’m planning on updating this page frequently the more I learn about each region, thanks for the input 🙂

  13. Not Hemingway's Spain January 11, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the mention! And I like the description of Valencia… a wonderful place to live, horrible place for politics and balancing budgets. That sums it up well. The Fulbright ETA program also got cut this year. One thinks this must be like cutting peanuts, budget-wise, but then things have been pretty tight in the region, so it’s hard to complain much about the tragedy of losing this talented, enthusiastic source of native-speaking teachers.

    One clarification: Valenciano (or really Valencià) is a dialect of Catalan, not Spanish. So really you should write the “Language” section the same as you did for the Balearic Islands: Spanish and Catalan. It’s a complicated subject —politically, not linguistically— which I wrote a very long entry about here:

    Much of the confusion about all of this is because Valencians often resent being lumped together with Catalans, so a small but loud minority claim (ideologically) that Valencian is a distinct language from Catalan. No linguist would accept this claim, but the Valencian government propagates it and legally the Spanish government has to respect the regional government’s claim. Thus, “Valenciano” is listed separately as one of “five official languages” in Spain, even though it is really a dialect of Catalan. (The other three languages are Galician, Basque and Spanish, as you describe above… though there are a couple of other distinct languages spoken here and there… such as aranés, a variant/dialect of Occitan spoken in a few towns in Aragon.)

    And now I will apologize in advance for the avalanche of angry, opinionated comments you might get from embattled Spaniards on this subject. As an English teacher living in Valencia, married to a Valencian-speaking Valencian, and who has taken Valencian (i.e. Catalan) classes, I’ve had to fight this battle for clarity a lot. It’s crazy. (It’s not like Americans worry about being mistaken for Brits just because their language is “English”!) Ugh. Sorry for the digression into rant.


    • Liz January 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks for this Zach! Valenciano was never really clear to me because I haven’t spent very much time in the area, usually only for the beaches :/ I didn’t know it was considered one of the official languages in Spain either, very interesting. I can only imagine how people there feel about it

  14. Ashlee D. [Polyglottony] January 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    I was placed in Galicia from 2010-2011, and at least the year I was there, which was the first year Galicia hosted auxiliares, they did not pay us for the first time until December, and then we were not always paid on time after that. Some schools in the region the first year were not very prepared for us coming and were somewhat aloof. I have heard it has improved a lot. Regardless, I had an absolutely amazing experience.

    Galicia is stunningly gorgeous and magical, even with the rain. In my humble opinion, Galician food is the best in all of Spain (and I’ve been to all but 2 comunidades autónomas!), and the people, while they may not be as open as the andaluces upon first glance, I found that once you make a Galician friend, you are henceforth a part of the family. It is definitely not “Spain”. The music, food, landscape, architecture, etc. are all very different; when I would go to other parts of Spain, it would feel like I was traveling to a different country. Hospitality in Galicia I also found to be better, as I feel many Gallegos aren’t as indifferent to visitors an Galicia is not (yet) overrun with tourists. Chances are, if you hear someone speaking English on the street, even in the bigger cities of Santiago and A Coruña, they’re probably someone you know from the Auxiliar program!

    A trip to Galicia would not be complete without a visit to the smaller towns too; Combados and Combarro are both must-see towns with a great nightlife and ambiente, despite their small size!

    Anyway, a very great and comprehensive post! If I were to go back, I would be so torn; I absolutely loved Galicia and miss it every day. However, part of me would love to experience life in Andalucía.

    • Liz January 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Very cool! I had heard the same thing, that the program drastically improved this past year up there, one can only hope that it continues and that other regions step up to base in the future. I’m glad you had a good time, I’m definitely adding those pueblos to my must-see list!

      • Ashlee D. [Polyglottony] January 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

        Ooops, I just realized I wrote COmbados instead of Cambados jajaja but those towns are part of what they call the “Rias Baixas”… definitely worth the visit, especially in the summer on a sunny day!

  15. Daryl January 11, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    As a first year applicant, this post was SO helpful! Thank you for putting so much time into it! The one thing that’s still tripping me up is that you say here that a few of the regions (Valencia included) no longer has an auxiliary program. But the application still lists these regions as an option to choose… does anyone have any light to shed here? Based on my previous experience with the Spanish gov’t already, I’m inclined to take Liz’s word over the application.

    • Liz January 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Great glad to have helped 🙂 they always list every region bc the application is open for more than just Americans and some have different programs, I think it comes down to funding and who knows, maybe they can come up with the necessary $ needed

  16. camila January 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    First of all I would like to THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU on behalf of myself and I’m sure dozens of other first year applicants! Seriously I’ve read just about every one of your posts and they been so helpful! I appreciate that you always add a touch of humor to your posts no matter the subject 🙂

    Second, I studied in Murcia in 2011 and though I LOVED studying there and loved the city, I can see why it would be very disorganized. I was supposed to receive a stipend from the university in Murcia to cover food, living, etc and it was supposed to come the month I arrived (January) and we didn’t end up getting it until March. This was a huge region why I decided not to request Murcia for the auxiliar program even though the city itself was wonderful, inexpensive and the people were super friendly. It will be tough not going back to la ciudad donde vive el sol (seriously. it is ALWAYS sunny in Murcia)

    Third, I put Andalucia as my first option because I loved the atmosphere and moorish influence of southern Spain but I was just wondering if you had any tips on the weather there? In Murcia it maybe rained twice for the entire seven months I was there and it was horrendously hot in May, June and July (I managed to survive by going to the beach almost every single day) and I was wondering if the weather in Andalucia would be similar to this? Also how was the public transportation system there, as I’m worried I will have to commute long distances.

    Thank you again and while I’m waiting to hear back from the program I will definitely be re-reading all your posts!

    • Elisa January 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      Hi, I am responding to your question about the weather in Andalucía. It’s very rainy. Andaluces lie and claim it “never rains”, but I just came back from studying in Sevilla (Sept-Dec) and I can tell you that during Dec it rained at least every other day. However, until maybe November(?) it only rained a few times. It’s humid but not horrible, and generally it’s pretty dry. I went to a few other cities in November (Granada, Córdoba) and in both of these cities it rained while I was there.
      It doesn’t rain 24h of the day, but make no mistake, it does rain.

    • Elisa January 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

      To clarify: It’s only rainy in the winter, to my knowledge. During the summer it is like a giant frying pan, and there is NO rain.

    • Liz January 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Thank you! There is decent public transport in Andalucia to get around and you hitch rides with fellow teachers. Many teachers have to commute thanks to the shitty system in place for getting tenured.

      Andalucia is rainy in winter, don’t let the stereotype fool you. It’s dry in spring summer and fall winter it can rain a lot and be cloudy, I’m sure it’s similar to Murcia. Also look at my apartment hunt post bc it’s standard in Andalucia not to have heat and I almost died that winter, so cold. Good luck and in glad you have found my posts helpful

    • Addie Acuff February 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      hello, I was a student in Huelva last year and the whole time I was there, it rained 4 if not less times. You have to remember that Andalucia is a huge region which includes all the way to Portugal and there are many small cities. When I lived in Huelva they have a really good transportation system however you had to be careful because one time my bus driver decided to take a smoke break in the middle of the route but it didn’t matter if we were late to class because they didn’t really take things too seriously to begin with. The good thing about Andalucia is being near the beach and if you get a coastal city you will have a completely different climate. In Seville and Cordoba the temperature gets hotter during summer and colder during winter. It just really depends on the city. I hope this helps you at all. Remember that Andalucia is very slow at doing things in general so understanding to be patient especially in the smaller cities. If you do go to Andalucia make sure to look up, Pego de Infermo which is Portugal’s best kept secret- only locals know and it is really beautiful.

    • seth green May 10, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      sorry they didnt pay you upfront in murcia.we are a private english schol of 37 teachers in murcia..21 americans and 16 british.we usually meet the students from abroad who visit murcia..didnt see you!! murcia is a great city .many say its like la joya california or san diego..mountains sun warm orchards vinyards..Thank for coming to our city…

  17. Joanne January 12, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Really good summary! For people entering the program and never having studied or visited Spain it will be very useful. Madrid was definitely a great place to live and work. If you ever need some Madrid input, let me know! 🙂 Un beso.

  18. Callie January 12, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks so much for posting this. I didn’t really know which of your posts to comment on because most are super helpful but I am an auxiliar now and I am trying to decide whether to switch or not when reapplying. On the one hand, I could try to stay where I am because I like it and I have people I know, but at the same time it is not like I have been able to form a really good group of friends. It is more that I have a couple good friends (often whom are not Spanish). So, what I am really wondering is if you have any advice for trying to decide to stay or move. If I move I start all over and have to get to know all new people, a new city, etc… but at the same time I’m not really sure how much I am leaving behind. Any thoughts on how you made the decision or anyone else you know?

    Thanks so much!

    • Liz January 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      I think you should change regions, the 2nd yr tends to be better and if you aren’t 100% contenta where you are, go for somewhere new. Since you get placement priority, you can contact the coordinator and try to get a good school placement wherever you end up. I’m all about trying something new 🙂

  19. vania January 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Hey Liz,

    First, let me congratulate you on your amazing and very informative blog! I’m sure you know by now that it’s the absolute go-to for anything auxiliar-related, your blog is practically the program’s bible!!

    So I have a question for you, and anyone else who might have an answer……

    I’m currently applying for my second year as an auxiliar and I’m hoping to coordinate my 2nd-year placement in a city where I hope to do a Master’s program next year. I figured I’d give the combination a shot as the auxiliar program is not very time-consuming and would provide me with a modest and stable income while studying.

    So as I’m doing the auxiliar application, I’m wondering if I should mention and request this in my application since 2nd-years get preference; or if I should do the exact opposite and refrain b/c I’m not sure if mentioning this could actually hurt me in the process as maybe the Ministry would worry that any graduate studies could get in the way of my auxiliar duties. I figure that the second year would be when to try and coordinate something like this as it’s the only time auxiliares are given preference since 3rd-years are often given less preference than 1st-years.

    I heard from one auxiliar that another auxiliar, who’s friends with a friend (lol, who knows if this is really true or just urban myth), got switched after she had already been given a different placement b/c she contacted the Ministry telling them that she got accepted to a graduate program in another part of Spain. Again, not sure if this really happened but I would love to hear from anyone who’s heard similar or who can attest to this being a possibility with the Ministry.

    Also, I’m thinking if instead I should say in the application that I have a family member living in this city who wants to host me during the length of the program, and that such a living situation would be of great economic help to me. What do you think Liz, any experience with this type of situation??

    And for all you readers and auxiliares, past and present, please chime in if you can contribute to my dilemma! Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

    Hoping to finish the application over the weekend so I’ll be waiting eagerly for any responses!!

    • Liz January 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      Hi! Sorry it took me a bit linger to reply, since we are on student visas the ministry has to let you participate in grad programs if you want, definitely put it on your application.

  20. Esther January 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Madrid is the best! 😉

    Snobs? no, we are not! jajaja. Ojala vea a muchos de vosotros por mi querida ciudad.

    Un beso

  21. Sara February 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm #


    I have a lot of questions that you may or may not have the answers to, but you seem pretty well-equipped (and to be completely honest, I trust you way more after reading your “Break up to Travel” post… definitely humanized you for me!).

    I’m living in Madrid right now and am applying to renew- do our inscrita numbers matter as renewals??

    Also, this would just be your opinion, and I’m glad to hear it, but I’m incredibly distraught over whether to request Andalucia for next year or stay in Madrid… do you have any suggestions about staying in the same place versus moving? I’ve definitely made a pro-con list but in the end it’s neck and neck!

    And just to clarify the “humanize” comment is supposed to be compliment! Relationships and travel are such a reality for some people and I’ve found myself amazed at how many people pick relationships over being abroad. I have a friend that I’ll send that link to… I hope she makes the right choice!



    • Liz February 13, 2013 at 3:14 am #

      I love questions! Thanks for asking them on here, I am much better at answering q’s here than via email.

      Inscrita numbers don’t matter as a first year renewal, don’t fret!

      I think if you are seriously considering leaving Madrid, then you probably should. I have a feeling if you don’t go to Andalucia, you might regret not going, you know what I mean? I loved living down there, and it will be easier with one year in madrid under your belt. Any idea of what city you’d like to be placed? Since you get priority, you’ll get placed first so it will be easy to contact the coordinator and request a good school and city. Why not? Are you 100% in love with Madrid and never want to leave? I’m guessing if you are thinking about Andalucia, probably not, so you might as well try something new. How many times do you get to live in Spain? Switching regions was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made 😀 Plus you’ll get to know even more of Spain this way, and Madrid will always be there to visit.

      I actually loved you humanize comment, made me smile! I couldn’t agree more. I have many friends, and ex boyfriends too, that I would love to send this post to and be like “WAKE UP FOOLS” but that’s just me 😛

      Thanks for reading girl and buena suerte!

      Let me know what you decide, Liz xx

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  24. Aimee June 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Hey, I just wanted to add to the chorus of thank yous and great jobs. I got my placement last week (Galicia), and while it wasn’t in my top three (I had País Vasco, Andalucía and Catalunya listed – didn’t know that the last there is no longer accepting auxiliares), I was still very excited. I studied in Bilbao last year and loved it, even though I traveled all over the peninsula. I really wanted to visit Galicia, and now I will be living there. 🙂 Your post (and the comments I came across below it) put me even more at ease. It’s good to know that they seem to have things under control up there, and I won’t be stressing over when I’ll be paid.

    My friend did the program this past year, and she was in Menorca. They didn’t get paid for a couple months.

    My only concern left is the fact that Galicia is so isolated. Part of me embraces that, but part of me thinks “What am I going to do? The transportation options are so limited!” I’m definitely afraid of being placed in a small interior town, too. I would love to be in any of the more coastal cities.

    Anyway, this was a long rambly reply, when I really just wanted to ask if you knew where the auxiliares are generally placed there. And I saw you mention contacting the coordinator (it was to a second year person, though)… is that a good idea? Emailing the contact in Galicia and asking for a placement in a city? I don’t want to be obnoxious, you know?

    So yeah, that’s all. Sorry for rattling on. 🙂 (And thank you again for your blog!!)

    • Liz June 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      def email the coordinator since I think they place people everywhere, everyone does it so don’t worry but do it quick! Galicia will be amazing, I promise!!

      • Joe July 17, 2013 at 10:33 am #

        Hey Liz,

        I currently have not applied for the program but I have heard by word of mouth that a lot of times people that accept positions either never show up on the first day or sometimes go home for christmas and never come back which leaves a lot of open spots. I am very interested in the position and was actually recommended to visit the office in Madrid and ask in person if there are openings. I am not sure if you have heard of people doing this or not? I am a citizen though so i would imagine it would be easier to not have to go through all the visa applications. What would you suggest? Thanks

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    Hey Liz,

    I currently have not applied for the program but I have heard by word of mouth that a lot of times people that accept positions either never show up on the first day or sometimes go home for christmas and never come back which leaves a lot of open spots. I am very interested in the position and was actually recommended to visit the office in Madrid and ask in person if there are openings. I am not sure if you have heard of people doing this or not? I am a citizen though so i would imagine it would be easier to not have to go through all the visa applications. What would you suggest? Thanks

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  28. SpaniSherri January 27, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    Hey there! I’m a current auxiliar in Galicia and I have to say your posts have helped me SO much during the whole process. Right now I’m looking at reapplying for a second year but I have no idea what to do! I REALLY love Galicia, and we get paid on time and everything seems to be pretty organized here, but I also feel like I should get to know a different part of Spain. I really wanted to do Cataluña, but you say the program has been cut from there? Do you know if this is still the case? If I could go there, I would love to, but if not, what do you think about Andalucia? I’m a little nervous to go there because of the accent. Ah I’m just so torn between staying here in Galicia or chancing it and going somewhere new! What if I don’t like my second location as much?? Any and all advice is appreciated!

    • Smegonz February 24, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Sherri, I just applied at the first week of February for the first time. The application process started January 10 and ends April 4 (Do you think I applied to late?. Also how long it takes for your application to show as Registrada and then Admitida on Profex? Thanks in advance.

      • SpaniSherri February 25, 2014 at 12:03 am #

        Hey Smegonz, When I first applied last year I fully submitted my application on February 15th and I was really worried about it being too late. I ended up with my second choice (Galicia), but I’m so glad I ended up here. The application timeline is long, but it can be competitive in places and people apply really early. But as far as getting placed or getting one of your three choices, I definitely wouldn’t worry. You should be fine!

        It took me about 2 weeks to get to Registrada, and I can’t remember when I was admitada but I got all my information SO LATE. I think I recieved the notification that I was in Galicia in May, and I didn’t recieve the letter from my school until late June. It all came really late and didn’t give me much time to work out the visa process, so I would say once you recieve your region assignment (your actual school assignment will come later), look up the visa requirements and have everything as ready as possible so that once you get the letter from your school you can get to your nearest consulate. That’s what I had to do. The visa process isn’t difficult, really, but it can be time consuming (especially getting the background check, sheesh).

        Anyway, don’t worry! I don’t think you’re too late! I always recommend this program to anyone who is willing to have an open mind. You may not end up with your first choice of region but I’m sure you’ll at least get your second or third, and don’t worry about being admitada. I’m sure it’ll happen. You just gotta be patient because the gobierno definitely takes its time. Buena suerte!


        • Smegonz February 25, 2014 at 5:07 am #

          Thanks so much!! You gave me good luck, I just received a notification saying that my solicitud is Admitida!!

  29. Meredith March 24, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Incredible post! The program is quite small in Murcia having about 40 assistants total in the whole region. We were paid very late, but as long as you have some savings, you’ll be fine. I love my experience in Murcia. I think it is a great way of having a completely authentic Spanish lifestyle, plus there is great weather, the coast, and AMAZING food. I started giving private lessons only out of ‘boredom’, not for lack of money, and I lived right in the center of downtown Murcia capital. Murcianicos are wonderful and their accents are, I think, a bit easier to manage than Andalusians (I lived in Sevilla almost as long). In Murcia I had time to have coffee every day with my friends for hours, so if you’re looking for tranquility, it’s perfect. I highly recommend it and still spend a lot of weekends there, though I now work in Madrid (and adore it here).

  30. Megan March 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    I just stumbled upon your blog while struggling to decide which regions to pick….This was SO incredibly helpful for me! Thank you so much!

  31. Erik R. April 29, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    Cheers for the Cantabria shoutout. One peeve I have as an adopted Cantabrian is the way the rest of Spain refers to all of Cantabria as “Santander”. But I suppose I should be used to it from when I lived in England, a couple hours drive from London, and everyone thought I lived in London. Still, irksome.

    Mmmm… Beaches and cows…. 🙂

  32. Mike of Mapless Mike May 14, 2014 at 4:36 am #

    I was just placed in Logroño, La Rioja for this upcoming school year! I couldn’t be more excited! I’m also glad to read that you had a great experience there. Thanks for putting this together, Liz!

    • Saul May 14, 2014 at 6:49 am #

      Congratulations Mike!! I’m waiting for my placement too. A little anxious must admit. What was your application number? Mine is in the low 2000 lol

    • Saul May 14, 2014 at 6:51 am #

      Congratulations Mike!! I’m waiting for my placement too. A little anxious mist admit. Which was your application number? Mine is in the low 2000 lol.

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  35. Ryan May 22, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    Just finishing my year in Granada and honestly couldn’t ask for a better city to be placed in! The people here are so welcoming and will bend over backwards to include you in the “typical life” of an Andalucian. It’s not a huge city, which i personally like but definitely has more than enough to keep you occupied. Great bus service makes it easy to travel from place to place, only downside is that being so far in the south can male it a challenge to get to some of the Northern regions but it’s definitely doable. While I absolutely loved Asturias when i visited a friend for a couple of weeks I just love the culture and way of life in Andalucia and the fact that people from other regions use the phrase “mala folla” to describe Andalucians, it’s complete none sense, the mentality here is work extremely hard for a limited time so the rest of the time can be spent having fun! p.s don’t let the accent thing put you off, it is difficult at first but you soon get used to it and after being here 10 months I’ve even picked up the accent myself and can’t seem to shake it!

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  37. Kelsey June 1, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I applied for the auxiliar program this year and haven’t heard back from them yet. On the website, it says they will send out notifications late April to May. It’s now June first, should I be worried? I know the Spanish government is slow sometimes so I was wondering if this was normal? How long did you all have to wait before getting a response back?

    • SpaniSherri June 2, 2014 at 3:25 am #

      Kelsey, you haven’t heard anything, even about your region? Well, I don’t know much about that but I know I heard really late. I didn’t get my letter from the school until mid June. My friend finished her application two days before the deadline and still got placed. I wouldn’t worry if I were you. They really take their time. Best of luck to you!


      • Kelsey July 11, 2014 at 10:48 am #

        It’s mid July and I finally heard back (about my region, haven’t received the school letter yet!) They really do take their time! I got placed in Castilla y Leon, does anyone know about the auxiliar program there?

  38. Chris June 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Hi Liz,

    I commented on your other article about the BEDA/UCETAM/Auxiliares programs, and was just wondering if you might be able to discuss and provide some insight into your experience with the programs. Can you tell me more about the application process? I’ve heard varying opinions from, “it’s impossible for americans to teach in Spain now” to “you should do it if you really want to” and was just wondering what your opinion would be on the current state of teaching english in Spain. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Best, Chris

    • Yeri October 16, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Hey Chris. My friend is currently teaching in two schools in Madrid. Because of the economy, Spaniards are rushing to learn English in order to get jobs overseas. Native English speakers are in high demand right now.

  39. Shona July 1, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Hey Just found this blog its so interesting! Do you know if the auxilieres programme is just for Americans or Brits too? I’m currently in the middle of my degree – not in spanish – but I spent a year in Madrid before going to university. I can’t wait to finish studying so I can spend some more time there, and am trying to find ways to do this which doesn’t involve aupairing again. Thanks

  40. Karl August 1, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    Superb blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform
    like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..

    Any recommendations? Cheers!

  41. Ryan Lopez October 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Hey Liz,

    Awesome blog! The information you’ve provided is really helpful, and even after reading what you wrote about Murcia and reading the horror stories of “Why I hate the Auxiliar Program,” I think I may still pick Murcia as my first choice as a FIRST time, FIRST year applier, to be guaranteed a location near a metropolitan area. I do love Andalucía, however, and every region I’ve visited for that matter. I was looking to do a little work in the country prior to the school year, for example through workaway, I was wondering if you would have any advice, or any one you know would have any advice about the whole VISA process if I were to combine the two? Thanks for your time and keep it up!


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  44. Fran December 11, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    Great post Liz! I was just wondering how the placement goes for first year applicants. Do they generally not get placed in their first choice? And do you know if we have much say into what type of city/town we would like to be placed in? I’m thinking of a city in Andalusia would be the best fit for me but it seems like everyone tries to get placed there so I don’t know if it’s smart to put that down if there isn’t a lot of room. Also, I’ve heard a lot of great things about Madrid but I was wondering if I would be exposed to as much Spanish being in such a huge touristy city. Now I’m just rambling but my ideal place would be a fairly big city but not too many foreigners. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  46. Christan P April 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks you for sharing these wonderful places in Spain. I have been also thinking about learning Spanish lately and this is a very useful resource.Ch

  47. DanielW October 14, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Thank you Liz for such an amazing post. Spain is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world. I love the pictures!

  48. Emma Thomas November 14, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    Beautiful post, thanks for sharing with us. I have been to Andalucia and it’s truly a magical place. I am thinking of seeing another Spanish place, thanks to your list I have a few possibilities!

  49. RalphR December 4, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    Beautiful article, I find Andalucia and Murcia quite interesting, I might visit it! Thanks for the amazing post.

  50. Jennifer January 7, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Wow this was such a complete post! Wish I had this guide when I was deciding where to teach as an auxiliary back in the olden days of 2011. Thankfully, Madrid ended up being everything I wanted and more. But still, there are some pretty lucky prospective auxiliaries out there who get the opportunity to read this post.

  51. EmmaH January 15, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    Great and impressive post. I went to Murcia a year ago and I am planning to visit again. I will definitely use your guide to truly discover the beauty of Murcia.

  52. Rochelle Seymour February 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    This is such great information! Can anyone tell me where in the application you put your preferences?

  53. Inchirieri Masini April 19, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    I visited Madrid last year. It was a great experience. You do not get bored. You must visit.

  54. Megan May 29, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Hey Liz! I just got accepted to the Canary Islands.. its my first year and it was my first choice! I haven’t heard from the school yet but I’m really excited to know that I’m going there! You mentioned that only British council teachers get placed there.. Im from Canada. Is there a reason for this typically? What can I expect from this region? Is it hard to travel to the rest of Spain/Morocco/Africa? I would love to hear your input! I’m not sure what to expect, as most people on here haven’t been placed here.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  55. Mark June 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm #

    Very nice blog, i have a question though.

    What 5 regions would you say recieve the least amount of tourist visitors?

    I lived in Malaga for the past 6 months but the summer months tend to be overrun by tourists. i am really looking for a place/region which if overlooked by them.

    Any thoughts?

  56. Joanne Waiting October 31, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    Hello there

    I was a teacher in the UK and live in Tenerife. I have only just heard about the auxiliary programme and am actually about to start a CELTA so am hoping to apply next year. I just chanced upon your page and wanted to say that the only auxiliary teachers I know here actually come from America so maybe the rules have changed.

    Thank you for the links and I will be having a good read of everything on here. From a brief look I think your posts will be really helpful.

  57. Lombok Wander December 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

    What a nice scenery from Las Islas Canarias !!
    Great view.


  1. Haters Gonna Hate: 10 Best Hate Comments - Young Adventuress - January 15, 2013

    […] my guide to the regions in Spain I included a funny map of Spain according to […]

  2. Regional Preferences | Jessica Teaches English - February 26, 2013

    […] regions that don’t take Americans or have dropped out of the program in the past. (Check out this post from Young Adventuress for more details about each of the […]

  3. Required Reading for Future English Teachers in Spain - Spanish Sabores - September 12, 2013

    […] Guide to the Regions in Spain […]

  4. Think You Want to be an Auxiliar? Part II | A Thing For Wor(l)ds - December 20, 2013

    […] temperature shifts between seasons. Liz Carlson of Young Adventuress has a great breakdown of the 17 regions in Spain, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, so feel free to check out her in-depth analysis […]

  5. How to Apply to the Auxiliares de Conversación Program in Spain | Leaves from the Vine - January 16, 2014

    […] regions have the most reliable pay, first hand accounts from bloggers living there, etc., I found this blog post by Liz Carlson to be very helpful. Also, she has a budget guide for 30 cities in Spain […]

  6. Trying to choose between Asturias, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, and the Basque Country - City-Data Forum - January 28, 2014

    […] […]

  7. The Great Unknown | An Australian in Spain - April 4, 2014

    […] were so helpful, I can’t stress that enough. Particularly this one as it has a really neat guide to most of the regions, and in relation to the Auxiliar program! Although it may be a little […]

  8. Waiting, Waiting, Waiting. Tick Tock, Tick Tock. | Vivacious Voyager - April 10, 2014

    […] I’ll make best with whatever placement I get. After some research, most of which came from this amazing regional breakdown blog post, I […]

  9. Think You Want to Be an Auxiliar? Part II - June 16, 2014

    […] temperature shifts between seasons. Liz Carlson of Young Adventuress has a great breakdown of the 17 regions in Spain, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, so feel free to check out her in-depth analysis […]

  10. How to Apply to the Auxiliares de Conversación Program in Spain | - October 12, 2014

    […] pay is, or get first hand accounts from bloggers living there, etc., I recommend checking out this blog post by Liz Carlson. Also, she has a budget guide for 30 cities in Spain that I found […]

  11. North American Language and Culture Assistants (AKA Auxiliares de Conversación) - That Wandering Girl - January 9, 2015

    […] “A Guide to the Regions in Spain for Auxiliares de Conversación”by Liz of Young Adventuress […]

  12. Jacob & Hannah | spainingaround - May 31, 2015

    […] crazy complicated and we relied really heavily on blogs to walk us through the whole process. This region guide helped us settle on Cantabria as our first choice–although the program couldn’t promise […]

  13. Jacob & Hannah | goshentospain - June 26, 2015

    […] crazy complicated and we relied really heavily on blogs to walk us through the whole process. This region guide helped us settle on Cantabria as our first choice–although the program couldn’t promise we’d […]

  14. Jacob & Hannah | spainingaround - June 26, 2015

    […] crazy complicated and we relied really heavily on blogs to walk us through the whole process. This region guide helped us settle on Cantabria as our first choice–although the program couldn’t promise we’d […]

  15. Jacob & Hannah | goshentospain - June 26, 2015

    […] rule, so we were super careful to submit our applications on the first day possible. This region guide helped us settle on Cantabria as our first choice–although the program couldn’t promise we’d […]

  16. Language and Culture Assistants in Spain: How to apply for a visa in Houston, Texas | mirliz - September 10, 2015

    […] blogs helped me out a lot in getting informed throughout the application process.  I used this blog to read about the different regions and this one to get an idea of cost of living in different […]

  17. The BEDA Application | Ciao, Chicago! - December 4, 2015

    […] no guarantees, yet, I spent almost two hours searching through countless blogs (most helpful being YoungAdventuress‘s regional guide for the Auxiliary Program) and wiki pages to decipher which city was best […]

  18. 17 Things You Need To Know About the Auxiliares Program - Travel-Ling - January 7, 2016

    […] from Young Adventuress has written a great overview of all of the Spanish regions that you can read here. If you want my opinion, ¡Vive […]

  19. What’s it like to be an Auxiliar de Conversación in La Rioja, Spain? | Going Gypsy - January 25, 2016

    […] you are looking for a complete overview of all the regions, I would recommend this blog post. But if you’re looking for more in-depth information about what it’s like to work as an […]

  20. Applying to the Auxiliares Program – Wayfaring Wanders - April 4, 2016

    […] with a partner. Make sure you’ve done some research on the different regions! I found this post to be particularly helpful when considering regions. Keep in mind, however, that THAT post is a bit […]

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